Qualicum to donate airline points to Ballenas students

Students raising $28,000 to build cube satellite to be launch in New Mexico in June

The Town of Qualicum Beach is going to help senior students at Ballenas Secondary with their satellite cube project, but it’s not going to be in the form of a cash donation.

The students are trying to raise $28,000 to pay for the materials to complete the project and also to send a number of students to attend the rocket launch that will take place in New Mexico in June.

Two Ballenas students appeared as a delegation at the Feb. 19 Qualicum Beach council meeting, requesting support from the town.

According to CAO Daniel Sailland, the town does not review requests for financial assistance through a grants-in-aid policy.

But it is still up to council’s discretion whether to provide the Ballenas students with monetary assistance that could be shared through the town’s Community Development budget.

However, should money be taken from it, staff warned that the amount to be withdrawn has not been budgeted for and could impact other expenditures already planned for this year.

Staff recommended, as an option, to donate instead accumulated credit card airline points valued at $1,915 towards flight credits. It will assist three Ballenas students with their airfare costs, and the points could also be used to rent a car.

The Ballenas project involves 21 senior students, who are building a functional 10-by-10-centimetre cube satellite from scratch to test if a Raspberry Pi — a small, affordable computer — can survive a rocket launch, while also collecting data through the flight plan.

The students set up a GoFundMe account and so far it has raised $11,705, which includes a donation of $7,000 from the City of Parksville through its Financial Requests policy.

Town council approved staff recommendation to provide support through donation of airline points, which would not have budgetary impacts.

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