An inaugural gala fundraiser hosted by Langley City Mayor Val van den Broek has raised $56,000 for women’s health programs at Langley Memorial Hospital.
“Everyone should be proud of themselves for making this happen,” van den Broek told a volunteers appreciation luncheon on Sunday, Feb. 23.
“It was truly amazing.”
She intends to hold another charity event, she added.
“Our system is so stretched already, and can’t manage without donations,” van den Broek remarked.
“This is the truth.”
“It’s amazing,” commented Sheila Reimer, who accepted the cheque on behalf of the Langley Hospital Foundation.
“It’s going to make a significant impact, for sure.”
On behalf of ICBC, Leanne Cassap presented a cheque for $200 from the insurance company’s employee community involvement program.
Lilianne Fuller, one of the volunteer organizers, said it was a “wonderful” experience.
“It was just a fabulous event,” Fuller told the volunteers.
“You’re a joy to work with.”
MLA Mary Polak recalled how the idea got started.
“When Val said, we should do this,” Polak recalled.
“[She said] they do one in the Township, why don’t we do one in the City?”
The event generated some controversy at city council.
A motion directing Langley City staff to review the Jan. 25 fundraising gala by Mayor Val van den Broek passed unanimously last month, with the mayor calling it petty, while Coun. Teri James – the one who raised the matter – called it as an issue of accountability.
James said the winter wonderland-themed event was not endorsed by the City, as required under a “branding” policy adopted by the municipality.
“The use of the term, Langley City mayor’s gala, the City coat of arms, and the RCMP coat of arms was used in advertising, which suggests the event was an official City event,” James told council.
James’ motion called on staff to report on liability to Langley City in using the identifiers on advertising materials for a non-City event. She also asked for a financial report outlining all materials and in-kind costs to Langley City associated with the mayor’s gala – including RCMP costs.
James said she raised the question of using the City coat of arms several weeks before the gala, in an email to the mayor.
“You can’t just do anything you want because you have a title,” James told the Langley Advance Times.
“This is about accountability.”
Following the vote, van den Broek said she did, in error, use a city crest in an ad thanking people for making the gala happen.
She said she found out it wasn’t allowed too late, so she is planning to run an apology advertisement.
At the luncheon, van den Broek once against insisted no staff resources were used to help stage the event.
“Every aspect of this gala was done by donations, sponsorship and volunteers with no cost to the City and all proceeds going to our hospital.”