An early Christmas present from the provincial government was hand delivered to the Rimbey Ag Society to go towards the partially constructed Agrim Centre, not by the jolly old elf himself, but by the MLA for Edmonton-Gold Bar.
MLA David Dorward met with several members of the ag society Tuesday and presented them with a CFEP cheque for $125,000.
Dorward said he was pleased to be the one to hand deliver the cheque.
“I volunteered,” he said. “It is a good way to thank everybody for the hard work they have done.”
Before the cheque presentation, Dorward chatted with the ag society about the centre.
He stressed that funding for projects such as the Agrim Centre is available and decisions are made encompassing all of Alberta, regardless of if the area is served by an MLA from the Opposition.
“We care about all areas of Alberta and an area being served by an opposing MLA doesn’t get erased,” he said.
He commended the ag society for the hard work they have done to get the Agrim Centre off the ground.
“It’s groups like you who are working your butts off who will get attention,” he said.
Dorward noted that appealing to the public for donations for sports facilities can be more difficult than if the facility was to be built for a purpose relating to health.
“When you say the word sport, people might say they don’t know if they want to donate.”
However, he noted Rimbey, being a rural municipality, has the community factor which isn’t present in Edmonton.
Ken Whitelock from the ag society explained the Agrim Centre is to be available for a range of activities, not all of which will be related to agriculture.
“It will be suitable for trade shows as well,” he said. “We plan to have permanent seating for 900 people.”
Ag Society member Ben Ostrem said the new facility is sorely needed.
“Ponoka has a new (ag) facility and it is constantly overbooked,” he said. “And this (agriculture) is our rural sport. This is horse country.”
Dorward, who founded Edmonton’s Saville Community Sports Centre (GO Centre), the largest community and sport centre of its type in North America, was encouraging and supportive of the ag society’s efforts to get the Agrim Centre built and operational.
“Good projects like this are supported by the province.”