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Willow Creek MD turns down Fort Macleod funding request

Willow Creek MD turns down Fort Macleod funding request

LAWRENCE GLEASON, GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR
Fort Macleod residents committed to help pay for the expansion of the W.A. Day school gymnasium have raised $194,000 of their $250,000 goal.
The Fort Macleod Community Initiatives Association had hoped the MD of Willow Creek would help out with a donation to cover some or all of the remaining $56,000.
But it’s a no from the MD of Willow Creek, and not for the first time.
Council had turned down participation in the fund-raising project in 2014 and again at the Dec. 13 meeting councillors, in a split vote, again turned down the fund-raising request.
The Town of Fort Macleod paid $637,000 for the gym expansion on the agreement that parents would fund-raise $250,000.
The MD of Willow Creek was asked, in a letter from the Fort Macleod Community Initiatives Association, to donate.
Division 1 Coun. John Van Driesten supported the donation request, and told fellow councillors the gym was a community asset for Fort Macleod.
“This is good for the community, there are now volleyball tournaments in it,” Van Driesten said. “It is not just used for Fort Macleod kids, there are a lot of MD kids who use it. We don’t have big halls in Fort Macleod, I think this is something we should look at.”
Other councillors were opposed.
“I feel for them,” said Reeve Maryanne Sandberg, whose division, like Van Driesten’s, is near Fort Macleod. “I know what they are trying to do. But this money shouldn’t come from us,”
Added Coun. Glen Alm: “This isn’t a community-owned building, this is owned by the school division.”
Alm said the MD of Willow Creek collects taxes for education, and school board building plans or amendments to them should be made through the school boards using funds already collected on their behalf.
The MD of Willow Creek collects about $1.3-million annually in taxes for school requisition.
“We basically are the tax collectors for the school boards,” Alm said.
Coun. John Kroetsch said he was also opposed to granting funds for the project and asked that a letter be sent to the fund-raisers to explain the MD of Willow Creek’s position.

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