The committee who struck to bring a community facility to Drumheller is awaiting announcements for funding grants before they can proceed to the next step of the project. Co-chair of the committee Tony Lacher says they hope to hear major funding announcements in the next couple of weeks.
While there have been ideas circulating about what the new facility may entail, Lacher said it is premature to speculate. In fact, the committee has no vision beyond the components identified from the needs assessment survey completed in 2008. “None of the site is planned from the conceptual level. We are on a wait and see pattern right now,” said Lacher. “We are a ways away from putting the shovel in the ground, however once the stimulus is announced they (the government) will be pushing to spend it, because that is the whole point of the program.” “We can’t hardly go forward until we know some key components are in the works.” The town has applied for funding for the project through two different granting programs. They have applied for the Building Canada Program, under the community facility component. This is a program that provides a one-third funding at the federal level, one-third at the provincial level, and one-third at the municipal level. The maximum contribution from the federal and provincial governments is $6 million in total. They have also applied to the Recreational Infrastructure Canada Fund. This grant would be a 50 per cent matching grant from the federal government, and was rolled out with the January stimulus measures introduced. This is a $500 million program, over two years, to go towards infrastructure funding. Lacher said in order for the project, as envisioned by the town and the committee, to move ahead, they are hoping for $8-10 million. He is cautiously confident. He said MP for Crowfoot Kevin Sorenson has pledged his support to the project, and tells them the stimulus measure announcements should be made shortly. The committee has also personally met with Drumheller-Stettler MLA Jack Hayden, and he has personally given his support to the project. “We need to be in that $8-10 million range to work. If we come out with $2 million, we are seriously impacted, and we are going to need to look at plan B, and nobody knows what that is,” said Lacher. “We have not evolved to that because we are optimistic about this.” The next step in the project is when the grant funds are secured, the committee can then move on to site planning and design. It is also important to be proactive in the fundraising component, making sure they have a plan of action for raising monies at the municipal, private and residential level. “Each one of these parts is essential,” said Lacher. The committee is planning a sort of fact finding mission, and hope to view some community facilities in other jurisdictions to see what they entail, and learn from the designs. They hope to see the Spray Lakes Sawmill Family Centre in Cochrane, as well as facilities in Strathmore, Okotoks and Cardell Place in Calgary. Lacher is confident the project will move forward. “I think we have done all the right things to get us to the maximum level, but we have to recognize we are not the only guys in the line,” said Lacher.