This year, seven organizations have applied for a total of just under $190,000 in funding from Valemount’s Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Program from Columbia Basin Trust.

The groups made presentations to the public on Monday night at Valemount Secondary School, and the public got a chance to score each project out of 10. Silvio Gislimberti, staff with the Village, explained that the public’s scores will make up 30 per cent of the total scoring for the projects.

This year, the organizations presented in order of the amount they are requesting, starting with the lowest.

• The Valemount Lions Club is asking for $2,940 to build an electrical room to facilitate the collection and storage of solar energy. Presenter and president of the club Barb Shepherd says the electrical room is part of their long term plans for making the building more sustainable, and they hope to eventually sell extra power to help build revenues for the Club. With the new system, they hope to make the club available to the community as an emergency meeting place in case of an extended power outages.

• The Valmeount Community Sports Day Association is applying for $6,200 for a community and children’s festival initiative. Presenter Charlotte Abernathy says that after a successful 3 day event in 2014, Valemountain Days was cancelled in 2015, but local organizations and groups got together and held an un-official Valemountain days, including a bigger ball tournament, with bingo, concession and a beer garden, and a popular dance. Abernathy says these groups have again come together to start planning for Valemountain Days 2016, and this funding would go towards renting a bouncy castle, electronic games, live children’s entertainment and music for the festival.

• Valemount Learning Society is applying for $12,998 to go towards rent and utilities to keep the V-Crew Youth Centre open. The centre, run by Youth Coordinator Darren Sparks, has been very popular with local and visiting youth, offering a safe place to hang out and socialize, while learning and building self-esteem and self-worth. The Learning Centre is applying for funding from a new program through CBT, the Basin Youth Network, but needs funds to keep the centre open until that program kicks in. If that funding is approved, presenter Riette Kenkel (executive Director of the Learning Centre) says the remaining funds from the CI/AAP program would be returned.

• Valemount’s Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 266, is applying for $24,783 to continue upgrades to the Legion Hall. Build in 1964, President of Branch 266 Pete Pearson says the hall is in need of upgrades and these would focus on updating the bathrooms, including making them mobility accessible and replacing flooring to match the flooring recently installed across the top end of the dance floor. Pearson says more accessible washrooms would make the hall even more friendly and safe for families and seniors, and increase pride in the facility, which has been hosting live local music on Friday nights, and church services on Sundays, amoung many other activities.

• The Canoe Valley Community Association is applying for $32,837 for the second phase of the group’s Active Living Kids pilot project. Last year the program offered two 1-week summer camps for kids aged 6-12, four months of afterschool programming, and a curling program as well as a new cross-country skiing program. Diana Smith, presenter and coordinator for the association’s Kinnickinnickers Family Centre, says they want to continue and expand the programming, also offering support for parents during school closure days. Smith says the association is looking to get charitable status to help make funding for the program easier to sustain, and are looking to obtain childcare licensing for kids aged 6-12 only, in order to effectively continue and expand the after-school programming.

• Valemount & Area Recreation Development Association is applying for $50,000 for phase 2 of the mountain bike park. Manager and presenter Curtis Pawliuk says they are applying for $50,000 out of a total $170,000 for the project planned for this summer, with other funding coming from Northern Development Initiative Trust, the Regional District, some of VARDA’s own funding, and from a new program from CBT for recreation infrastructure. If this funding from the Community Initiatives program is not approved, Pawliuk says they won’t have enough to match for the other CBT grant program. He says the construction this summer will focus on four pieces – an advanced downhill trail (more aggressive than Tin Foil Hat, which is a big draw for bikers from out of town), a “flow” trail (one that can help less experienced riders ramp up their abilities), a connector which will allow people to switch between various sections of trails, and repair the final section of the Swift Creek Trail, a favourite of locals and also used by hikers and runners.

• Finally, the Valemount Public Library Association is applying for $60,000 for a basement and stairway renovation. Darryl Polyk, president and presenter, says the library, owned by the Village, was built 30 years ago and the biggest thing users ask for is more room for activities at the library. The renovations would close up the existing, steep interior stairway to the basement, which is currently difficult for those with mobility issues to use, and close in the existing exterior basement. It would also open up the space (currently divided down the centre with a partition wall), create a washroom downstairs and small meeting or conference room. It is not part of the current plans, but Polyk says the renovations would allow the future installation of a chair lift, similar to the one at the Valemount Clinic. The proposed renovations are part of the expansion plans the association had designed a few years ago, and Polyk says they fit into that expansion plan, by allowing better use of the current basement, which will help open up the main floor.

Gislimberti says Valemount received about $260,000 this year, and will receive that much new funding each year for four more years. Money not applied for or used last year rolled over to add to this year’s available total, bringing it to $304,438. Any funds not used this year will again roll over to be added to next year’s total.

The adjudication committee will meet again on March 14th to consider public input, and expects to submit recommendations to Council for the March 22nd meeting. Projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2016, but extensions can be granted.