Thursday, January 19, 2017

Southern Alberta communities awarded over $4.8 million in federal funding, including $463,000 for Pincher Creek spray park

Town of Pincher Creek draft conceptual drawings of the water slide and spray park

T. Lucas / C. Davis -
Western Economic Diversification Canada yesterday announced a total federal investment of $4,899,327 in grants from three different programs, the 150 Community Infrastructure Program. and Canadian Heritage’s Canada 150 Fund and Canada Cultural Spaces Fund for ten southern Alberta projects "that celebrate our communities and shared heritage" by helping those communities "modernize local recreation facilities, as well as improve social and cultural infrastructure and programs."
“A great legacy for Canada 150 and wonderful addition to the Town of Pincher Creek” - Mayor Don Anderberg, Town of Pincher Creek
Among those projects, the Town of Pincher Creek was awarded a Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program grant of $463,000 to enhance the Pincher Creek Multi-Purpose Facility on Main Street with the addition of a spray park, water re-circulation system, water slide, and landscaping. According to the Town, the facility enhancement will be installed to the north of the facility. "The Town of Pincher Creek has budgeted up to one million dollars for this project including the grant, with an additional contingency for spray park donations. The Town of Pincher Creek is aiming to have the spray park ready for operation in celebration of Canada’s 150th Birthday on July 1st, 2017 and the remainder to be complete by December 31, 2017."

What it means for Pincher Creek

At the Town's announcement today:
Back row -  Pincher Creek Recreation Manager Adam Grose, Town Councillor Jim Litkowski
Front row - Spray Park Committee's Jenmifer Draper, Billi Rigaux and Kari Grandoni with Mayor Don Anderberg

Today, January 18, a press release event was held at Town Council's chambers to unveil the scope of the Town of Pincher Creek's plans for the project, including the hope that the spray park will be open by Canada Day.

Spray park draft concept

Pincher Creek's Spray Park Committee, spearheaded by Chair Jennifer Draper, has been advocating for the spray park for five years, including presentations to Town council, numerous fundraisers (see links below), and public outreach initiatives. Co-chair Billi Rigaux, when asked to speak, said "It was Jen. It was Jen who started this, it was Jen who was tired of driving, it was Jen who convinced us other moms we were also tired of driving."

Spray Park BBQ fundraising crew at 2016 Recycling Roundup

Draper was quite emotional at the Town's press release event today, at the successful culmination of many hours of effort. Through happy tears she said "I am very happy to be able to be a part of this, and see this through to the end, and see my kids playing in a spray park that we started from the ground up." Rigaux was more succinct, saying excitedly "We are going to build a spray park!"  She said she looks forward to joining the Pincher Planters and getting her hands dirty this summer instead of advocating and fundraising for the spray park.  Committee member Kari Grandoni was also in attendance. Collectively they've sold a lot of fundraising hamburgers over the last few years. The committee was thanked by Mayor Don Anderberg for their work. "I think the 50 or 60 people that showed up first night we were just talking concept really solidified the direction of this, and thank you for that."

Car smash fundraiser

Mayor Anderberg also thanked the Government of Canada, MP John Barlow, the spray park committee, citizens, and the Town of Pincher Creek council, staff and administration. "I think it's a great legacy for our town, Canada 150, Canada's birthday, and the free swimming hasn't hurt us either," said Anderberg. "We are not just looking at this as not just a good facility for the local citizens, but as a good economic driver for the area."  Anderberg said that instead of people driving to other towns to use facilities, initiatives like the spray park will keep people here and attract visitors from the region.

"It's pretty exciting for us, hopefully it's exciting for the community."

"One piece of information I can pass along that you may or may not be interested, the 2017 budget is the largest budget that the Town of Pincher Creek has ever seen at 22 point some million dollars for capital and operating (expenses)."

"So, the total project is 1.5 (million dollars) approximately, that's a budgeted number.  So we have money coming from the  federal government, the Spray Park (Committee) has raised some funds towards the spray park, and the town has budgeted the balance."  

Water slide draft concept

Recreation Manager Adam Grose said there were two times the town applied for the Canada 150 grant. The first time was for upgrades to Central Park, which was not funded. The second was for the spray park and pool facility. A plan to have it be placed in Central Park was unsuccessful so the application was re-tooled around the pool-adjacent location. That application succeeded. "The application criteria really worked in our favour, to be able to put in a water re-circulation system, for instance for the spray park, rather than a flow through." "Water is very important in this area." He said they are in the process of tendering the position of Project Manager. Although the timeline for the spray park is to have it open for July 1, 2017, other parts of the project including upgrades to the mechanical room at the pool and other pool facility upgrades may not be finished at the same time. The pool was built in 1999."

Spray Park Committee Luau Fundraiser

Background and grants to other southern Alberta communities

Other communities receiving grants include Cardston, Lethbridge, Magrath, Bow Island, Medicine Hat, Granum, and Nanton.

The three grant programs are part of Canada 150 Celebrates, a Government of Canada's initiative to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. According to the government's press release, "Budget 2016 provided an additional $150 million over two years to Canada’s Regional Development Agencies to invest in local improvements to communities across the country, starting in 2016-17. A total of $46.2 million was allocated for projects across Western Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba). Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is responsible for administering the program in the West." With a budget of $200 million, the Canada 150 Fund was established "to create opportunities for Canadians to participate in local, regional, and national celebrations that will provide lasting legacies for future generations." The Canada Cultural Spaces Fund (CCSF) was established "to improve physical conditions for artistic creativity and arts presentation or exhibition. It is also designed to increase access for Canadians to performing, visual, and media arts, and to museum collections and heritage displays."
“The Government of Canada’s vision for the 150th anniversary of Confederation is to empower communities throughout the country.  The renewed facilities and programs not only respond to the demand for community infrastructure improvements, but also leave a lasting legacy beyond 2017.” - Darshan Kang, Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada; and the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage
Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (Department of Western Economic Diversification Canada) funding:
  • Town of Pincher Creek - Enhance the Pincher Creek Multi-Purpose Facility through addition of spray park - $463,000
  • Magrath Curling Club - Renovate the curling club facility - $32,527
  • Medicine Hat Curling Club Ltd. - Replace the roof and HVAC system of the Medicine Hat Curling Club - $160,000
  • Town of Bow Island - Upgrade the swimming pool - $109,300
  • Town of Cardston - Upgrade the swimming pool - $250,000
  • Town of Granum - Rehabilitate recreational facility - $100,000
  • Town of Nanton - Rehabilitate Tom Hornecker Recreation Centre curling rink - $25,500
  • University of Lethbridge - Upgrade the Max Bell Regional Aquatic Centre at the University of Lethbridge - $180,000

Canada 150 Fund (Department of Canadian Heritage) funding:

  • City of Lethbridge - Saint-Laurent and Lethbridge: 50 ans D'amitié – 50 Years of Friendship - $79,000

Canada Cultural Spaces Fund (Department of Canadian Heritage):
  • City of Lethbridge Genevieve E. Yates Theatre Renewal - $3,500,000
"We are very grateful for the funding we have received from the federal government towards important renovations at our Yates Theatre. This support has helped fast track upgrades that will offer better accessibility, enhanced technology and a more comfortable and enjoyable theatre experience for both audiences and performers. These changes ensure the Yates can continue providing excellent entertainment and cultural experiences to residents and visitors for years to come.” - His Worship Chris Spearman, Mayor, City of Lethbridge

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