|Funding philosophies differ among rec board members|
|Local Content - Local Sports|
|Written by Greg Price|
|Wednesday, 27 February 2013 15:32|
What started off about weighing in on a waiver for the Community Be Fit group to use the Taber Community Centre auditorium turned into a philosophical debate among Taber Recreation Board members on the state of recreation funding both federally and provincially.
“Our governments keep telling us to keep fit, but they keep cutting all this funding that used to be there. I see in schools a kid standing behind a desk and clap three times and that is their fitness program for the day,” said Luke Wijna, who chaired the Taber Recreation Board meeting on Feb. 7. “All our sports, be it school sports is a lot of money for kids to pay for each sport. I know they are scrambling to find money because there is a lot of people who can’t afford the volleyballs, the basketballs, the soccers and the swim clubs. Several years ago when I was still involved in it, we dealt with Kid Sport outreach trying to find money for these kids, it would be interesting to see how many people use it now compared to then. There has got to be somewhere that we have got to be able to get some money back into these communities with millions of dollars we get through lotteries which is supposed to go back to communities.”
The Community Be Fit Program used to be funded through Alberta Health Services who lost its funding for it and so the program has been taken over by volunteers who asked for the waiver to use the auditorium twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays for the program.
“With the provincial budget coming up with the way it’s going to be, a lot of these things are going to be downloaded on towns more and more which is the way it’s going to go, so we are going to have to find a way to get through it,” said Garrett Simmons, recreation board member. “A program like this (Community Be Fit) is something we can’t let slide and that we have to support.”
Recreation board member and Municipal District of Taber councillor Don Johnson added a downloading shift has been occurring since the early 1990s. The case is made all the time from a municipal point of view that every tax dollar collected in Canada, municipalities see eight cents of it, according to Johnson.
“That being said, Alberta is light years ahead of other provinces. There are other sources of funding that may not look like recreation grants, but I can tell you, if you went to the Maritimes, Ontario or Quebec and look at the dollars they got, they don’t have what we have at the municipal level,” said Johnson. “You have to understand the challenges, I don’t anticipate any great gobs of money available to us through the budget, but I think there is a commitment to holding the line when it comes to municipal spending. As a municipality we can’t fund everything, but with great communities like Taber with their volunteerism, there has been help.”
Town councillor and recreation board member Randy Sparks chimed in it should not be a government’s responsibility for someone to get fit, but rather the focus should be on the individual themselves.
“This is my personal opinion. I don’t believe it’s up to the provincial or federal government to make sure that me and my family are fit. It’s up to me to make sure me and my family are fit,” said Sparks. “You can have all the programs in the world for the government to put money into, if people aren’t going to utilize them, they are to no avail. People need to take onus for their own physical fitness and get off their duffs and do something about it, instead of relying on some sort of program continually telling people to get fit.”
Recreation board member and town councillor Rick Popadynetz thought the idea of Community Be Fit to help seniors was a good idea and was part-and-parcel with the town’s support of seniors.
“I think this is a great thing that is offered in our town. It keeps our seniors busy and keeps them fit. But let it be known, that the town actually gives a lot of money to things like this to seniors with programs that are provided for everyone’s well being,” said Popadynetz.