Temagami offering families winter rec equipment subsidy

·2 min read

TEMAGAMI – Temagami council is moving forward with offering families in the community a subsidy for winter recreational equipment.

In past years, Temagami has hosted its annual Shiverfest event during the month of February. However, with the current COVID-19 restrictions the festival was unable to take place this year.

Councillor John Shymko brought forward a notice of motion at council’s regular meeting January 21 that he would like municipal staff to explore the possibility of offering area families a subsidy for winter sport/recreational equipment through funds normally used to host Shiverfest.

The equipment includes snowshoes, skis, skates and toboggans.

Staff then conducted a cost analysis study on the equipment subsidy, which treasurer-administrator Craig Davidson discussed at council’s regular meeting on March 4.

He explained that Shiverfest is budgeted on a break-even basis and that donations are collected to cover the cost of the event.

“In 2020, both revenue and expense was budgeted at $3,000. The actual cost was $4,288.67 and donations received totalled $6,038, which was used in other community recreation initiatives,” said Davidson.

Staff discovered that through the municipality’s Phase 1 COVID-19 funding, council could provide a subsidy for winter recreational activities.

In order to determine the subsidy allocation for each family, Davidson said they used the enrolment for the Virtual Breakfast with Santa event that took place over Christmas as a guide, with 54 participants at a $55 maximum subsidy per child. The total available would be $2,970, which is close to the target amount of $3,000.

“I think it’s a good idea,” he said of the equipment subsidy.

“We do have snowshoes that are available for loan (through the Temagami Family Health Team). If you’re looking at even getting a pair of skates, there’s still a lot of area lakes that are brushed off for skating, or for skiing we have trails where people can cross-country ski and I think it is a good idea to try to promote some outdoor exercise, especially in the wintertime.”

Councillor Shymko noted that Temagami has some residents who are losing their jobs because of COVID, and those who had limited incomes even before the pandemic hit, adding that it was “a nice plus to be able to promote outdoor, COVID-safe activities.”

Council passed a motion for municipal staff to create and advertise a winter equipment subsidy for youth in the community, offering a maximum of $55 per youth to offset the cost of winter recreation equipment and that it be funded from the municipality’s Phase 1 COVID-19 funding.

“It might give people a little bit of a boost, it’s a very good gesture,” said Mayor Dan O’Mara of the equipment subsidy.

“Thanks for bringing that forward, John.”

Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker