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Staff at TownePlace Suites create some warmth for families spending holidays in the hospital

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Staff working on gift bags

Staff at TownePlace Suites create some warmth for families spending holidays in the hospital.

Every year as the temperature falls and the nights get longer, the staff at TownPlace Suites set aside a few hours to do something special for the community.  Because blankets are a calling card at their hotel, they thought they’d like to share a bit of warmth with some people who will be having a hard time over the holidays.   Their generosity will result in over 2 dozen new blankets to give to family members staying at the Ronald McDonald House during the holiday season.

Alberta

Our sports history has value

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Simple confirmation that the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame has been operating without its standard financial aid from the provincial government prompted some interesting response during the last few days.

In a casual conversation, executive director Tracey Kinsella mentioned last week that COVID-19 made it necessary to cancel at least two annual fund-raisers – the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and its annual invitational golf tournament in Red Deer – and she was concerned about meeting routine expenses.

Consistently, the government’s contribution of $302,000 a year has been in the hands of Hall of Fame officials before the middle of the year. She expressed only mild frustration,, understanding that the coronavirus pandemic and other major financial issues have created major problems far from the world of sports. She did state that government staff members, working below the level of elected or appointed officials, have told her of their efforts to have the money forwarded as quickly as possible.

Perhaps this delay must be seen as part of a long and ongoing drop in Alberta’s financial support to amateur sports at all levels. In the 10-year period ending in 2019, the reduction reached $5.1 million – an average of $500,000 per year. We should hope not.

Some comparative figures seem to be well worth serious study:

* The economic impact of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer was $110 million; impact of the 2018 Alberta Winter Games was $3.4 million for the Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo area and $5.6  million for this host province;

* In 2018-19, Alberta Sport Connection, a sport delivery system disbanded months ago by the UPC, provided $7.2 million to be shared among 80 provincial sport organizations that delivered programming to more than 788,000 Albertans;

* Leduc hosted the 2016 Alberta Summer Games with an economic impact of $3.6 million for the area and $4.9 million for the province.

Still, government aid has dropped. Some citizens suggest minor and amateur sports should not receive government support during troubled times. Today it might be wise to ask Fort McMurray if that community will value the 2022 Arctic Winter Games? The record shows that numerous small- and mid-sized business stepped up during the 2018 Games, a difficult time for fire victims and petroleum companies that have served as a backstop to countless community and area projects.

After the severe floods earlier this year, it’s safe to guess that any international program that will improve community morale while adding some vital dollars to the public purse will be welcome. Incidentally, they’re headed to Wood Buffalo because COVID-19 forced cancellation of the scheduled 2020 event in Whitehorse. Fortunately, some of the dollars set aside and unused in the Northwest Territories have already arrived in Fort McMurray.

These days, surrounded by a crippled economy, I wonder if Alberta now wishes the 2026 Commonwealth Games were headed for Edmonton and 2026 Winter Olympics were coming to Calgary. Both possibilities were seriously discussed before being nixed.

During my five-year term as chair of Alberta Sport Connection, the organization received steady criticism for finishing third of fourth – usually in the rear of Quebec and Ontario – in provincial medal counts. I tried regularly to help almost any government official to focus on the cost of doing business.

It made no impact to point out that Alberta’s per-capita investment in sport programs is (or was) the second-lowest in Canada. Sorry, I can’t remember which province spent less, but I am sure that Saskatchewan receives $24.39 per capita and Newfoundland gets $8.36 per capita.

Alberta receives $3.85 per capita although 82 per cent of Albertans say in polls that they believe sport contributes to quality of life. And those I have spoken to say clearly that the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame has value.

John Short on Edmonton’s baseball debate

 

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Blackfalds

Blackfalds Town Council approves Arena and Library Expansion – Video and photo galleries included

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From the Town of Blackfalds

The Town of Blackfalds is moving forward with the Arena and Library Expansion

The Town of Blackfalds is excited to announce that the Arena and Library Expansion project will be proceeding and shovels will be in the ground in June of 2020 with a completion date targeted for Spring of 2021.

At their May 26 regular meeting, Council voted 4 to 3 to approve the final and guaranteed maximum price of the $24.6M capital budget which includes $18 M for the arena (which includes a $1 M contribution by the Junior A team) and $6.6 M for the Library.

Over the last year, the Town participated in various engagement opportunities including public open houses and meetings with stakeholders, school boards, and other organizations. The consultations prompted changes and additions to be incorporated into the design to improve the functionality of the facility which also resulted in increased costs.

Town of Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole is proud of the work that Administration and its contractors ACI Architects, Eagle Builders and Delnor Construction undertook in the last 2 months to review those areas where costs could be reduced to come up with a target value design, “I support this project for a number of reasons,” asserts Mayor Poole. “First of all, this will be an excellent value for our community when it is built. It will be second to none and I believe it will be a project our community will be proud of, and, as Councillor Taylor stated, it will ‘enhance business opportunities within our community.’ The Abbey Centre continues to receive praise and compliments from community members throughout Alberta and I am confident Blackfalds will duplicate that success with this facility.”

Mayor Poole added, “I am also excited about the opportunities that the AJHL will bring to the community. The new Library is going to be one of the largest in central Alberta and, for a community under 20,000, this will be an attraction that we will not only be extremely proud of, but given the provisions of the facility, will allow for progressive programming even in a post-COVID era. In addition, by awarding the construction contract to Eagle Builders, we are providing jobs for many central Alberta families. I am thrilled to be working with such great partners like Eagle Builders, Delnor and ACI with whom we have had a great relationship in the past.”

The guaranteed maximum price ensures that the Town will not pay any more than the $24.6M and therefore, if the cost of the project does go up, the risk will be to Delnor and Eagle Builders, and not the municipality. CAO Thompson echoed some of Council’s words, “We want to provide a high quality facility to our community similar to our past successful projects, and not have to cut corners.”

A gallery of final design concepts can be viewed on the Multi-Plex Arena web page at blackfalds.com/tourism-recreation/multi-plex-ice-arena.

A small ground breaking ceremony will take place on Friday June 19 and will celebrated by invitation only to ensure physical and social distancing.

If any organizations are interested in sponsorship, please see the sponsorship brochure at http://blackfalds.com/tourism-recreation/multi-plex-ice-arena.

 

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june, 2020

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