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Group wants $600,000 for Mildred Hall park

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 09/05) - Community groups made their pitches to city council Monday, looking to add more than $775,000 in core funding and special project money to next year's budget.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Lt. Col. Drew Artus asked city council to increase core funding for the air show to $25,000. - Mike W. Bryant/NNSL photo

What they want

  • Yellowknife Foster Family Association wants $7,500 to send children to Camp Connections.
  • Mildred Hall School Community Park Project wants $600,000.
  • NWT Council for Persons with Disabilities wants core funding increased to $21,500 from $15,000 to hire support worker to take disabled children to summer camp. 0/00Yellowknife International Air Show wants core funding increased to $25,000 from $10,000 every second year.
  • Yellowknife Special Olympics wants core funding increased to $3,500 from $3,000 to send athlete to Special Summer Olympics program in Shanghai, China.
  • Ecology North wants city council to re-introduce $150,000 worth of energy-saving initiatives into 2006

  • The largest request came from the Mildred Hall School Community Park Project. The committee asked for $600,000 from the Northern Strategy Fund.

    The group envisions converting the school's gravel yard into a grassy field with new playground equipment, picnic tables, trees and shrubs, and even a wetland area.

    "When you look at any great city, what makes them great is not their concrete it's always the legacy of their parks," said project chair, Laurie Sarkadi.

    She said the group hopes to have the park complete within the next couple of years.

    "The playground has been like that for 35 years," said Sarkadi.

    "One could say what's another five or 10, but we have the synergy, we have the momentum, we have this really dedicated group of volunteers, determined to see this through."

    Sarkadi said the park will cost about $775,000 to build. Yellowknife Education District No.1 is putting in $50,000 and private donors have also contributed.

    Council heard also heard from four groups seeking increases to core funding.

    Canadian Forces' Lt. Col. Drew Artus wants the city to top their $10,000 fund by another $15,000 every second year when the International Air Show comes to town, as it will next year.

    He said the Yellowknife Floatplane Fly-in, which is also a biennial event, would stay at $10,000. The two events are held on alternate years. "To keep these top teams coming we need that seed money."

    Artus and other proponents of the air show told council that the event is growing and insurance costs have risen steadily.

    He said the Canadian Forces intends to contribute $58,000 for the show next year.

    A Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce representative also attended the meeting although he didn't ask for any money.

    Executive director Marino Casebeer told council that chamber members were relatively pleased with the 2006 budget draft, adding that they're also happy administration has given them more time to review it.

    The chamber complained two years ago when the budget wasn't presented until just prior to the Christmas rush.

    He said there was some concern, however, about the city's "attractiveness as a gateway."

    "The Welcome to Yellowknife sign is almost invisible," he said.

    Casebeer added that City Hall was beginning to look a little run down, and ought to be fixed up. He also said the chamber supports the construction of a park at Mildred Hall school.