Following notice late last week to vacate toy drive storage space in the civic centre, Gord Hamlyn said his heart is bleeding.
“I’m here and I don’t know what to be doing or where this is coming from,” he said of the order by the city.
Hamlyn has spent 41 years with the toy drive, more than 30 of hose as chairman, a position is currently holds. He said the space, which the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF Local 1222) have been using since 2014, was ideal and equipped with shelving that was donated.
Last Christmas, he said the committee gave out toys to 256 children in need.
“The people of Corner Brook have never let us down, but the money is just not there for space rental,” Hamlyn said.
The letter on Friday was a formal followup of something the city talked to the union’s toy drive committee about before Christmas. Mayor Jim Parsons said at the time the toy drive committee said it was told finding a space was too hard so the city let them stay temporarily.
He said the civic centre has a pressing need for storage space and have already been told by the fire department that it’s inappropriate to be storing equipment under the bleachers.
“We’re already running a huge deficit on the civic centre so to go outside and rent space (for storage) would be wrong,” Parsons said. “We have to do what’s right for the taxpayers here.”
Parsons said the move to the civic centre was a temporary measure from the start and the decision to find a new home for the union came even before this city council was elected.
In the spring of 2016, Parsons said the city received notice from the fire department of the issues with storage.
Parsons suggested that maybe the union could chip in for some rental space, but Hamlyn said they can’t afford it.
Hamlyn said unless they can secure a large enough space to store the toys, the fundraiser will end.