County of Wetaskiwin sends funding request to budget deliberations

Pigeon Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce requested $15k in funding for 2020

The County of Wetaskiwin will delay a decision on a request from the Pigeon Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce to double their funding from taxpayers from $7,500 to $15,000.

The request was made by Chamber president Tom Karpa and Chantelle Van Slyke, executive director.

Karpa noted the county usually funds the Pigeon Lake chamber with $7,500 annually. The chamber increased their request for 2020 to $15,000.

Karpa stated Pigeon Lake was very happy to see no blue-green algae outbreak this summer, and only one minor issue with a fecal matter warning in one area. The cause of that issue isn’t known but it wasn’t a critical issue.

Reeve Terry Van de Kraats asked Karpa if the Pigeon Lake chamber had ever considered becoming part of the Leduc/Wetaskiwin Chamber of Commerce.

Karpa said the Pigeon Lake board has discussed this issue in the past, but would prefer to maintain their individual identity.

“I’ve heard from a lot of our members that they’re not willing to join,” said Karpa, who noted the main reasons cited include high membership rates and high cost of chamber events. Karpa also said the Pigeon Lake chamber membership rates have not been increased.

Van de Kraats stated that the Leduc/Wetaskiwin funding requests are dropping while the Pigeon Lake chamber’s request is increasing.

Councilor Kathy Rooyakkers stated that some people on the west side of the county feel the Pigeon Lake chamber focuses on the area surrounding the lake only.

Van Slyke said that’s not the case; for example, the Pigeon Lake chamber offered some tours of areas west of the lake.

Karpa also described a visitor information centre for Pigeon Lake that would cater to tourists and would be the only dedicated VIC in the immediate area.

Councilor Lyle Seely stated he supported the idea of a VIC, but noted the county budget for 2020 was already looking very tight.

Councilors decided to table the request to the county’s 2020 budget deliberations.

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