Delia leads suc­cess­ful ag so­ci­ety fund­ing cam­paign

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Patrick Ko­lafa

Lob­by­ing by the Delia Ag So­ci­ety and so­ci­eties across the prov­ince seems to have worked in per­suad­ing the Al­berta gov­ern­ment to main­tain fund­ing lev­els.

On March 20, the gov­ern­ment an­nounced Al­berta’s agri­cul­tural so­ci­eties would re­ceive $11.5 mil­lion in fund­ing for the next three years. This an­nounce­ment came af­ter a pe­riod of un­cer­tainty for ag so­ci­eties.

“The Al­berta gov­ern­ment con­firmed they are go­ing to keep fund­ing sta­ble for the next three years, which is good news, be­cause there have been some ru­mours for a while there could be some ma­jor cuts to the ag so­ci­eties,” said Delia Ag So­ci­ety Pres­i­dent Brett Sei­dler.

The con­cerns grew last year when so­ci­eties were made to wait months to re­ceive the grants. Sei­dler said Delia was very vo­cal in its lob­by­ing ef­forts.

“Through­out Delia, there was at least 20-30 dif­fer­ent let­ters sent in from com­mu­nity groups ex­plain­ing the im­por­tance of these funds to the com­mu­nity and try­ing to stress the value of ag so­ci­eties in the com­mu­nity,” said Sei­dler.

The Delia Ag So­ci­ety op­er­ates the com­mu­nity hall as well as the arena, curl­ing fa­cil­ity, and the camp­ground.

“Each ag so­ci­ety is go­ing to get a dif­fer­ent rate, based on what kind of fa­cil­i­ties they are run­ning,” said Sei­dler. The Delia So­ci­ety re­ceived about $35,000 a

year. While they wel­come the sta­ble fund­ing, it doesn’t ap­pear to re­flect in­fla­tion.

“At least we can bud­get. It’s hard to keep an arena open if you don’t know what funds you have,” he said.

“The voice of peo­ple across Al­berta about the value of ag so­ci­eties made a big dif­fer­ence to their de­ci­sion as to where they would cut,” he said.

He at­tended the provin­cial con­ven­tion in Ed­mon­ton, and the ef­forts Delia was noted by a speaker. “They said Delia had the big­gest voice across the prov­ince when it came to the num­ber of let­ters that came from our com­mu­nity,” he said. “We even re­ceived a let­ter back from Min­is­ter Car­lier say­ing he had heard our voices. A lot of time you don’t even know if some­one reads those let­ters, so it is good to know they are look­ing at them.

Travis San­dum of the Hus­sar Ag So­ci­ety is happy to see the fund­ing will be main­tained. It op­er­ates the Hus­sar arena and sup­ports the 4-H.

“We are count­ing on that fund­ing to help out,” he said.

Agri­cul­tural so­ci­eties op­er­ate about 700 com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties through­out Al­berta, and col­lec­tively have more than 65,000 vol­un­teers who sup­port ac­tiv­i­ties.

mail file photo

The Delia Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety, which op­er­ates the Delia Arena, curl­ing fa­cil­ity and camp­ground, was a prom­i­nent voice in the lob­by­ing for sta­ble fund­ing for ag so­ci­eties. Re­cently the Al­berta gov­ern­ment com­mit­ted to main­tain fund­ing lev­els for the next three years.

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