Template for letter to City Councillor

Hello Dancers,

Feel free to use the template below to write to your City Councillor about the rental fee increase at Jack Purcell Community Centre. If you are at all able to add a personal note to your e-mail (for instance: how long you have been dancing, what IFDO means to you, how the price increase would affect you), that would increase its effectiveness, but even just copying and pasting would be helpful. Please don’t forget to add your Councillor’s name at the top, and your own name (twice: once in the first sentence, and once in the signature).

A list of Ottawa City Councillors can be found here: https://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/mayor-and-city-councillors. The Councillor for Somerset Ward (where Jack Purcell Community Centre is located), is Ariel Troster and she can be reached at Ariel.Troster@ottawa.ca.

Thank you from the bottom of your hearts!

Your Committee

Dear Councillor [Name],

My name is [your name] and I am reaching out to you to express my concern about an issue that is very dear to my heart. I dance with the International Folk Dancers of Ottawa, a recreational folk-dance group that has been meeting at Jack Purcell Community Centre since the late 1970s.

Our group is very diverse, both in age and in cultural background. Our youngest dancers are in their late twenties, our oldest dancers are approaching the age of 90. Some of our dancers have lived in Canada for their entire lives, others are so new to Canada that IFDO is the first community in this country that they are a part of. The reason that such diversity within one group can exist is that it is extremely accessible. IFDO is run completely by a group of dedicated volunteers, who put in many hours of their spare time to run our dance nights and maintain a welcoming character to everyone.

Aside from the activities and atmosphere on the evenings that we meet, an essential part of the accessibility is financial. Ever since we started renting our room at Jack Purcell Community Centre, we have been able to take advantage of the not-for-profit rate.

Recently, we were informed that the City of Ottawa is changing the requirements for the different rental fee categories and that we will no longer be able to rent our room at the not-for-profit rate. The fees in the next category are significantly higher, and being moved to that category would mean that our rental fee would become 5 times more expensive.

I do not understand the reasoning behind this change, nor do I believe it to be just. If an organization such as ours, where all the work is done by volunteers and no profits are made, is no longer able to rent a space at the not-for-profit rate, then who can? Our activities are open to the public: it regularly happens that someone hears the music and joins our dancing. We welcome this and we want this to happen! The only money that is ever exchanged is a contribution of our dancers that covers the rental fee of the room. This also means, that any increase in the rental fee is proportionally felt by each of us. I have already described our members to you, I am certain that you can imagine the effect that such an increase would have on our demographic.

We still hope that this is all just a misunderstanding and that our group does, in fact, still meet the requirements for the not-for-profit fee category, but whatever the cause of the messaging we have received about our contract renewal, we need your help and support. Our wonderful club cannot survive without it.


[Your Name]