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Willow Creek MD denies request to help fund larger gym in Fort Macleod school

MD of Willow Creek council denied a request by a Fort Macleod organization raising money for a larger gym in Fort Macleod.
Chelsie Wolff and Kristi Edwards of the Fort Macleod Community Initiative Association appeared as a delegation April 15 to make their request.
Edwards explained the organization is working to build the Fort Macleod community, with a goal to raise money for upcoming projects.
At present the group is raising money for an expansion of the gym at W.A. Day school.
They want to strengthen Fort Macleod so people outside the community know where they are from and are proud to be part of Fort Macleod.
“We want it to be sustainable,” Edwards said, adding they want to see Fort Macleod thrive.
One way to do that is to build facilities.
The initial gym at W.A. Day school was sized strictly for an elementary school program.
Expanding the gym to be the size of a high school facility will allow the community to do so much more, such as host provincial tournaments and recreational leagues.
Students who play sports won’t have to practise at 10 p.m. either.
“The benefits are vast and endless,” Edwards said.
The Town of Fort Macleod stepped up to pay for the gym upgrades.
The Fort Macleod Community Initiative Association is committed to raising $250,000 to pay back to the town.
Edwards noted an estimated 25 per cent of the school population is from the municipal district.
“We’d like to see an investment from the MD,” Edwards said.
The cost of the gym upgrade is about $637,000, so 25 per cent of that is about $159,000.
Reeve Neil Wilson asked about the population of First Nations students.
Edwards responded about 25 per cent but the population fluctuated.
Coun. John Kroetsch asked if the First Nations band councils or boards of education had also been approached for funding.
Edwards said her group is working to get on the agenda of a meeting but they do not have regular meetings.
Wilson also suggested talking to Macleod MP John Barlow to see if he would go to bat for the project at the federal level.
Edwards also noted her group is seeking corporate sponsorships.
In discussion later in the meeting, Kroetsch said before he could support any financial contribution, the request would have to go to a plebiscite of ratepayers.
Coun. Maryanne Sandberg agreed with Kroetsch, adding the school received funding for a gym, and this was an extra, a community want not a community need.
Council then denied the request for funding.

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