Sports groups profit from grants

The Dustball annual softball tournament in Whitehorse will be less aptly named in the coming years.

The Dustball annual softball tournament in Whitehorse will be less aptly named in the coming years.

Thanks to over $880,000 doled out by the Yukon government’s Tier 3 Community Development Fund to various community clubs, and culture and recreation groups, a few Yukon athletic programs are getting a financial boost to offer Yukoners better facilities.

Softball Yukon, which hosts the Women’s World Championship in 2012, will receive $31,500 to resurface Takhini No. 4 ballpark across the street from the Pepsi Softball Centre. Currently the field resembles more a desert than a diamond.

However, getting the largest grant is the Lorne Mountain Community Association, receiving $157,310 for a new 2,000-square-foot garage and maintenance facility to house the association’s Zamboni for its outside rink adjacent Lorne Mountain Community Centre, which is 30 minutes south of Whitehorse. The structure will also include a washroom and a meeting room on a second floor.

“The Zamboni needs storage with specific ventilation and hazardous materials storage,” said Agnes Seitz, the association’s recreation director. “It’ll be a full, new building with electric heating – the Zamboni needs hot water, so we need a boiler in there. There’s a lot of technical stuff that needs to go into this big building.

“The ice rink is our showpiece the whole winter. We have some ski trails here too, but the rink is very well used – and the Zamboni is a big part of that.”

It is expected the construction process create 4,080 hours of employment for seven workers.

On the topic of outdoor winter activities, Watson Lake Ski Club was awarded $102,425 for additions and upgrades to the Mt. Maichen ski hill.

The money will be used to upgrade the T-bars and “packer shop,” where the snow-grooming machines are stored.

“This time around, we’ve secured funding for the completion of our snow grooming shop that we built two years ago,” said club treasurer Scott Cole. “We didn’t have enough funds to finish the inside.

“It’s a huge garage because these things are big machines.

“We need a place to do routine maintenance on them and to overhaul them in the summer months so we’re ready to go in the fall.”

In addition, funds will be used to purchase equipment to maintain the modern parabolic skis and snowboards in the rental shop.

“The ski technology has changed rapidly in the last five years and you can’t use the equipment from five years ago on parabolic skies or snowboards,” said Cole. “In order to keep rental gear functioning longer, we applied for funding for a machine that is specialized for that particular purpose.

“In addition to that, there’s some funding that will go towards the training of one, possibly a second, staff member, to tune our rental equipment and for people who come in and request it.”

Helping to increase safety on the most basic level, money will also be used to improve the hill’s signage.

“Part of it was to meet the standards for safety,” said Cole. “With the funding we can have signs for our runs and have signs with maps and safety information.

“Mt. Maichen has a pretty important role in the community here in the winter. It is strongly supported by the local First Nations. The local First Nations kids use the hill a lot during the winter.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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