Council should support athletes

I enjoy the Olympics and I try to overcome my natural cynicism and skepticism to embrace the Olympic ideals.

I enjoy the Olympics and I try to overcome my natural cynicism and skepticism to embrace the Olympic ideals.

Nevermind that few of any nation’s athletes are true “amateurs” anymore.

Last weekend I spent the better part of two hours rolling around in the mud under my house to diagnose and repair a problem with the TV cable running out to the gazebo where I plan to watch our Canadian athletes compete in HD on the London stage; gin and tonicing them on the victory.

Maybe it’s because I won a gold medal in cursing while under the house in the luge position that I’m disappointed town council made no effort at all to support Ponoka’s aspiring Olympic athletes.

You want to promote Ponoka’s name around the world? How about having two Canadian Olympic athletes list their hometowns as Ponoka, Alta.? Did the world know where Caroline, Alta. was before Kurt Browning turned a quad in world championship figure skating? Google world champion skeleton racer Mellisa Hollingsworth and the Town of Eckville’s corporate website is at the top of the list.

Alas, town council lacks the imagination to see the benefit of providing a pittance toward the development of wresting sensation Kelsey Raab or sprint dynamo Isatu Fofanah. I find it hard to believe that the taxpayers they say they are protecting by withholding any financial support would share their miserly decision.

In addition to her own fundraising efforts, Raab was asking town and county councils for some financial support in her effort to compete at the Cadet Wrestling World Championships in Azerbaijan later this month.

Ponoka County council, some of whom might remember listening to the original Greek Olympics on radio, donated $1,000 to help defray Raab’s expenses. Businesses in Ponoka, including Ponoka News, are also proud financial supporters of our elite athletes.

Town council will gladly suck up the deficit to build and annually maintain the arena, curling rink, swimming pools, ball diamonds, soccer pitches and walking trails but can’t find a few thousand dollars to support Ponoka’s elite athletes who excel outside of the usual school and community sports  programs?

This is a no-brainer and exactly what town council displayed when they denied Raab’s request. Why not establish a policy that council will support elite athletes, establish benchmark criteria the applicants have to meet, set deadlines when requests have to be in to council and have a committee consider the applications in the fall for winter sports and in the spring for summer sports.

Call it the Mayor’s Champions Fund. Some years it might not get spent at all but let the fund build every year with a certain percentage of the mill rate, say one-tenth of a mill.

Council says it supports in principle helping youths achieve their goals.

It’s time to put that into practice.

Just Posted

Former Ponoka CAO paid out $90,000 in settlement

The matter has been completed with three cheques sent out in town vs CAO claim

Ponoka town council pay to rise 15% on non-taxable portion in 2019

Council unanimously passes pay hike to make up for income tax change

Ponoka County dumps rezoning application by recycling operation

Third time no charm for Morningside property attempt to rezone for business use

Fan support was strong at Ponoka high school basketball games

Ponoka Secondary Campus Broncs boys and girls ended up defeating the St. Augustine Kings and Queens

Ponoka business places in top three of regional marketing challenge

Torch and Teal owner pleasantly surprised with the recognition

Story of the Year: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Privacy watchdog says legal cannabis buyers should use cash, not credit

Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

Two-year-old attacked by cougar near Mission, B.C.

Boy not seriously injured in incident on Monday afternoon

Trump signs order to create US Space Command

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to create a U.S. Space Command.

Groups preparing new pipeline legal challenge, argue government’s mind made up

A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Notorious Toronto triple killer gets third consecutive life sentence

Dellen Millard gets third consecutive life sentence for father’s death.

‘Subdued’ housing market predicted in B.C. through 2021: report

The Central 1 Credit Union report predicts “rising but subdued sales” over the next three years, with little movement in median home prices.

A journey through 2018’s top pop culture moments

Was there any pop culture this year? Of course there was.

Most Read