Ski hill funding denied; other priorities cited

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Funding from the Town of High Prairie for the Little Smoky Recreation Area south of Falher has taken an uphill turn.

At its regular meeting Aug. 21, town council received for information a request of $10,000 from the M.D. of Smoky River.

Councillor Judy Stenhouse was the first to express concern for funding to support the recreation area owned by the Smoky River municipality.

She questions why the M.D. of Smoky River is not reaching out to the wider community and users for more funding.

“I spoke to people at the Misery Mountain Ski Area in Peace River and they fundraise year-round,” says Stenhouse.

“What is Smoky River doing to fundraise year-round?”

High Prairie turned down a request to fund the ski hill area for $5,000 from Smoky River during budget deliberations last fall but received a subsequent request for $10,000.

Stenhouse also wonders why High Prairie provides funding while other municipalities in the Smoky River area do not.

The ski hill is funded by High Prairie, Big Lakes County, the M.D. of Greenview, and the Town of Valleyview.

“Why are other communities not paying for it?” Stenhouse says.

Several councillors agreed that funding should support local recreation such as the High Prairie and District Golf Club.

“I’d rather support the golf club because they say they may have to shut it down,” Councillor Donna Deynaka says.

Councillors Michael Long and Brian Gilroy both agreed.

Councillor Arlen Quartly says the ski facility is valuable, but questions funding from the town.

“Ten thousand dollars is a pretty big hit,” Quartly says.

“Where do you draw the line on funding recreation?”

The mayor agrees about the asset of the ski hill to local users.

“It’s a valuable resource,” Mayor Brian Panasiuk says.

However, he is concerned that neighbouring municipalities in Smoky River don’t provide funding to the golf course and High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre when many in the region use High Prairie facilities.

“Who’s going to help us support the pool and golf course?” asks Panasiuk.

He adds he expects another request for funding from the M.D. of Smoky River for budget deliberations in the coming months.


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