Fieldhouse gets a $110,000 boost

Foothills: Ninety-five year old Oliver Perry donates $25,000 to sports facility

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 03:08 pm

Members of the Okotoks U-12 Warriors celebrate the MD of Foothills-Town of Okotoks fieldhouse receiving $86,000 from the Province on May 23. Joining the Warriors are, back row from left, MD of Foothills Reeve Larry Spilak, High Country Sports Facility Fundraising Society chairman John Barlow, Okotoks Mayor Bill Robertson, Calgary-Glenmore MLA Linda Johnson and Okotoks town councillor Carrie Fischer.
Members of the Okotoks U-12 Warriors celebrate the MD of Foothills-Town of Okotoks fieldhouse receiving $86,000 from the Province on May 23. Joining the Warriors are, back row from left, MD of Foothills Reeve Larry Spilak, High Country Sports Facility Fundraising Society chairman John Barlow, Okotoks Mayor Bill Robertson, Calgary-Glenmore MLA Linda Johnson and Okotoks town councillor Carrie Fischer.
Bruce Campbell/OWW

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A 95-year-old man who knows all about the health benefits of keeping active has made a donation to ensure youths and adults several decades younger than himself will enjoy an active lifestyle in the foothills.

Oliver Perry, a former High River fire chief, donated $25,000 to the MD of Foothills-Okotoks Regional Fieldhouse on May 23 during an informal tour of the yet-to-be-completed facility.

“I did lots of welding for the farmers in this area and the MD of Foothills, I did lots of welding for them,” said the High River resident after being thanked with a handshake from members of the U-12 Okotoks Warriors soccer team. “I also played a lot of hockey in Okotoks with Bearcat Murray and he kind of befriended me when I was a kid.

“It’s just turnaround and give back to a good, worthy cause.”

That wasn’t Bearcat the hall-of-fame trainer. Perry played with the trainer’s dad.

Perry’s wasn’t the only donation of the evening.

Calgary-Glenmore MLA Linda Johnson presented a cheque for $86,000 on behalf of Alberta Culture.

The fact the $21-million fieldhouse is being jointly used and paid for by the MD of Foothills, the Town of Okotoks and community members helped the Province open up its wallet.

“One of the first things we look at is, is there community buy-in and is there community collaboration,” Johnson said. “We have to work together — we can’t build one in every community. So when people work together to build something, it’s easier for us to support.”

Although the fieldhouse is still about six weeks from opening, Johnson was impressed with what she saw on the short tour.

The fieldhouse will have three full-sized courts for lacrosse and soccer. As well, there will be a multi-purpose court for sports ranging from basketball, badminton to tennis and pickleball.

There will also be a community room, concession and other amenities.

“I know what my constituents have with the Southland Leisure Centre and the Jewish Community Centre, they have a lot of choice to do their sports,” Johnson said. “All Albertans deserve choice. I was talking to one father who has had to drive to northwest Calgary to get his kids to soccer. With the population growth expecting to come in this area, it’s good to have this in the community.”

The drive to northwest Calgary had Okotoks father Chris Dodd wanting to break his alarm and maybe move to Saskatchewan where they don’t have daylight savings.

“We played in the Subway Soccer Field and Bearspaw,” Odd said with a smile. “On a Sunday in Bearspaw for a game at eight in the morning, you have to be there by 7:30.

“It’s an hour’s drive and with the clock change, one morning it was like we got up at 4:30.”

The MD of Foothills and the Town are contributing $10 million each to the facility. The High Country Sports Facility Fundraising Society — user groups such as lacrosse, soccer, tennis and other associations — is fundraising the additional $1 million.

The High Country Sports Facility Fundraising Society was formed and its goal is to raise $1.1 million for the fieldhouse. So far, approximately, $335,000 has been raised by the society, said its chairman John Barlow. “We are raising the $1 million to outfit the fieldhouse — that’s equipment, furnishings basically anything that isn’t bricks and mortar,” Barlow said.

Future fundraising possibilities include a multi-sports marathon, which would include activities available at the facility. The event would take place sometime in the summer. The facility is scheduled to open in the summer, tentatively on July 1.

For more information concerning the fieldhouse and the fundraising efforts go to www.foothillsokotoksregionalfieldhouse.com


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