Reserve awaits results from bid to fund arena

NNSL file photo On Oct. 13, Sharon Pekok, the director of recreation with K'atlodeeche First Nation, displayed the posters she distributed to spread the word about the band's entry into an online competition to seek more funding to build an arena on the Hay River Reserve.

NNSL file photo
On Oct. 13, Sharon Pekok, the director of recreation with K’atlodeeche First Nation, displayed the posters she distributed to spread the word about the band’s entry into an online competition to seek more funding to build an arena on the Hay River Reserve.

Voting has now closed in an online completion that K’atlodeeche First Nation hopes may result in more funding to help build an arena on the Hay River Reserve.

However, the First Nation will now have to wait until Nov. 7 to see if it has been successful in winning support from the Aviva Community Fund.

“It was over 4,000 votes we had,” said Peter Groenen, the chief executive officer of the First Nation.

Groenen doesn’t know if that will be enough votes.

“It’s hard to say,” he said. “Some of the projects had more votes but a lot of them had less than us.”

KFN is seeking up to $50,000 from the Aviva Community Fund competition which involved hundreds of projects from across Canada.

It was the idea of Sharon Pekok, the First Nation’s director of recreation, to enter the contest.

“I was hoping for more,” she said when asked if she was pleased with the number of votes the project received. “But this is the first time that we’ve ever done this.”

Pekok said it will be a learning experience, and, if the First Nation is not successful this time, it may be next time.

Groenen said he sent out a mass e-mail requesting people to vote for the KFN project and received responses from all over Canada.

The Aviva Community Fund was created seven years ago by the Aviva Canada insurance company.

Online voting began Oct. 11 and ended Oct. 28.

There are two funding levels – $50,000 and $100,000 – and 15 projects from each level will move on to the next stage of the competition.

Those projects will be evaluated by a panel of judges to determine the winning ideas.

The winners will be announced Dec. 6.

Overall, the arena project on the reserve requires between $2.6 million and $3.1 million, depending on which version of an arena the First Nation decides to build.

As of this fall, the First Nation had about $1.6 million for the project, and it is continuing to seek other funding.

–Paul Bickford