Rink Affordability Grant results released by province

Government of Saskatchewan photo. Nearly 600 ice surfaces were paid for through the Community Rink Affordability Grant Program in 2021-22.

The results of the Community Rink Affordability Grant (CRAG) Program were released by the province on Tuesday and they showed 594 ice surfaces and 379 facility owners have benefitted from the grant in 2021-22.

“The $1.7 million allocated to the grant program is an important investment in community ice surfaces and curling rinks, which are important hubs for so many villages, towns, cities and First Nations communities across Saskatchewan,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Laura Ross said in a release.

“We hear some tremendous feedback from local volunteers and users about how the investment helps keep activities affordable and community well-being strong.”

The Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association (SPRA) administers this program and is an important contributor toward recreation in our province.

“The Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association is proud to once again administer the CRAG program on behalf of the Government of Saskatchewan,” SPRA President Jody Boulet said.

“Coming off a challenging two years, these facilities, along with all community recreation services and spaces, are more important than ever. The government’s continued support of the program shows that it understands just how critical recreation environments are for both individual and community wellbeing.”

Reinstated in 2020-21, the Community Rink Affordability Grant provides funding to help offset the costs of operating indoor skating and curling rinks in Saskatchewan. Communities, First Nations, schools, and non-profits are eligible and encouraged to register for an annual grant per indoor ice surface. The program has been confirmed again for this coming year, with registration opening in the fall of 2022.

“Whether it is skating, curling, or playing hockey, rinks are important to the health and happiness of community residents and contributes greatly to our quality of life,” Ross said.  

Many local communities echoed those thoughts in quotes submitted in follow-up reports to the industry.

“The grant has a significant benefit to the community to help promote fitness. It provides for additional hours of operation and has aided in keeping the facility viable for the community” the Village of Saltcoats said.

“The Community Rink affordability grant is a great resource to our community to help with expenditures. The grant allows us to keep our registration fees affordable so that we may be able to encourage more community members and surrounding community members to enjoy the facility, the Village of Debden said.

The 594 ice surfaces to receive funding included 377 skating rinks and 217 curling rinks.