Ste Anne has received a sizeable amount from the Conservative Government in the form of the Building Sustainable Communities grant.
"We've been after this grant several times now," says Mayor Yvon St. Vincent. "Finally, we were fortunate to get it this year from the Conservative Government of Manitoba to allow us to pay for roughly half of the (arena) ice plant. It's a huge, huge, huge contribution that we were really hoping to get because it would be a huge step forward if we could secure it, which we did."
St. Vincent details how much is coming their way. "The grant is for $157,000 which will cover roughly half of the project we have it earmarked for, which is around $300,000".
The rest of the money is already in place, according to the Mayor. "The other half is made up of the RM of St Anne Council, who's given $75,000 and then our own council has also put in $75,000. Basically, it's a shared 50/50 between the two municipalities and the Conservative Government. As well, anytime these grants come along, there's a fundraising component, which is why we've been trying to engage the community in that part. They've met that part in spades and we're hoping to continue that momentum with different projects on the arena or recreation."
On Saturday, he made the announcement to those in attendance but again, St. Vincent was able to make a long-awaited declaration. "The Maurice Chaput arena and Ste Anne Curling Club will 100% have ice in it next year. We are just thrilled to say that."
A key to the future of Ste Anne's arena, according to St. Vincent, is what's called a feasibility study that could provide further grant money down the road. "Forever, we've had this idea where our arena needed fixing but we've always thought about doing the bare bones to just keep it going, just keep the door open. But, what this latest time in our community, both town and RM has shown us is there's an appetite for way more. What we need to do next is a feasibility study to show what is possible and what's not possible with our current arena."
St. Vincent details more about how a feasibility study is going to serve Ste Anne long term. "That feasibility study is necessary for any grant applications moving forward. When you're going to make big grant applications, you need to show you've done your research and you're ready to do what the feasibility study says you can or can't do. So, it's a critical next step to go forward applying for more grants and then go back to the community and show there are things we want to do."
There have long been plans and ideas for what to do if the money and opportunity should arise. "There's been talk of a new lobby which might include a community hall, which we're desperate to have in Ste Anne. New flooring in the dressing rooms... all kinds of new ideas have surfaced and now that we have this momentum and fantastic community support, we're excited to see what's next."
The cost of the feasibility study can range pretty dramatically. " I've heard it can be between $30,000 and $80,000, which seems wild to me," St Vincent explains. "But, the bottom line is any grant you apply for, it's necessary. It's a necessary evil, I'll say, but it's also a nice guiding light that allows us to set up some goals for future projects."
While much focus has been on the arena, the vision of growth goes to many other projects as well. "We've been trying to figure out how to improve our baseball diamonds and make that all work" details St. Vincent. " There are so many things we're talking about and again, that's why we need the feasibility study and planning so we can approach things in logical steps. It's great to dream but we need to have a plan. That's what were doing now."
St. Vincent is quick to praise the work of so many from the community of Ste Anne but also heaps praise on the surrounding areas and says he's ready to help in any way he can. "We've taken so much away from this experience," he says. "I'm not sure we'd have all the answers to help others but I can tell you one thing when you put the call out to the local community and neighboring communities, people sure respond. I guess the friendly Manitoba moniker is well-suited".