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

Highway 53 concerns being looked at

Speed zone change being contemplated, other issues will depend on who has jurisdiction

UPDATE: Man reported missing has been located safely

Ponoka RCMP had been looking to find Joseph Desjarlais

SuperNet provider Axia cannot guarantee continued service

Alberta’s health, schools, libraries, municipal governments at risk from delayed bidding

Court full as schools, parents dispute Alberta gay-straight alliance law

Justice Centre argues keeping parents out of the loop violates freedom of religion and expression

Research paper states low income earners hit hardest by dairy supply management

Canada’s poorest spend more of annual income on food staples than higher income earners

In reversal, Trump signs executive order to stop family separation

President had been wrongly insisting he had no choice but to separate families apprehended at border

Innisfail RCMP respond to a shoplifting incident

Red Deer man and woman face charges

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

After World Cup lineup photographed, England urges media to help team

Now the England camp is actually asking media: Are you with us or against us?

Liberals set hiring, procurement rules for federally-funded projects

Indigenous Peoples, recent immigrants, veterans, young people, people with disabilities and women to be hired

Get your hot dog water, only $40 in Vancouver

‘Hot Dog Water’ seller in Vancouver gets laughs, sales with savvy marketing

Privacy questions linger two years after Canada-U.S. terror list deal struck

Two years after Canadian and U.S. security agencies signed an updated agreement officials consider privacy risk

Manitoba MP was allegedly abusive at Red Cross shelter

Canadian Red Cross has filed a complaint that Liberal backbencher MaryAnn Mihychuk ignored protocol

Most Read