Town of Stettler council made budget commitments of $75,000 to two community organizations. The decisions were made after delegations appeared at the Nov. 23 regular meeting of council.
The first delegation was the Stettler and District Handibus Society, represented by Judy McKnight, who brought along with her the society’s 2022 proposed budget which included a request for a $25,000 grant from the town. That’s the usual annual amount granted by the Town of Stettler to this organization.
Mayor Sean Nolls commended the organization on the important service they provide to seniors and handicapped citizens. “You guys don’t get enough credit for everything you’re doing,” said Nolls.
Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Greg Switenky complimented the society on the great work its done in the Stettler community over the years. He also pointed out the Stettler handibus does a great job of raising their own funds for their organization.
McKnight stated the handibus society is enjoying a surplus in funds for the first time in about 20 years.
When looking at the budget for the upcoming year McKnight stated the society is expecting similar expenses to 2021 while the organization followed through on plans to sell their smaller van after its services were discontinued.
Mayor Nolls noted for the organization to have a surplus during the pandemic was fantastic.
She also stated the organization has heard a lot of concerns about a medical van for out-of-town use and Stettler Handibus may address this need. McKnight added that rural transportation “…is a huge problem.”
She pointed out that ridership on the organization’s vehicle has been better in 2021 since seniors began getting vaccinated and were able to get outside.
While examining the organizations documents Coun. Wayne Smith stated he knows the local charitable second hand store, Superfluity, has been generous about making donations to the Stettler Handibus. However, the documents suggested the store was not able to donate quite as much recently.
McKnight responded she also noticed that and suspected it’s due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but wasn’t sure.
Councillors unanimously approved the Stettler and District Handibus Society’s requested for a $25,000 grant for its 2022 budget.
For the youth
Councillors also heard a presentation by several members and supporters of the Heartland Youth Centre (HYC) who also brought their proposed 2022 budget which included a request for a $50,000 grant from the Town of Stettler. The delegation spokesperson was executive director Winnie Bissett.
Mayor Nolls also voiced his support for this organization that provides youth programming in Stettler. “We think everything you do is fantastic,” said the mayor. “In fact, it’s awesome.”
Bissett stated the HYC is planning on holding its own fundraising events but with the pandemic still occurring, the group isn’t sure what form those events will take. Bissett stated HYC is hoping to hold a fundraising event at the bowling alley if possible.
She informed councillors the HYC will soon be starting programming which will help youth deal with major life changes, such as a death in the family or divorce.
Bissett stated she finds the HYC staff are hearing from parents who are dealing with stress in their lives and Bissett stated she’s concerned about this as it’s said that youth seeking services from a professional counsellor in Stettler can sometimes wait up to two months for help.
She stated the HYC hosts about 250 kids throughout the year which can increase to 300 by the end of the year.
Coun. Kyle Baker stated it’s nice to see positive outcomes in Stettler where youth are involved because this is an area which the community is very concerned about.
Nolls pointed out a lot of people don’t get to see everything the HYC does for the community. “You’re one of the reasons Stettler is an awesome place,” said Nolls.
Councillors unanimously approved the HYC’s request for a $50,000 grant for their 2022 budget.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter