By Justin Seward
A $600,000 contribution from Cypress County to the Dunmore Equestrian Society(DES) will be contingent on DES obtaining the grant for its project, as per council’s decision on July 6.
DES is in the midst of applying for a Green and Inclusive Building Grant from Infrastructure Canada to upgrade the current facility that would see a 150-by-300-by-32-foot steel framed open walled structure be erected with a metal clad roof, solar panels for green energy, assessable washrooms and sprinkler system to mitigate dust.
If approved, the grant share would be up to a maximum of 80 per cent of the estimated $3.8 million project.
DES would contribute $200,000; the county would add $600,000 and grant funding would cover $3 million.
“Yeah, I think it’s actually a great idea,” said Coun. Michelle McKenzie.
“But I also agree with Robin (Coun. Kurpjuweit) that we either give them cash or we give them the other stuff (services). We can’t give them both, but this might be their last attempt to get funding and it is a worthy program. I know all kinds of people who are involved with it. They all love it and I think it brings a lot to the community. I wouldn’t mind supporting it, as long as we’re not doing roads, water and the money.”
The request for decision came in front of council on July 6, which was the same day for the application deadline.
“I think their application would have significant merit if they can get it in,” said chief administrative officer Tarolyn Aaserud.
“When I spoke with them … they were like ‘Well, will the county put the whole thing in?’ Honestly, I said, ‘The Society needs to put some skin in the game.’ And they said, ‘fair enough.’ So, prior before, there was no contribution from them in prior applications. This time, they’re putting some skin in the game.”
Coun Shane Hok was troubled with the last-minute request.
“They now got a whole change on a bigger building,” said Hok.
“Why so much bigger than the original enclosed one? I understand they hired an outfit to do marketing, looking at grants. Here we are on the last day, trying to make an over half-a-million-dollar decision on an arena that’s completely changed from the original scope that we always talked about. I don’t think it’s fair to us that’s it brought forward at the last moment again and saying we need an answer today or else we can’t get this grant.”
When Deputy Reeve Richard Oster read over the request, he felt there is a chance for the DES to get something going.
“Of course, I always struggle handing over cash,” said Oster.
“I think they really need our support in this. Dan (Reeve Hamilton) and I have talked about the fact that you do something for one, you have to do it for other people approach and really we don’t. We look at every request, every proposal individually (to) see if it’s good individually for the county plus many other factors. I feel that we should be there for this project. It’s been a lot of years now and the fact that grant money is there, (it) might not happen again for a long time.”
Aaserud was aware of the grant for some time and DES was unaware of the opportunity until she spoke with them 10 days prior to July 6.
“In my quick discussion with them, to get the 80 per cent matching, was (that) they’re going to build off the announcers booth and they’re going to retro and build off from there,” said Aaserud.
“If you build new, it’s only 50-50(funding).”