Langford denies Sarah Beckett Run grant funding, cites late application and policy violation


A Langford committee is facing public criticism for denying a motion that would consider funding for the annual Sarah Beckett Memorial Run, but it says the application came in late and includes an aspect that violates one of its funding policies.

During a Community Advisory Committee meeting on Feb. 27, members denied a motion in a 4-4 tie, which counts as a defeat, that would allow for a last-minute agenda item addition. The addition was a motion to have the committee consider reviewing a $2,500 grant application for the organization’s annual run.

Sarah Beckett was an RCMP officer who was killed by a drunk driver while on duty in 2016. In 2017, the driver was sentenced to four years in prison.

READ MORE: Sarah Beckett Memorial Run to return in person in May

Reading a letter written by Beckett’s husband, committee member Chris Foxall asked the other members to consider providing the $2,500 which would be redistributed to other charities that the husband wrote were important to his late wife.

“This is an amazing community event that helps support local, non-profit community organizations while also keeping the memory of my wife, Const. Sarah Beckett, alive,” reads the letter.

Foxall said that the letter indicated that the grant money would go towards other charities.

“Do you have any information on what the $2,500 is going to be used for, other than redistribution?” asked Coun. Mark Morley during the meeting.

“No. It’s probably just written out in the letter there. I believe it’s redistribution,” said committee member Foxall.

Councillors said the motion was denied because the grant application deadline was on Jan. 15, and because redistributing grant money goes against a city policy that was approved by previous council members in 2015.

During an interview with CHEK News on Thursday, Foxall said he was dismayed that the motion was not approved.

“I thought—I was going to use the words ‘special circumstance.’ I thought, here’s the situation where nobody’s going to be against and everything will go through.”

According to the policy’s eligibility criteria, money cannot be redistributed to other groups or people.

“City fees cannot be used by the receiving organization to issue grants to another entity/individual,” reads the policy.

Councillors respond

“It’s really important that we stick to policy and not playing favourites and picking and choosing which organizations we will provide an extension towards,” said Coun. Keith Yacucha, who sits on the committee.

Yacucha reiterates that the city fully supports the Sarah Beckett Memorial Run and that rental and permit fees to use Starlight Stadium plaza are being waived.

Coun. Colby Harder, who also denied the motion, wrote that the city is offering in-kind support by waiving the fees that she says costs $2,535, adding that last year those fees were also waived.

“The stadium plaza rental fee is $2,500 and there is a permit fee with bylaw 33 to rent the road space, which is $35,” said Harder.

Foxall claims that the stadium rental fee is significantly lower than what the councillors presented.

“To rent the stadium, for the whole field is $70 an hour…youth pays $55 an hour, so if it’s a youth event, they give them a break. If it’s for a charity, it’s free,” said the committee member.

Harder denies that claim.

“That is not accurate, to my knowledge,” she said.

Former Langford councillor Lanny Seaton claims that the city used to waive the funds and provide the grant funding.

“It should be just reversed and [they should] do the right thing and fund the Sarah Beckett Run,” said Seaton.

Seaton, who was on the 2015 council that originally approved the grant funding policy, also claims the policy is a guideline.

“It’s just a guideline, it’s not a policy…show some compassion and support Sarah Beckett Run,” he said.

Harder confirmed to CHEK News that it is a policy.

B.C. Government weighs in

Langford-Juan De Fuca MLA Ravi Parmar announced Thursday that the province will be providing the $2,500 that organizers have been looking for.

“I spoke with the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth…his ministry will provide the $2,500 grant this year,” said Parmar in an interview.

Parmar also noted that he has spoken with Langford Mayor Scott Goodmanson and they will be having discussions on reviewing the nearly 10-year-old policy.

At the end of the Feb. 27 meeting, the committee unanimously passed a motion, recommending council direct staff on reviewing the policy which will be presented to council on March 4.

Organizers for the Sarah Beckett Memorial Run and the West Shore RCMP did not provide a comment.

The Sarah Beckett Run will take place on May 12, 2024. Registration opens on March 1, 2024.


Oli HerreraOli Herrera

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