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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – On Saturday, November 30th at Beatton Park, The Fort St. John Co-op presented a grant to the local Whiskey Jack Nordic Ski Club.

Brad Lussier represented Co-op and gave a speech, he explained that Co-op has developed the Community Spaces Program to help support recreational, environmental and agricultural endeavours that bring communities closer together.

The program has donated 8.5 million dollars worth of grants to an estimated 105 projects so far, with $61,000 going to the Nordic Ski Club.

The Club completed the detailed process and applied for the grant through the Community Spaces Program.

This generous donation completes the funding needed for the club to break ground on a Day Lodge at the head of the Beatton Trails, construction will begin in the summer of 2020.

Spokesperson for the club, Eliza Stanford, explained that the lodge will be an asset to the entire community, as the park is used all year round for various activities, including cross country skiing, snowshoeing, running and biking.

Stanford also described the lodge as being a 30′ x 50′ one-room building heated with a wood stove.

To minimize the environmental impact the lodge will not have indoor plumbing, however, the club recently built outdoor restrooms and water will be brought in for daily use.

This will also allow maintenance to be more manageable since the park’s upkeep is entirely volunteer-based.

When asked about the impact of the grant Stanford responded by saying, “this is critical for us,” going on to explain that the project has been seeking funding for three years.

In addition, the Club also had to get approval for their visions for Beatton Park, from BC Parks before funding could even be sought after.

Following this they needed to raise seed funding for preliminary plans before they could begin the process of selling the projects and receiving grants such as the one from Co-op.

The Community Spaces grant put an end to the extensive planning and labour that went into raising money for this project, allowing time and energy to now be put into making this concept a reality.

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