Cross Conservation receives CFEP grant
Wednesday, Mar 07, 2018 06:00 am
A 31-year-old conservation area is getting a little TLC thanks to funding by Alberta Culture and Tourism.
The Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area was presented with a $70,470 Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant by Livingstone Macleod MLA Pat Stier at the site March 1 to cover the cost of roof repairs for two buildings and complete construction on a new workshop at the Old Rothney Farm.
Maintenance manager Reg Rempel said the grant will pay for a new roof on a house and garage built in the 1990s as a residence for the former manager. It’s now being rented out. He expects the work to be complete in late spring.
“That house and garage, I’m surprised it hasn’t leaked,” he said. “By this spring it will. We will start work within two weeks.”
Work already began on a new workshop, which replaced the original 70-year-old workshop, and the grant will allow for its completion, Rempel said.
“We want to get the shop completed so we can start doing our maintenance stuff in there and plan to host programs in there for kids like building bat and bird houses, that kind of thing,” he said.
The Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area consists of 4,800 acres of protected property, with 2,000 acres donated in 1987 and another 2,800 in 1996.
“This is where Mr. Cross started in 1944,” Rempel said. “He started buying up homesteads. This is the first round of properties that he purchased.”
The conservation area is open year round and in 2017 saw 12,000 visitors, including school groups and families.
Communications co-ordinator Anna Aldridge said grants provide a huge boost to the protected lands. While most funding comes from the Cross endowment fund, money is needed for additional projects and expenses. That’s where grants, fundraisers and donations-in-kind come in.
“We were all excited to hear the news for (the CFEP grant)” Aldridge said.
Stier, a fan of protecting land in the Foothills, is confident the grant dollars are going to a worthy cause.
“As there is more development close to the city we are fortunate to have an area that will be kept in perpetuity,” he said. “There’s so many wonderful things about the protection of our natural areas that I’ve always believed in.”
The combination of protected land and education offered at the conservation area is a tourism draw to the northern portion of the Foothills, Stier said.
“We are so fortunate to have this here,” he said. “It is a rare thing to find land so close to the city that is preserved and protected. There’s very few. Preserving the natural areas is so critical.”