Local organizations present to Stonewall council

Andre Lafleche (left), general manager of Stonewall Lions Manor and Joie van Dongen of Age Friendly Stonewall/RM of Rockwood make their case to council for the Town of Stonewall at its regular council meeting inside town hall in Stonewall, Man. on Jan. 22, 2020. (Adam Peleshaty/The Stonewall Argus and Teulon Times/Postmedia Network)

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With the deadline for grant applications fast approaching, three local organizations sent delegations to council for the Town of Stonewall at its regular meeting on Jan. 22.

South Interlake 55 Plus and Age Friendly Stonewall/RM of Rockwood, both local organizations promoting wellness among senior citizens, asked council to maintain the town’s annual amount of funding.

55 Plus’ board of directors reminded council of its own recreational activities as well as intergenerational programming with students from École RW Bobby Bend and Stonewall Collegiate Institute. The organization’s president Eadie McIntyre told council that last year, 107 volunteers provided 5,200 man-hours to ensure 55 Plus’ operations. She added that membership has risen to 439 over the past year, with approximately 70% residing in Stonewall.

55 Plus is asking the town to provide $13,000 for the 2021 fiscal year, while the group is also planning a fundraising concert at the Stonewall Quarry Park Heritage Arts Centre in the near future.

“This budget reflects the increase in rent and the expected staffing requirements,” McIntyre said. “As the only significant recreational provider for seniors in Stonewall, we hope you will recognize the value to the community that is provided by the staff of 55 Plus and support the (seniors’) centre (at Odd Fellows Hall) with the appropriate funding to continue our programs.”

Joie van Dongen of Age Friendly, with Lions Manor general manager Andre Lafleche, comprised of a delegation in support of the organization. She outlined some of Age Friendly’s 2019 events including an “accessibility spring walk-about” and its community celebration, which discussed communication regarding aging, with both events happening in Stonewall last May.

van Dongen asked council to provide $500 in funding for Age Friendly next year, citing a lack of overhead and operating expenses. However, the group is planning on hosting a wellness expo on Oct. 1 at QPHAC and has applied for a grant through the province’s Celebrate 150 initiative with a budget of $4,200.

“It’s getting organized and I think it will do some good marketing and it will be a good event,” van Dongen told council.

Age Friendly is also looking to purchase new flower pots for the Stonewall and District Health Centre and is considering applying for a $25,000 grant through the federal government’s New Horizons For Seniors Program for a picnic shelter at Archie Gray Park.

Bob Beck, board chair of the Interlake Community Foundation, told council that ICF exceeded its fundraising goal by receiving $251,000 in 2019, the foundation’s 25th anniversary. That same year, ICF granted $65,000 back to community groups and post-secondary students.

The foundation is the only community foundation in Manitoba to take part in a nationwide pilot fund for gender equality. #Talk,eh?!, a two-day retreat for female and transgender students from all three Interlake School Division high schools and The Infinity Program, which will take place at Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre this March, received a grant from ICF through the pilot fund worth $25,000 on Jan. 27.

Council also made an official proclamation to recognize Feb. 20 as Kin Canada Day and Feb. 16 to 22 Kin Canada Week, in recognition of the service organization’s 100th anniversary this year.