Drumheller council allocates additional funding for recreation assistance

Town of Drumheller council unanimously approved the allocation of an additional $7,500 towards the Recreation Fee Assistance Program (RFAP) during the Monday, October 24 regular council meeting.

The program offers up to 90 per cent subsidy on memberships to the Town’s recreation facilities, including the Aquaplex and Badlands Community Facility (BCF), along with up to $200 in credits towards programming for low-income residents.

“The direction we are seeking is whether to extend the funding for that program to allow us to continue to support the applicants we have, or whether to draw a line under the funding for 2022 and reopen funding in 2023,” shared Community Development and Social Planning (CDSP) manager April Harrison during the meeting.

A total of $22,500 in funding was initially allocated in the 2022 budget for this program, and has since been fully allocated.

This funding has helped support 60 households, comprising a total of 97 individuals, to access the Town’s recreation facilities and programs, who may have otherwise been unable to without this support.

Ms. Harrison noted, although the funding has been fully allocated, CDSP is still receiving applications from eligible residents.

Although the allocation would mean there would be overages in the CDSP budget, there is already an anticipated overage of about $3,400 if every recipient were to fully utilize their allocated credits.

However, it is not expected the full credits will be utilized.

A review of the program will be undertaken in December to help develop a more accurate representation of expenditures.

Members of council expressed their support for the program, noting it is “a really good investment” for the community as it provides recreational outlets-particularly to youth in the community.

Council unanimously supported the request.

Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail