Ten Ritchot facilities chosen for municipal funding

Ritchot council, together with the Recreation Advisory Committee (RAC), has named ten local facilities that will be eligible for municipal funding in 2023. A total of $357,000 will be distributed this year to a variety of recreation initiatives throughout the municipality.

“We are thrilled to be able to support these important community facilities,” says Mayor Chris Ewen. “These spaces and places are vital to the well-being of our residents and contribute to the strong sense of community that we have in Ritchot. We are committed to supporting these organizations and ensuring that they have the resources they need to continue to serve our community.”

The Ritchot Lifecycle Grant program is behind about $200,000 of the total funding. The program was created as an annual funding mechanism to assist in the upgrade or replacement of the many components within recreational facilities which are nearing the end, or have reached the end, of their lifecycle.

A total of $70,000 is designated for Île-des-Chênes for the purchase of a new tractor for Optimist Park and a retrofitting of the main hall lighting at the TC Energy Centre.

As well, residents will benefit from the installation of an outdoor rink at the local arena.

The Grande Pointe Park outdoor rink will see the inclusion of safety mesh around its perimeter at a cost of $17,000. Another $17,000 is designated for the Howden Community Centre to install two ductless air conditioning units.

Upgrades in St. Adolphe will encompass $55,000 of the funding, which includes painting the ice shed in the sports centre and improvements to the sound system at the community centre.

The final $45,000 is designated for a ramp replacement and automatic door installation at the Ste. Agathe Community Centre as well as the provision of washrooms and showers at Cheyenne Park.

Each year, various committee organizers, along with the RM’s Director of Facilities, identify areas of need in public recreational areas. Project proposals are submitted to the RAC for review, and they in turn make recommendations to council for funding approval.

Residents of Ste. Agathe will also be the first recipients to benefit from the municipality’s Capital Grant program, which supports the development of new facilities or capital improvements to existing ones.

In 2023, plans for the replacement of the 30-year-old ice plant will get underway at the Ste. Agathe arena. A sum of $150,000 has been awarded to this major project.

“The ice plant is original to the facility, and it has reached the end of its lifespan resulting in the need for replacement,” says Josh Pawluk, arena president. “We anticipate this project will cost approximately $750,000 and the municipality’s support will go a long way in supporting our fundraising goals. This project will ensure the arena can operate reliably for the community and region as it has for the past 45 years and for many more years to come.”

Where municipal grants are not enough to cover the full cost of upgrades or replacements, Ritchot Recreation Director Shane Ray says that committees can reach out to him for assistance in locating and applying for provincial or federal grant monies which may be available.

Brenda Sawatzky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Niverville Citizen