By PAUL COWLEY
Lacombe County has pitched in to help fund a $1.6-million community hall in Blackfalds.
Council voted last Thursday to provide $250,000 for the project. The number was arrived at by estimating the percentage of county residents expected to use the facility and its Parent Link program.
The upgrade is being done to provide more space for Parent Link, a program for parents and youngsters recently introduced to Blackfalds. Expanding the community hall will give Parent Link a permanent homeand boost hall capacity to 300 people from 225.
Lacombe County was also willing to play ball with the City of Lacombe, which requested some help on a proposed $175,000 outdoor basketball court at MEGlobal Athletic Park.
County council recently approved $44,000 worth of in-kind work on the project. The county will use its equipment to haul away 550 cubic metres of top soil from the site. It will be trucked to one of the county’s gravel pits to be used for a future reclamation project.
The county will replace the top soil at the basketball site with pit run and gravel to form its base.
A pair of other funding requests were turned down.
Lacombe and District Big Brothers and Sisters had requested a $50,000 contribution to help pay down the remaining $150,000 mortgage on a home the organization recently purchased.
The house was needed because Big Brothers had to vacate the provincial building, which was purchased by the City of Lacombe earlier this year.
Lacombe County commissioner Terry Hager said the county does not usually provide capital funding for non-profit organizations. There was a concern approving the funding would set a precedent and would invite similar requests from other charitable groups.
Big Brothers does receive $17,000 in operational funding through the Family and Community Support Services program, which is a partnership between the province and municipalities.
Council also turned down a request from STARS air ambulance to contribute to its helicopters. The organization had requested $2 per capita — $20,624 — to supports its 2017 operations.
A similar request was made last year and turned down. The rationale remained the same this year, said Hager. While council supports the work of STARS providing ambulance service is seen as an Alberta Health responsibility.