Could our sports history be … history?
What began as a simple question was turned suddenly into a discouraging truth. The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame has not received any support from the provincial government this year and no discussions have been held about when – or if – the money might arrive.
The question was: “What chance is there that the annual banquet (postponed because of COVID-19) will be staged before the end of 2020?” Tracey Kinsella, who became executive director of the Hall last summer, responded that many existing lockdown issues would have to be cleared up, and some funding would be required. Then she pointed out that the Hall of Fame, which sits on the edge of Red Deer and has honoured athletes and sportsmen for decades, has been operating without funds. And she also pointed out that she has had little communication to date with any government representative about the cost of staying in business.
Given those simple facts, it takes no large dose of imagination to see the possibility that the Hall of Fame, which sits on the edge of Red Deer and has honoured athletes and sportsmen for decades, will not exist much longer. Alberta’s annual contribution is a mere $302,000, peanuts in the budget of any provincial government.
Of course, this is not just ANY government. It has bigger problems than most. The United Progressive Conservative government is locked in vital struggles over billions of resource revenue and thousands of jobs. Before the coronavirus interfered, facing a debt level already out of control, the UPC dismantled the Alberta Sports Connection board of governors, which provided years of experience in administration, public service and fund-raising, then oversaw the dismissal of at least one high-ranked staff member who served ASC with integrity for more than 25 years.
Moves to fill those gaps, if any, have been made in silence.
To put the record straight, this reporter spent five years as chair of ASC, the last two under control of an NDP minister so disinterested he once told hundreds of Leduc residents, “you know, of course, that I’m not in politics because I care about sports.” My term ended on schedule, before the UPC was elected.
In times like these, where major issues such as COVID-19 collect almost every available ounce of governmental focus, it is easy to look beyond issues that supposedly don’t matter. But, if provincial history and recognition of many who have contributed is important, some attention must be paid soon.
Kinsella, who has been involved in sport as an administrator and unpaid supporter for years, replaced veteran Donna Hately. She entered with enthusiastic ideas about “investments in the Hall.” Her concept would provide entertainment and education for youngsters while also upgrading the building, completed in 1997.
In recent years, she said, attendance at the annual induction banquet had not been “any kind of money-maker.” Other funds were raised in the annual Hall of Fame golf tournament. “Now, we’re doing whatever is necessary” as she looks toward the future. “I think we can get by at this level for about a year and a half, but it won’t be easy.”
Initially, the Hall of Fame induction banquet was scheduled for May 29. To be recognized whenever a date can be set are four athletes, three builders and two to share the Bell Memorial Award for media excellence, as well as individual Achievement, Pioneer and Legacy Award winners. Click for this year’s inductee’s.
Click here to make a donation to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.
Editor’s note: John is an Alberta Hall of Fame member, inducted in 1988 with the Bell Memorial Award for media excellence.
Todayville has a many stories about the inductees over the past few years. Since 2017, we have produced a video of each inductee. Click here to find some amazing stories.
Alberta’s COVID-19 breakthrough – Highest number of tests and lowest number of new cases in one day
It certainly appears to be a sign that the first wave of COVID-19 is abating. Friday, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer reported 6,455 people were tested over the last 24 hours and there were only 7 new positive cases. This resulted in a very interesting video update from Dr. Deena Hinshaw as the province announced several changes that will be resulting from the success of Alberta’s battle with COVID-19.
Albertans will soon be able to visit loved ones in hospital. The province will continue to move toward protecting Albertans at the highest risk of severe outcomes. That means more freedoms for the majority of Albertans as the province prepares to announce Stage 2 details early next week.
Alberta eyes business eviction protection tied to COVID-19 economy lockdown
EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says legislation is coming to address those businesses facing eviction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kenney says details are coming next week, but adds the province is “looking closely” at a recent eviction ban imposed in British Columbia.
Earlier this week, the B.C. government announced it was imposing new rules on landlords who are eligible for federal rent relief but don’t apply for it and try to evict tenants for lack of payment.
Those landlords will not be allowed to evict such tenants through to the end of the month, when the federal rent relief program is set to end.
Kenney says he is hesitant to bring in a blanket ban, given that there may be legitimate reasons to evict a tenant, but says Alberta is taking action and commercial landlords need to “get with the program.”
Kenney also announced a new $200-million program to provide small- and medium-sized businesses with up to $5,000 each to help them reopen following government-imposed lockdowns to battle the pandemic.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 5, 2020
The Canadian Press
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