Christmas came a little late to the Township of Emo but Santa, in this case disguised as local MP Robert Nault, was made to feel quite welcome last Thursday.
Nault, also the minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, presented Emo Reeve Russ Fortier with a cheque for $67,500 as the federal government’s contribution to the new sportsfield being built north of the village.
He also brought greetings—and a matching cheque from the provincial government—on behalf of Tourism and Recreation minister Frank Klees.
Nault told the small gathering of municipal officials that this was the first of what he hoped will be an ongoing joint venture between the federal and municipal governments in the years to come.
“This is part of a 10-year infrastructure program,” he said. “I hope the leadership here in the community spends some time thinking about what your priorities are in the long run.”
Nault also made a commitment, on behalf of the federal government, to immediately put in place a permanent structure for this and other projects.
“Sometime in the next month, we will have a budget that will start to deliver how much money we’re going to put in over the next 10 years,” he explained.
The proposed complex will consist of two baseball diamonds (with related fencing, seating, and lighting), two soccer fields, and a building to house washrooms and concessions.
A bike trail, driving range, batting cages, skateboard park, playground, horseshoe pits, and a gravel-surfaced parking lot also are part of the plan.
Although the project won’t be complete until sometime this fall, Reeve Fortier said many of the facilities will be up and running by the time school finishes for the summer.
“We’re on target to finish by the fall, but by summer, our kids will have a place to play,” he remarked. “The water and power are already in.”
Reeve Fortier was gracious in his appreciation to the federal and provincial governments for their contributions.
“Thanks to this project, we will have a new sports facility where people can come to play or support their families and friends,” he said. “We are pleased that this project can now move forward thanks to funding from our federal and provincial governments.”
Total cost for the sportsfield is estimated at $358,500, the balance of which is being raised by the township.
To date, the federal and provincial governments have invested a total of $973 million in such infrastructure projects in Ontario.