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Town donates $1,500 to Pleasant Valley’s community area

PVL President hopes project will increase residents’ quality of life
Coun. Jon LeMessurier, who also works as an exercise specialist at Aspen Primary Care Network, says that a proposed outdoor recreation space at Pleasant Valley Lodge carries benefits for both current and future residents, and could be an important tool in helping locals age in place.

ATHABASCA – Residents of Pleasant Valley Lodge (PVL) are one step closer to having their own outdoor recreational space after the town approved a donation to the project. 

During the Sept. 5 council meeting, the Town of Athabasca’s council voted unanimously to donate $1,500 to Pleasant Valley Lodge’s (PVL) resident park project, with the money coming from the “grants to other organizations” section of the budget. 

“Having a walking track where the residents won’t have to walk in the parking lot, which is a safety concern will be good,” said Coun. Jonathan LeMessurier, during a Sept. 13 interview. LeMessurier, who works as an exercise specialist at Aspen Primary Care Network during the day, added: “having something that’s outside is great for seniors and their mental health, and it’s something that’s going to be more level. It’s going to have tremendous value.” 

Councillors were revisiting the motion for the third time; they had initially discussed the request June 20, before deferring it to the Aug. 15 meeting for more information. From there, it was tabled for another two weeks while other methods to support the project were discussed. 

Wanda Loiselle, PVL’s manager, said that the estimated budget hovers around $175,000, of which more than $31,000 has been raised so far. 

“Residents can have their friends, families, they can plan get-togethers (at the gazebo). (The project) gets the residents out safely doing exercise, and eventually we’ll have benches,” said Loiselle in an Aug. 11 interview. 

It quickly became clear that the will of council was to support the project; the biggest question was when to put the funds forward. 

“If the project isn’t going ahead until next year, we do have time to wait and use funds from next year’s budget,” suggested mayor Rob Balay, referencing a July 14 letter from PVL activities coordinator Whitney Hollingsworth providing further information on the project. “This is someone in our community that is asking for us to consider doing what we can.” 

Other ideas that were discussed by councillors included a bench or picnic table, which were suggestions put forward by PVL. Other “in-kind” donations were considered, including raw building materials, but concerns over stock put the idea to rest.  

“If we have the money, why not just give money instead of giving a bench?” asked Coun. Edie Yuill. “We have the money this year, we’re getting close to the end of the year, instead of kicking it over to next year. We have a lot of stuff on budget deliberations already.” 

The “grants to other organizations” section in the town’s budget had $7,000 remaining in it before the donation was approved; councillors, including Balay, were concerned about setting precedent if the funds were to come from a reserve. The fund helps the town budget for the various asks that come from community groups throughout the year, including the Sept. 7 Road to Hope Golf Classic. 

Cole Brennan,

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