Improvements to various arenas across the province could be on the way shortly.
Applications for the Community Rink Affordability Grant (CRAG) opened on Oct. 18. The grant provides funds to various ice surfaces across the province to help offset expenses.
Each ice surface may receive a maximum of $2,500 through the CRAG. If a facility has multiple ice surfaces, they must apply for each surface individually.
Approximately 1.4 million dollars from the provincial government was contributed to the grant last year which was dispersed to over 580 rinks across the province.
The Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association will oversee handling applications and determining which rinks will receive funding for the provincial government.
Jody Boulet, who is the president of the Parks and Recreation Association says he expects to see similar numbers of applicants and recipients as last year.
“I would say it’d be pretty similar if not more, the more awareness that the grant gets, the more interest that it receives and again as we continue to support each of those communities through the application process, we really believe that there’s an opportunity to even see some expansion of the criteria in the future.”
According to the eligibility information for CRAG on the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association website, the grant applies to indoor skating and curling rinks only, requires that the facility plans to install ice this upcoming season and that the facility is publicly owned.
Boulet says the importance of community facilities has been emphasized with recent world events.
“These facilities aren’t just for hockey, they are for many other skating events but as we’ve seen in the most recent years is when we’ve had situations like wildfires in our area or when COVID was present, they can serve as vaccination centers or evacuation centers so not only do they serve the public in terms of recreational ventures, but they also are community hubs and very important central focal points of our communities.”
Applications for the CRAG close on Jan. 15, 2024.