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County's Summer Games dispersal request granted

Proceeds to go back to participating municipalities

OLDS — Town council has honoured a request by Mountain View County to dissolve the Mountain View Summer Games Legacy Foundation and disperse the money it has – just over $125,378 – to communities in the county. 

Olds council made the decision during its Jan. 11 meeting. 

The funds will be dispersed as per the foundation’s bylaws. That means Mountain View county will receive 46.2 per cent of the money, Olds 22.5 per cent, Didsbury 13.8 per cent, Sundre 8.0 per cent, Carstairs 7.9 per cent, and Cremona 1.6 per cent. 

The foundation was created to utilize surplus funds from the 1983 Alberta Summer Games. 

Its mandate was to promote and assist the development of sports and arts at the elite level as well as foster the development of highly talented athletes or artists in the county.  

The Town of Olds has served as managing partner of the foundation. 

A document on the foundation in council’s agenda says no disbursements have been made from the foundation since 2011 and the foundation working committee has not met since September 2018. 

“We’re asking council to basically dissolve this fund and then we’ll take the appropriate steps to – once all councils have done this – provide the funding back to those municipalities,” chief administrative officer Michael Merritt said. 

He and community services director Doug Wagstaff said the Olds portion of the money totals about $28,000. 

Coun. Mary Anne Overwater asked what Olds will do with its share of the money. 

“Is this going to go into elite sports people,” she asked.  

Overwater noted the town did help out former local wrestler Danielle Lappage when she competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics. 

She wondered if the funds could go toward helping other local elite athletes who need some funding assistance.  

“In my mind, I think it should go into our stabilization fund as a reserve or one of the other operating reserves, basically for the town to make sure that any of the money that is spent is done through a budgetary process, not an ad hoc process,” Merritt said. 

Community services director Doug Wagstaff said money to help Lappage came out of reserves “and that would be how we would look at those types of requests in the future.” 

He jokingly said it would be nice to frequently receive funding requests from Olympic-level athletes but that’s “not a very frequent request, so it’s one that we would review under reserves or other sources of funding.”  

Coun. Debbie Bennett wondered if the money could be utilized in some fashion for the town’s new Rotary Athletic Park. 

Merritt said that could be discussed and possibly done via a budget adjustment or by incorporating it into the next budget.  

Coun. Mary Jane Harper suggested the town’s share of the money should simply be placed in a reserve fund and town officials should not make snap decisions.

"Just to assuage everyone’s fears, I was not wanting to make a snap judgment with the $28,000, but thank you for thinking of that,” Bennett said.  

Coun. Mitch Thomson agreed with Harper but pointed out the foundation also had the mandate to provide support the arts as well as sports.