Firefighters fill council chambers over lottery policy

South Dundas firefighters fill the gallery at the municipal council meeting April 7, 2015. They are concerned over a proposed law to regulate who gets the proceeds from charitable lotteries. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

SOUTH DUNDAS – A forthcoming policy to regulate charitable lottery licences in the municipality had firefighters filling the council chambers Tuesday night.

Many of them were visible, donning their trademark black jackets with a yellow and red crest.

They wanted to hear about a policy to regulate lotteries, like bingos and raffles. It also covers break-open tickets, sold at many convenience stores.

In addition to licencing, the policy would clamp down on eligibility and approval of using the money coming from charitable lotteries.

The three-page document details a complex litmus test for whether groups are eligible to receive the proceeds – something that’s a concern for the Iroquois, Morrisburg and Williamsburg Fire Associations.

Typically, the associations use the money to purchase equipment for the fire department, which in turn “becomes an asset that the municipality must insure, maintain and ultimately replace or dispose of,” states a staff report.

Some councillors seemed puzzled by the new rules, many asking questions of Fire Chief Chris McDonough.

In the end, the policy has been deferred until the next council meeting, April 21, to allow councillors to wrap their heads around the new law.

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