Castor council approves Minor Sports federal grant application

If approved, grant will be used to improve town assets

Castor’s town council gave permission for Minor Sports to apply for a grant to upgrade town facilities during their June 13 council meeting.

In the request to the town, Minor Sports requested permission to apply for funding through the Tourism Relief Fund, a Government of Canada initiative to help municipalities regain tourism after being battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minor Sports request included permission to upgrade the electrical utilities at the Castor Golf Course campground, install electrical utilities and upgrade water utilities into the Lion’s Campground just off Highway 12, and put work into the existing ball diamonds as well as creating another.

While council was on board with the electrical and water work at the campgrounds, they were more hesitant to say yes to another ball diamond, just due to the logistics of where to put it. Administration also recommended denying the ball diamond for the time being.

“I’m not saying ‘no’ to ball diamonds, we just have to figure things out,” said chief administrative officer Christopher Robblee.

Town of Castor recreation director, Tara Jenkins, was in agreement believing administration and council needed more information to make a decision.

Coun. Kevin McDougall put forward the motion allowing Minor Sports to apply for a grant to do the electrical work while tabling the discussion surrounding the proposed ball diamond for a later time.

In total, the amount being applied for to do the electrical and water work at the two campgrounds is $500,000.

The Town of Castor was not applying for the grant as the municipality had previously received funding through it for the park trail systems.

Castor Municipal Library

The Castor Library was on the council agenda a few times in the June 13 meeting.

Castor’s library board submitted a request for their $5,000 annual support from the town.

Previously, the library would receive the grant annually without asking, however council changed that a couple years ago when they set a policy requiring all groups that get annual funding to submit a request in writing every year.

The $5,000 grant supports the library in addition to the direct funding and supports the library receives from Parkland and the province through requisitions and grants.

Municipalities, such as the Town of Castor and the County of Paintearth, each support Parkland Regional Library Systems through an annual requisition, which currently is set at $8.55 per capita.

This requisition allows Parkland to provide the van which conducts inter-library loans, tech support, and purchase new materials among many other things. Each library in the Parkland system also receives some direct funding from that requisition.

From the province, the Castor Municipal Library receives $4.70 per capita, or around $8,500 per year, as an operation grant to help pay for staff.

The $5,000 in additional support received from the town, which the county also matches, is used to pay for extra staff time so the library can put on programs and develop their collection.

Being part of the Parkland system, in addition to the other funds, the Castor Library is granted $3,000 every year for new books and DVDs to add to the collection. Anything over and above the $3,000 the library pays for itself; however, by ordering through Parkland the library is able to reduce costs due to buying in bulk.

The Castor library was on the agenda another time. As the Castor Library board is created by the Town of Castor, the council also has to approve or deny bylaw changes.

Castor’s library board has been steadily updating the bylaws and had them presented to council during the meeting.

The biggest change in the bylaw was the removal of the library membership fee.

In a motion by Coun. Trudy Kilner, the updated bylaws were approved.

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