Central Alberta Sport Authority has received $25,000 from Red Deer County to help boost the region’s sports profile.
Central Sport was one of the legacy projects from the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Its game plan is to build on the momentum created by that event to position central Alberta as a sports leader.
To achieve its goals, the authority plans to act as a regional advocate for central Alberta’s numerous sports organizations to help draw more revenue-generating sports events to the area.
The organization also plans to programs to train volunteers for events and to support the development of sport to the region to ensure all have equitable access to programs, services and experiences.
Authority vice-chair Russ Wlad said most communities or regions in Alberta and across Canada have an organization dedicated to local sports and pitching their areas to event and tournament organizers.
By not having a similar organization, central Alberta was missing out on many opportunities to showcase central Alberta’s sports potential.
Wlad said the county’s funding will go towards operations and development of an inventory of local sports organizations and the facilities and venues available to host events.
Coun. Philip Massier proposed a motion to provide one-year funding of $25,000 and then review the organization’s progress before making a decision on further funding. One option presented to council would have seen $25,000 confirmed for 2023 and 2024.
Massier said he hoped the organization was successful in lining up more regional partners and making better use of existing facilities and he looked forward to seeing what progress is made this year.
Mayor Jim Wood also gave his vote of approval.
“I think it’s a great organization and I like the mandate,” he said.
Not all councillors were on board. Councillors Connie Huelsman and Dana Depalme said they believed Central Sport should have approached central Alberta communities and not just City of Red Deer and the county.
Wlad said Central Sport will be going out to other communities but it sees the city and county as “critical partners” in getting the organization’s strategic plan off the ground.