Red Deer seeks federal funds for Canyon

Red Deer County hopes to line up some federal cash to shovel into the Canyon Ski and Recreation Area.

Red Deer County hopes to line up some federal cash to shovel into the Canyon Ski and Recreation Area.

On Tuesday, county council unanimously endorsed a proposal to apply for $500,000 under a newly announced federal Recreational Infrastructure Canada Program.

Under the program, the government will fund up to one-third of repair, maintenance and renovation costs for facilities such as pools, arenas and other community facilities.

The county and City of Red Deer announced last month they were joining forces to buy and operate the ski facility.

A conditional offer has been made and a 90-day period set aside to undertake a number of inspections, including engineering, environmental and occupational health and safety reviews.

A special joint meeting of the two councils is planned June 23 to consider finalizing the purchase.

The sale price has not been revealed, but the 240-acre property had earlier been listed for sale at $3.1 million.

The county has already set aside about $815,000 towards the purchase of the facility, which is being sold because current owners and operators Karl and Lorraine Martinek want to retire after running the ski area for many years.

“We’re well aware there are several capital improvements that need to be made at the ski hill,” said Red Deer County Mayor Earl Kinsella.

“Knowing that, it behooves us to get on that as quickly as possible. If there are federal monies available to help that along, that’s great, it makes it much easier for us.”

Ric Henderson, the county’s community and protective services director, said the county is still undertaking its due diligence before taking the purchase to the councils for approval.

The fate of the popular ski area has been uncertain since March 2008, when the Martineks put it up for sale.

The couple, who met on the slopes in the 1970s, had made it clear their preference was to see the facility continue operating.

Canyon is Alberta’s largest non-mountain ski area.

It boasts 168 metres of vertical, 13 runs and five lifts.

In the summer, day camps are offered at the site.

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