$150,000 of sports equipment delivered to High Prairie

Fire chief Ken Melnyk carries bags of golf clubs into storage.
Fire chief Ken Melnyk carries bags of golf clubs into storage.

Chris Clegg

South Peace News
For the last few weeks, Town of High Prairie Mayor Linda Cox and Councillor Brian Gilroy have met with representatives from Sport Central.

Oct. 26, over $150,000 worth of sports equipment was delivered to High Prairie, ready to give away to children and youth 3-17 years who cannot afford to play sports.

Sport Central is a charity organization from Edmonton founded by United Cycle in 1991. Don MacDonald, a member director from Sport Central, attended council’s meeting Oct. 25 to answer questions. Earlier, council supported the program and directed Cox and Gilroy to look after details.
MacDonald told council the program has been a huge success everywhere, including Calling Lake and Peace River, and it helps “to get kids off the street.”

“Bikes are 30 per cent of what we give away,” he said. “We will give away about 7,700 bikes this year.”

Council approved a donation of $2,500 to Sport Central at its meeting, after realizing they would receive far more in return than the donation made.

The equipment is not there for the easy taking. Children and youth are referred for equipment through an agency currently being set up in town. The primary duty of the requesting agency is to verify that the children are truly in a needy situation. More details will be announced later.

All equipment is presented as is after approval. Children and youth receiving equipment do not get to choose what equipment they receive.

Participants are also encouraged to return used equipment. As they grow, they can “trade” equipment that no longer fits for new equipment.

Sport Central has outfitted over 125,000 children and youth across Western Canada and the Northwest Territories with a key focus on Northern Alberta. In all, equipment is available for 13 different sports.

MacDonald said High Prairie’s application was one of the quickest ever done due to each group’s desire to get it done quickly.

The equipment is temporarily stored free of charge in the South Peace News building in the old Pegasus location, courtesy of Jeff and Mary Burgar.

A trailer filled with sports equipment is parked and ready to be unloaded. Left-right are Town of High Prairie Mayor Linda Cox, Sport Central member director Don MacDonald, High Prairie fire chief Ken Melnyk and High Prairie RCMP Cpl. Adam Best.
A trailer filled with sports equipment is parked and ready to be unloaded. Left-right are Town of High Prairie Mayor Linda Cox, Sport Central member director Don MacDonald, High Prairie fire chief Ken Melnyk and High Prairie RCMP Cpl. Adam Best.
Donated sports equipment is hauled out of a trailer. Left-right are Town of High Prairie Councillor Brian Gilroy and public works staff Jarrod Chalifoux, Jayson Ferguson and Jonathan Chalifoux.
Donated sports equipment is hauled out of a trailer. Left-right are Town of High Prairie Councillor Brian Gilroy and public works staff Jarrod Chalifoux, Jayson Ferguson and Jonathan Chalifoux.

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