The Town of Drayton Valley is offering help to low income residents who would like to use their fitness centres.

Lola Strand, the community services manager, says the Town has $10,000 allocated to help cover the costs of registering at the Total Works Fitness Centre in the Omniplex or the Ricochet Aquatic Centre.

She says the program had a slow start, as it started up 2019, which was the year before the pandemic hit. “That really impacted the program getting off the ground,” she says.

However, since the government has lifted the restrictions they had in place, there has been more use of the funds.

“Last year we did utilize all of the funding,” she says.

There were 20 applications accepted over the course of 2023 for a total of 25 adults and 29 children served. Strand says some of those applications didn’t come in until December last year, but this year, there were already nine adults and five children approved by January 5. 

Given that the funds are given out on a first come first served basis, Strand thinks they may get used up quickly this year.

“I definitely recommend applying sooner rather than later if you plan to,” she says.

Strand says the Town is seeing an increase in usage each year and she hopes that awareness of the funding will grow. 

The Town program is only available to Drayton Valley residents, but Strand says Brazeau County also has a program that mirrors the one the Town offers. So, County residents may also be eligible for help with affording community recreation.

“If you’re a Town of Drayton Valley resident, you apply with the Town. If you’re a resident of Brazeau County, you apply with the County,” says Strand.

Strand says the criteria for the subsidy is the same that is used for other programs, such as JumpStart. It can also be used in conjunction with other subsidies.

She says those who apply must be receiving government income support, assured income for the severely handicapped (AISH), have refugee status, or have a gross household income below the Canadian low income cutoff (LICO).

Applicants must provide proof of their household income before they can apply. This could be government documents indicating their status, or paystubs can also be used to show low income.

The Town will also require proof of residency. Those who wish to apply must have a primary residence in Drayton Valley and provide documentation that shows this. Strand says they will accept utility bills as well as government mail that has the name of the applicant and their address on it.

If accepted, each family member in the household will be able to receive up to $200 in the same calendar year. This means larger families will be able to easily afford family passes.

The funding will go toward fitness classes or more than four days, some camps, or regular use of the facilities. The money can’t be used for reimbursable fees such as uniforms or travel.

For more information on the fees for the gym and pool, people can visit the Town of Drayton Valley website at www.draytonvalley.ca. They will also find applications for the program on the website under the Services menu.

By Amanda Jeffery, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 11, 2024 at 14:05

This item reprinted with permission from   Free Press   Drayton Valley, Alberta

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