By Steve Hubrecht
The Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club has received $15,000 from the Columbia Valley Directed Funds Committee for maintenance equipment for the Lake Windermere Whiteway.
That was tremendous. It really shows the community commitment to the Whiteway project and that people understand just how beneficial it is to the whole valley, a visibly excited Nordic Club president Lyle Wilson told The Pioneer just after the decision at the committees latest meeting on Monday, October 27th. He added that the money to buy the new grooming equipment will translate into a much-enhanced Whiteway this winter.
As Mr. Wilson told the committee in his pitch for $15,000 worth of funding at the meeting, the club first created the Whiteway more than five years ago and has been expanding and maintaining it ever since.
Last year, the 34.5 kilometre-long cross country ski and ice skating track grabbed the Guinness World Record title as the worlds longest outdoor skating trail all achieved using plows and sweepers attached to Whiteway track-setter Brad Kitchings old pickup truck.
But the club has no intentions of just sitting on its laurels. It wants to further enhance the Whiteway starting this winter by purchasing a new Kubota L3560 , which will allow the club to plow and sweep at the same time. According to Mr. Wilson, the club has already done significant fundraising for the Kubota.
The directed funds committee members expressed positive sentiments about the Whiteway and the Nordic Club. The only discussion was around whether to include an amendment (to the motion to give the club money) directing the club to use any of the $15,000 left after buying the machine for increased signage of the Whiteway and other trails, such as Lake Lillian, that the Nordic Club maintains.
Locals know where to go; a lot of non-locals dont, said committee member Rick Thompson.
In the end, the committee decided not to include the amendments and leave it to the clubs discretion to spend any funds leftover.
Mr. Wilson was clearly satisfied with the decision, pointing out the communities in the valley are the major beneficiaries of the Whiteway.
The Whiteway had thousands of users this past winter and only a small fraction of them actually end up getting memberships in the Nordic Club (which is still the primary source of funding for the Whiteway), so while the club will benefit from a better Whiteway, the greatest benefit is to the valley, and its nice to see the directed funds committee recognize that with their support, Mr. Wilson said. It really helps make a more active community its right there in front of peoples eyes on the lake, really accessible, and anybody who wants to get a bit of exercise and stay healthy in the winter can just pop onto it. Its a double win, since its a big draw for tourists and also a big amenity for locals.
The Nordic Club plans to have the Kubota ready to go for this coming 2014-2015 winter season.