Trillium Fund a great supporter
The Niagara Olympic Club will take time this Saturday to publicly acknowledge the support of its oldest and most reliable supporter.
St. Catharines mayor Walter Sendzik, MPP Jim Bradley and club members and their parents will gather at the Louth Street facility in St. Catharines at 1 p.m. to thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation for its ongoing support.
“This facility has been built with Trillium money from the very beginning 20 years ago,” NOC coach/chairperson Sharon Stewart said. “We started with a Trillium grant and this is our fourth grant and our fourth big, major investment of money into the facility.”
Stewart agrees that without Trillium funding, the NOC facility would not exist. The City of St. Catharines will also be thanked for its help. The NOC leases the facility from the city.
“We work very hard and put a lot of money into it, but the amount of money that is required to maintain it and to keep updating equipment goes beyond what we are capable of,” Stewart said.
The latest grant from the foundation is $71,500 and the money will be used to: purchase new pole vault equipment ($28,000); repairs to the surface of the track in lane 1 and in the starting area; repairs to the javelin and pole vault runways; and, the refurbishment (new frame and sand) of the sand pits for the long jump.
“That will consume the money very quickly,” Stewart said.
The pole vault equipment is essential because the equipment stored on site is old and doesn’t meet safety standards.
“We are hosting a provincial meet this year and it’s crucial to have safe equipment,” Stewart said.
That meet is the Royal Canadian Legion Ontario Command Championship that will be held July 13-14.
Every year, the club spends between $30,000 and $50,000 of its own money. Recent improvements have included the construction of a discus cage ($22,000) and the refurbishment of the long jump runway ($30,000).
Annual maintenance costs are low because most of the work is done by volunteers.
“We are very fortunate we having the Echo mark sponsorship so our deluxe tractor is provided,” Stewart said.
There are seven volunteers on the NOC’s board of directors, including J.P. Korsmit, who handles the repairs and maintenance of the equipment.
What comes next for the facility is up in the air.
“The next step is to be patient and wait and see what the Canada Summer Games is going to build,” Stewart said.
There is a proposal to build Canada Games Park on land south of the Brock University parking lot, which will include a track and field venue, Stewart said.
“I believe it is an ideal location because it is central to the entire region and I hope everyone can pull together and see the big vision for that.”
What that means for the NOC facility is anyone’s guess. The NOC’s lease with the city ends in 2021.
“It depends on what happens with the Canada Games facility, who is going to be managing that property and where we fit in that picture,” Stewart said.
The Niagara Olympic Club will have another busy spring hosting several elementary and high school meets right up to the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association level. This Wednesday, it will play host to the high school Bulldog-Cougar Classic.
For more information on the Niagara Olympic Club, visit http://www.nocrunners.com