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Ameliasburgh Hall, Curling Club seek funds for repairs

By Ross Lees
Prince Edward County council will consider requests for assistance with repairs to the Ameliasburgh Hall and the Curling Club in Picton during coming budget deliberations
The Prince Edward Curling Club came to council Feb. 17 asking for $125,000 to help fix a leaking roof which has bedevilled the club for many years.
Richard Linnett, club president, told council the 145 members of the curling club would struggle to raise the money themselves and club and other activities were already being limited because of the leaking roof. He noted one leasing arrangement last year was cancelled because the roof leak.
“Immediate relief is needed for the roof,” Linnett said. “In February, one sheet of ice was closed because of leaks and we’ve had to shorten the season because of the leaks.”
Council was told the club did not have a strong enough membership to handle fundraising required.
Linnett also said they were unable to borrow money because they had no assets since the building was leased from the municipality. He did, however, mention that the Canadian Curling Association had money available for building repairs.
Investigation will follow to discover whether the county could borrow the money from the Canadian Curling Association on behalf of the curling club for the roof repairs in the short term, and perhaps for other repairs in the future – including accessibility issues, insulation, exterior cladding, dehumidifier, ice plant, floor pad.
Mayor Peter Mertens suggested the issue be sent back to staff for further assessment and additional feedback from the curling club.
“There are a number of issues here that need to be dealt with,” he said. “The roof is the immediate issue but there are a number of others, including the viability of the club. But that’s a discussion you need to have. Whatever happens, the club needs to be able to survive.”

Nancy Wood, chair of the Ameliasburgh Hall Renovation Working Group, asked for the municipality’s help to repair the Ameliasburgh hall to something resembling its former glory.
Wood, president of the local Women’s Institute and the provincial president, said the hall had been built in 1870 and was designated as a heritage building in 1985.
“It continues to play an important role in our community,” she added. “The building is deteriorating to the point that accessibility to the hall and the washrooms has become an issue.”
The Women’s Institute has raised $6,500 to date to go toward repairs.
“We do appreciate that you face budget restrictions, but we’re looking for a hand up, not a hand out,” Wood said. “We are committed to working with the municipality to make sure it continues to function.”
Councillor Dianne O’Brien was quick to come to the defence of the WI presentation.
“I was at the hall recently and I must confess I feel like the poor cousin,” she said. “We have the Honourable Peter McKay coming to the hall and we have holes in the floor. I feel embarrassed by it.”

Council reviews requests for funding

By Ross Lees
Feb. 15 – Prince Edward County council spent Tuesday listening to external agencies’ budget presentations and grant requests from community organizations such as the Miss Supertest III committee, the Regent Theatre Foundation, the Prince Edward County Community Foundation, the Lakeshore Track Association and a host of others including the BIA, social services, the Hastings-Quinte emergency medical services, Quinte and Region Conservation Authority, the County library board, the chamber of tourism and commerce, the Prince Edward Fitness and Aquatic Centre, the Friends of Wellers Bay and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 78.
Today, they will decide what requests make it into the 2011 Prince Edward County budget.
An overview:
Regent Theatre Foundation
As just one of many requests, the Regent Theatre Foundation was seeking a grant of $60,000, not the $100,000 they thought they might initially request.
Alan Whitely, in making the presentation, said they were making the request on behalf of the 400 members of the RTF, the theatre’s 100 volunteers and all of those who use the theatre. Whitely said there were three prime reasons why council should support the grant request – the fact the Regent Theatre is a centre for the performing arts, it is the largest heritage building in the County, and it is an economic engine for the community.
“We try to present a wide variety of performances that appeal to a broad spectrum of the community,” Whitely added.
This year, the Regent is undergoing a $545,000 renovation, much of which will be spent with local suppliers, Whitely noted. The renovations were made necessary to meet the Ontario Fire Code, to improve accessibility for all patrons, and to increase the seating capacity.
Whitely pointed out the theatre generates more than $1.8 million in economic benefits to the community each year and this year, it will add a further $1 million in economic spinoffs because of the renovations.
Whitely said the RTF is desperate need of council’s support because they are finding increasingly that their sources of sponsorship are drying up and that foundations have already contributed what they can.
Whitely was asked if they would continue to need grants from council, and he said he felt he would likely be back every year in the future.
“What I can promise is if I can raise it from sponsorships or elsewhere, I won’t be back,” he said. “And in future years, it is likely we will not have to ask for as much money.”

Prince Edward County Community Foundation
The Prince Edward County Community Foundation was a byproduct of the Cultural Round Table and was established to serve the needs identified in deputations to the CRT and the municipality. Those needs included: to increase volunteerism, to find ways to mobilize and increase philanthropy within the community, to better support charities and not-for-profit groups that serve many critical needs within the community, and to create an eligible vehicle within the community to attract additional dollars from outside foundations, groups, governments and donors. The foundation was officially launched in the summer of 2010.
While established to become a funding ally of the municipality, they are still trying to get themselves established to the point they can operate entirely under their own management, according to president Carlyn Moulton, and to do that they need an executive director.
The PECCF was requesting $25,000 a year for the next three years from council to enable them to hire an executive director immediately.
“We believe this is a strategic investment,” Moulton told council in her presentation. “This support for the Community Foundation will, we submit, return many more dollars to the community and that it will assure a final and crucial step in implementing this important element of the official cultural plan.”
Moulton contends an executive director would allow the organization to seek more grants and ultimately, allow the municipality – with the support of the PECCF – to do more without increasing the burden to the taxpayers.

Miss Supertest III Celebration Committee
To the Miss Supertest III Celebration Committee, timing is everything.
As a subcommittee of the Mariner’s Museum, the Miss Supertest Celebration Committee believes this year is perfect for celebrating the renowned achievements of this racing boat, the venue where it defended its world title while shattering speed records of 184.494 mph (a Canadian record that still stands), and the driver who piloted it to these amazing feats.
Derek Wolfe, a member of the committee, said Miss Supertest III and her accomplishments are a valuable part of Prince Edward County’s maritime heritage and the timing is perfect to celebrate those accomplishments in 2011.
Wolfe and his committee said the recently established Regional Tourist Organization No. 9 will mean there will be increased competition for eastern Ontario tourist dollars in the future and now is the time to establish Prince Edward County as the maritime crown jewel.
“The DNA of Prince Edward County is rich in water,” Wolfe noted, adding they are not only the site of power and sailboat history, but a modern playground and the site of many resting places for historic ships.
Timing is also critical this year as the Miss Supertest stamp will be unveiled in 2011 and Wolfe and his committee feel it is an ideal time to cash in on the caché of the Miss Supertest name.
“We need you to help us enrich the cultural economy of Prince Edward County,” Wolfe told council. “We have this moment in time, let us seize it together.”
In their presentation, the committee noted Miss Supertest III would be the centrepiece of a weekend of events celebrating this Canadian sports achievement, an event that would include an antique and class race boat show, a memorial service for driver Bob Hayward, and the release of a documentary by Peter Lockyer about this famous Canadian boat. (www.misssupertest.ca)

Lakeshore Track Association
The Lakeshore Track Association was formed following the completion of the six-lane, 400 metre running track at CML Snider School in 1980. The association’s reason for being was to maintain the track, which they have done for 30 years.
But the track has now fallen into a state of dangerous disrepair, according to Lisa Lindsay, a member of the LTA.
Lindsay was at the council meeting Tuesday to seek funding support for the repair of the track, estimated to cost in the neighbourhood of $130,000. Lindsay was asking the County to share one third of the cost, with the other two thirds to be shared by the LTA and the Hastings and District School Board. The County’s share of the cost was estimated at $43,333.
According to Lindsay, the sixth lane of the track now has large cracks, potholes and missing sections. She indicates repair must soon take place before the track becomes so dilapidated it must be replaced through total reconstruction. She estimates the track would cost about the same amount to replace now as it would to tear it out.
Lindsay made an impassioned plea to the County to come on board with the repair program, noting the track is not only used by CML Snider students, but the entire elementary board of education for an annual track event, plus by senior citizens for walking, by both the Rotary and Lions’ clubs, PEC minor hockey, the Wellington Dukes, and the Picton Pirates.
“We are trying to encourage people to come here,” Lindsay said of Prince Edward County. “This is an excellent example of partnerships that help the community. It’s free to everyone.”
The proposal would see the track resurfaced during the summer with a surface similar to the original surfacing, although the new surface was be more resilient and would increase the absorptive qualities. Lindsay noted the new surface would have the same 10-year warranty as the last surface – which has lasted for 30 years.
The LTA proposal was one of the few which drew response from council.
Councillor Janice Maynard noted this very track had been a wonderful inspiration to her daughter throughout her life.
“This is a project that is truly worth supporting,” she said. “It changes lives and this would perhaps be the best $40,000 we could spend this year.”
Former councillor Peggy Burris also spoke in support of the County financially supporting the track reconstruction, noting it required “minimal effort to affect a lot of lives.”
Mayor Peter Mertens called for a show of hands of those who would be willing to support the reconstruction of the track in the budgetary process, and there was overwhelming support shown by the councillors present.
“That makes me breathe a lot easier,” Lindsay noted after the vote, “and you have no idea how important your support is to the school board in this project.”

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  1. Doris Lane says:

    Does the track at CML not belong to the Prince Edward Hastings Board of Education?
    Why would the County of Prince Edward be funding a repair or whatever to something on Board Property? I know the Board of Education use it each spring for their final track meet? The Physcial Education Teachers use it during the school for their many activities. Someone told me that Physical Ed is not taught in the schools anymore but I have taught in most of the schools in the County over the last 10 years and I have seen very active physical education programmes in all the schools. Of course after school hours local community groups use the scoccer fields and baseball diamonds for their activities.
    I think the Board of Education may have more money to fund repairs at CML than the council does.

  2. Killashandra Ree says:

    I was glad to see the Regent reduced the grant request from $100,000. I think they need to take a page out of the Mummer’s playbook. Even though Mt Tabor is owned by the County, they do not expect that the County will pay for all the upgrades required to bring it to code and are planning fundraisers to raise money.

    I am disappointed that The Regent Theatre has no such plans and expects Council (us, the community) to pay their bills for them during the renovations. With 400 members and 100 volunteers and some effort, they should be expected to raise some of the money required. Look what volunteers managed to raise for the new Wellington Arena.

    The Regent is no longer the “community theatre” I remember it to be. Gone are most of the shows/activities geared for kids, no more first-run movies (we get them now 2 or 3 weeks after they open Belleville, Trenton or Napanee etc). It’s been a few years since any of the community theatre groups have performed on the stage, and I think the same for Bayview Secondary. Remember those fundraisers with only County talent? Someone started a youth theatre group but that only lasted a year or two. No more lecture series. The only “community” activity I can think of is the Whattam’s Family Movie, and that of course is paid for by Whattam’s, not the Regent.

    I think the 1/3 formula that worked for the Arena should be applied by Council to the Regent’s request – grant them the $40,000 as in previous years- status quo, but the Regent should be able to raise the $20,000 (1/3) through fundraising efforts, if not sponsors and corporate endorsements, and maybe by doing that will regain a connection with all parts of the community that they purport to represent.

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