Billings Township denied funding for outdoor rink project

The outdoor rink in Billings certainly saw some use this winter.

   Council to consider reapplying for second intake of healthy communities funding

KAGAWONG – Billings township council will consider reapplying a second time for funding from the Healthy Communities Initiative (HCI) (which provides funding up to $250,000) towards a new outdoor rink, after having been turned down for funds in the first intake of the program.

“I think everyone should take the opportunity to review the letter we have received,” said Billings Mayor Ian Anderson at a regular council meeting last week. “It is kind of bad news, but appears there is a second opportunity for funding under this program.” 

Council received a letter from HCI dated May 11, 2021. “Thank you for taking time to submit an application for the (HCI). We know the impact of COVID-19 is significant and the needs of communities are great. The (HCI) generated significant interest across the country and the first round of the program was highly competitive. As communities continue to see the impact of the pandemic, we received over $300 million in funding requests for round one.”

“The review team received a high volume of applications in your region and the selection process was highly competitive,” the HCI letter continued. “Unfortunately, your application for a Kagawong outdoor multi-purpose facility has not been approved for funding.”

It was explained in the letter, “Community Foundations of Canada and community foundations were unable to fund all eligible applications, given that funding is limited. Community foundations and Community Foundations of Canada made funding decisions based on the relative strength of all applications received according to the program-wide evaluation criteria.”

However, HCI invited Billings to apply for funding under round two of the program, with applications having opened on May 14, 2021.

“Our partner, Canadian Urban Institute (CUI), also invites you to join their national network of creative leaders, community-builders and placemakers. CUI supports Canadian communities and community groups by sharing best practices, building communities of practice, and helping organizations build their capacity.”

“It is very disappointing,” stated Councillor Bryan Barker of the news from HCI. “It sounds from the letter it was a very competitive process. And it outlines we may have another kick at the can.”

“I echo what Councillor Barker said,” said Councillor Sharon Jackson. “I thank staff for outlining that they want to take on additional research for the second application. I thank them for their support and commitment to the project.”

As has been reported previously, council had decided to include $40,000 in its budget for rink repairs, to give permission to its parks, recreation and wellness committee to fundraise for improvements to the Kagawong outdoor rink and had applied for funding under HCI toward making the outdoor rink a multi-purpose year-round facility. As well, a Kagawong outdoor rink fundraising committee was also established two months ago.

Township office staff indicated to council that a second intake under HCI is now open and applications will be accepted until June 25. “Staff would like to do some research on the second intake and will provide an update at the next regular council meeting on June 1, 2021.”