The Hay River Legion has stepped up and provided a financial boost to the Hay River Ski Club just in time for the sport’s season to begin.

Vince McKay, president of the 250 Legion Branch made a formal presentation of $5,000 to Karen Wall, ski club president on Nov. 2 at the Legion.

“We are overwhelmed, really, with the outpouring of generosity of different people,” said Wall. “The Legion giving us $5,000 is a significant help for our core funding and that’s what we need. I love this community just for that reason.”

The monetary assistance comes at a critical time for Wall and her organization.

In August, the ski club issued a press release stating that it was struggling to meet the basic costs of operations and pointed to the GNWT no longer providing money for core funding.

The club’s main concerns have been ongoing ever since the GNWT revised the Western Canada Lotteries Act in 2016 which stopped allowing non-government organizations the ability to hold lottery fundraisers.

Wall said that the issue continues to be a challenge and that she does not feel that the GNWT has adequately helped to address the club’s complaints.

The club is expected to provide more information about this issue before Christmas, she said.

“We have decided to write a second press release and so we’re in the process right now ,” she said. “We’re not happy with (Municipal and Community Affairs) Minister (Shane) Thompson’s responses and it’s almost as if he doesn’t read or didn’t read our first press release.”

The Town had closed down all recreational facilities as a result of the recent gathering order from the chief public health officer and Wall said she was hoping to start ski club activities this week as facilities reopen.

McKay said that last week’s donation came out of the Legion’s Community Trust Account and is collected through the Legion’s lottery license with sales of Nevada and 50/50 tickets.

It comes as part of his organization’s regular effort to help Hay River individuals and organizations throughout the year, especially for youth and seniors.

“As an executive, we were looking to contribute some money to the community during this time and we felt that we wanted to help an organization that really needed help,”he said.

“Having known what’s been happening at the ski club and what the government has done with (the club’s) funding, we decided just to help out a little bit and give them a $5,000 cheque to hopefully get them started and keep them going a little.”

Because the ski club offers biathlon and youth skiing as critical parts of their operations, he said the club seemed to be a fitting recipient for the donation this time around.

In a non-Covid 19 year it was not uncommon for the Legion to raise and donate $100,000 to local organizations.

Jay Boast, MACA spokesperson, said in an email in August that the department has recognized the financial challenges faced by the club and is providing some assistance to the club as a non-government organization. As a policy, MACA does not provide core or base operating funding to sports organizations.

“In recognizing how important the Hay River Ski Club is to the Hay River community, the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) has agreed to provide them with an additional, one-time only, NGO Stabilization Fund contribution agreement of $50,827 to be split over two years: $33,655 in 2021-2022 and $16,827 in 2022-2023,” he said.

“The Hay River Ski Club has signed this agreement.”

Between 2016 and 2021, the club also received money from the department’s Legacy Retailer Grant Program, which went toward providing assistance following the changes to the lotteries act.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa.. Simon can be reached at (867)...

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  1. So we just bailed the legions out with $14 million dollars and they start giving money away that’s eat marked for veterans, rcmp and thier families. Sick.