Merritt city councillors agreed to sponsor the Local Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corp’s 90th anniversary celebrations by waiving all fees for the use of the Civic Centre.

Councillors made the decision during a regular council meeting on May 22.

The celebration scheduled for June 8 – 10 at the Civic Centre will include a barbecue and dance, an annual ceremonial review and banquet, and a demonstration by the cadets.

Local cadet representatives wrote to council in January then again on May 14 requesting the City of Merritt waive the rental fees for the use of the Civic Centre.

“As we are a non-profit organization and do not have the funds to rent this facility, your consideration to waive the fee would be greatly appreciated,” wrote Captain Angele Grenier, deputy commanding officer.

Coun. Mike Goetz began the discussion by reminding council that the city denied a similar request from the Merritt Volleyball Association for the 20th annual Volleyfest in April.

“It’s the hard fast rule that has been made by council,” he said. “It will be interesting how you tell the volleyball group ‘no’ and the cadets ‘yes.'”

On May 27, council voted to deny the Merritt Volleyball Association’s request for the city to waive the costs of renting the Civic Centre for the 2012 Volleyfest banquets. Goetz was the only councillor who opposed the motion.

Coun. Dave Baker agreed and said though he would like to help, council needs to stick to the precedent set with the Volleyball Association until a policy is established.

Coun. Alastair Murdoch, however, spoke in favour of the cadets, calling it “one of the most impressive youth organizations.”

“This organization helps kids who would otherwise be on the street get involved,” he said. “[Waiving the fee] is a way of saying thank you for working with the children. Anyone can get involved; it doesn’t matter what income bracket you come from.”

Coun. Clara Norgaard echoed his sentiments.

“Any time we have had an emergency, the cadets are out there volunteering,” she said. “It would be a way to say thank you.”

Instead of simply waiving the fee, councillors voted to sponsor the event and request acknowledgement on programs etc. The request falls under the city’s Grant in Aid fund. The associated dollar amount was not available at press time.

The public is invited to attend the cadets’ 90th anniversary celebrations including the Annual Ceremony Review, which will begin at 1 p.m. at the Civic Centre. The event will include a silent auction, t-shirt sales and door prizes.

Formerly from Merritt, Major Neville Head will conduct the ceremony.