Township backs Optimist Club application for rink roof funding

MAPLETON – Mapleton council has voted to partner with the Moorefield Optimist Club for the organization’s AgriSpirit Fund application. 

Council chose to lend its support on March 26 despite concern about how it could affect council’s application to the same fund for a playground structure in Alma.

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) awards successful applicants between $5,000 and $25,000 through the AgriSpirit Fund for projects that “will enhance lives or contribute to sustainability” in rural cities/towns with less than 150,000 people. 

Moorefield Optimist Club president Jeremy Culling told council the organization  installed hockey boards on the rink pad beside the Moorefield Optimist Hall. 

The rink has seen considerable use by youths in the community as a basketball court in the summer and ice rink in the winter. 

A roof structure over the rink is needed to improve maintenance of the rink and to allow residents to use the rink during and following bad weather, Culling explained.

“As a club this is a project that we feel is extremely important, will help our youth and we are looking to … the township to partner with us,” said Culling.

The deadline for application submissions was March 29, leaving the club “crunched for time” as Culling went before council.

Culling added the club will seek $25,000 and will wait to see what, if any, funding it receives before the roofing project process gets underway.

“At this point we are at the beginning stages of the actual project. We don’t have final details so essentially what we are looking for at this point is the okay that you will partner with us on a project like this,” Culling said.

His request led council to question whether the Optimist Club’s application would be in competition with the township’s own funding bid for the Alma playground.

“Just to let you know the township was also considering applying for this for a playground structure in Alma, so we will have to decide as council which one we want to support,” Mayor Gregg Davidson explained. 

Councillor Paul Douglas asked whether there was “harm in submitting both.”

Township economic development officer Trish Wake confirmed the two applications would compete for funding. In the capital budget council budgeted $10,000 to be used next year for a playground structure in Alma.

“That is why this application would be very good for Alma … if we get the funding for it we could get the playground in Alma this year,” Davidson explained. 

“My understanding is there is well over a million dollars allocated in this fund … again this is my assumption that there will be many projects that get funded by this AgriSpirit fund,” said Culling.

The Optimist Club reached out to contractors to get a sense of how much the project would cost.

“We approached somebody on a coverall building … to get some rough numbers on what that might cost as opposed to a wood structure or a metal wood structure … we are estimating approximately $40,000 to $50,000,” said Culling.

As a partner, council’s only obligation to the Optimist Club would be to present the money to the club with a receipt should its application receive funding. 

The club would “fundraise or use existing resources to finish the project if more money is needed,” said Culling. 

He added council would be under no obligation to provide the club with any monetary donation or help. 

All councillors voted to both partner with the Optimist Club and submit the township’s own application to the FCC’s AgriSpirit fund.