Future of Hay River Ski Club at risk after funding loss: volunteer

Shots from a biathlon tournament at the Hay River Ski Club. (Supplied by Hay River Ski Club.)
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The future of the Hay River Ski Club is at risk as the organization looks set to lose its funding.

The club used to make money selling lottery tickets in town.

In 2014 the GNWT took over control of selling lottery tickets, and offered the ski club a five-year funding deal to help cover the loss in revenue. 

But the ski club said in a statement that they’ve learned that funding isn’t going to be extended.

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Chuck Lirette, who volunteers as a biathlon coach with the club, says the club agreed to a non-profit grant which would give the club funding for another year and-a-half. But the funding was conditional on this being the last funding the club receives from Municipal and Community Affairs.

Lirette said if that’s the case, the future of the club could be in trouble.

“I would speculate that it could mean the end of biathlon in the Northwest Territories,” he said. “We feel it’s very important for Hay River but we also feel it’s very much a territorial center.”

The club is asking residents to email MACA Minister Shane Thompson to lobby for the funding to be extended.

“MACA gets a really good bang for their buck,” he said. “So in the past five years, we received $33,655 a season. So when you look at it from the budget point of view for NWT lotteries it’s not a huge expenditure, but it’s vital in terms of allowing us to continue to maintain the club here and to keep moving forward.”

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Jay Boast, a spokesperson for MACA says the department does not provide core funding to any community-based sport organizations “directly in any community in the Northwest Territories.” 

“It is important that funding is approached consistently and with fiscal responsibility in mind across the NWT,” he added in an email.

Boast said there are other funding pots the club could apply for, but they wouldn’t provide core funding.

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