South Peace News
More options for outdoor community recreation in the Falher region are planned at a local school.
A project to add beach volleyball, basketball, tennis and pickleball courts at Ecole Heritage have been launched by La societe des amis de l’ecole Heritage, which means Friends of Ecole Heritage.
Society president Christine Aubin explained the multi outdoor sports courts project to the Town of Falher council at its regular meeting Dec. 8.
The first phase includes two beach volleyball courts.
“We want to complete that for summer 2022,” Aubin says.
The second phase features double tennis courts, which would convert to six pickleball courts, along with two regulation basketball courts.
All courts will be fenced in.
“We feel there’s a need for this in our community for youth ages 12 and older and for adults,” Aubin says.
“We feel this will be good for people of the region.”
She says the school board of Conseil scolaire du Nord-Ouest has donated land east of the school for the courts.
Cost of the whole project is estimated at $345,000.
“We are currently fundraising and seek financial support from the community,” Aubin says.
Raising funds is a major part of the groundwork for the project.
“We’ll be requesting local grants,” Aubin says.
“When we have the volleyball courts ready, we plan to host tournaments to raise funds and keep youth in the local region.”
She notes many youth and adults in the region go to Peace River, the nearest community where those courts are located.
Both the Falher and the M.D. of Smoky River councils were asked to provide funding for the project.
Smoky River council denied a request for a 2022 recreational grant for $2,941.21 for the first phase, she says.
“We were disappointed,” Aubin says.
“We did not have our 60 per cent funding secured in time.
“They also wanted more of a financial contribution from Falher.”
The society has asked Falher council to provide funds for the project, whatever that may be in their budget, she says.
Falher council and Mayor Donna Buchinski support the project.
“It’s great to see your group taking that initiative,” Buchinski says.
She says council will consider funding as it prepares its final 2022 operating budget in the spring.
The society plans to call on Smoky River council again.
“We will apply for funding from the M.D. again,” Aubin says.
That’s when the society plans to file an application in October for a 2023 recreational grant for $34,743.03 for the second phase.
The society plans to apply for an Alberta Community Facility Enhancement Program grant in January for the full amount, she says.
As the sports courts will serve the region, the society is also seeking donations from individuals, businesses and corporations to support and develop the project.
“Completion of the project can lead to many different collaborations and have a positive impact on the community,” Aubin says.
“We will use local contractors to the best of our abilities to help stimulate our economy.”
Volunteer work bees will be organized to help keep construction costs down and create community, she says.
For more information, contact Aubin by phone at  837-1101.