Member of Parliament for Wetaskiwin, Blaine Calkins, is quite at home and comfortable in his suit and tie when on government business. He also looks quite at home and perhaps even more comfortable in his cowboy boots and blue jeans rubbing shoulders with the rural people who make up rural communities throughout his constituency. MP Calkins has a history of being very supportive of rural Alberta.
And of course, you can expect a very warm welcome when you visit rural communities with cheques in your back pocket. On March 8th, Calkins visited the Lakedell Ag Society in Westerose, the Alberta 4-H Centre at Battle Lake, The Winfield Ag Society in Winfield and the Buck Lake Stampede Society in Buck Lake announcing funding grants in each of the four locations.
During his first stop at the Lakedell Ag Society hall, he shared his feelings about rural Alberta. “It’s absolutely fantastic to see this particular facility (Lakedell Ag Society Hall, arena, curling rink and Hall B) as it’s the centre of the community and the lifeblood of the surrounding area as far as keeping the community together. So, for small rural communities and the rural way of life we need to pay attention and focus on the community and make sure we have facilities such as this. In addition to the larger centres such as Wetaskiwin, Lacombe and Ponoka we also need to pay attention to facilities in the countryside. And that’s what I try to do as your Member of Parliament.”
During the day, Calkins made four organizations very happy. “I am proud to see rural communities benefit from our Government’s support for local infrastructure,” said MP Calkins. “This investment will help create jobs, growth and will support the prosperity of the community for years to come.”
The Harper Government’s investment of $18,675 supports improvements to the Lakedell Agricultural Society’s Complex in Westerose. The kitchen in the curling rink/hall facility will receive several upgrades, such as the installation of new fire suppression equipment, a commercial range, exhaust hood and dishwasher.
“Our Government is pleased to support projects that leave a lasting legacy of improved infrastructure in communities across Canada,” said MP Calkins. “Today’s investment in the Lakedell Agricultural Society ensures that local Westerose and rural area families will continue to enjoy the events hosted at this facility for years to come.”
The Harper Government’s investment of $36,170 supports the replacement of exterior doors and windows in the Alberta 4-H Centre’s lodge and dormitory. These energy efficient upgrades will help regulate the temperature of the facilities and will create a more comfortable atmosphere for users. In addition, push button access to lodge and dorm doors will improve the accessibility of the facility.
“We are very appreciative to be receiving this funding to support infrastructure upgrading for the Alberta 4-H Centre,” said Bruce Banks, Chief Executive Officer of the 4-H Foundation of Alberta. “It is important for the Alberta 4-H Centre to continue to improve our facilities as it provides a direct benefit to the 4-H program and community. We accommodate approximately 700 members and 200 leaders each year that attend camps and workshops to expand their personal development, leadership and communication skills. In addition, we also host to various workshops, conferences and retreats for adults, families and youth year round. This funding will assist us in ensuring we are as energy efficient as possible, plus continue to provide a positive experience for all visitors.”
MP Blaine Calkins was greeted by Garry Dearing, Reeve of the County of Wetaskiwin upon arrival at the Winfield Agriplex. The visit to Winfield was an opportunity to announce $50,000 in federal funding under the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF) towards upgrading the Winfield Agriplex.
During the final stop of the day Caulkins Clay Anderson, President of the Buck Lake Stampede Society, welcomed MP Blaine Calkins upon arrival at the Community Centre. Calkins announced $100,000 in federal funding under the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF) towards the rehabilitation of the Buck Lake Stampede Grounds
In Economic Action Plan 2012, the Harper Government announced further support to help communities across the country modernize their infrastructure. Our Government committed $150 million over two years for the Fund. The Fund supports projects that look to improve existing community infrastructure accessible for use by the public, such as community centres, recreational buildings, local arenas, cultural and other community facilities
About the Lakedell Ag Society
Founded in 1973, the Lakedell Ag Society’s members were largely made up of people with an agricultural background. Over the years, the membership has evolved into a more balanced community made up of families that have moved into the area to either retire or work. The Society has progressed to be more diverse in its programming and events to accommodate this change.
In addition to the Annual Country Fair (the largest one-day fair in Alberta) on the September long weekend, the Society hosts a variety of events throughout the year including a free Family Day celebration in February. A large number of clubs make use of the facilities; Lakedell Curling Club, Lakedell 4-H Beef Club, Lakedell 4-H Light Horse Club, Pigeon Lake Gymkhana Club, Lakedell Mighty Mutts Dog Agility Club, Lakedell Playgroup and the Pigeon Lake Lions Club. They also have a great Farmers’ Market which is held every Friday staring at 4:30pm and ending at 7:30pm from May to September.