The Northern Saddle Club is getting the ball rolling on a project to build a much-needed cover over the round pen at the fall fair grounds.
The club recently received a $14,298 grant from the Northern Development Initiative Trust Fund (NDI) to help make the upgrades to their facilities.
During the winter months, the club has to set up the round pen in the indoor riding arena due to weather.
“It causes safety concerns as you’ve got people riding around, some people are getting lessons and you’ve got this round pen that takes up a big portion of the indoor [arena],” said Geri Brown, the president of the club.
She said they’re aiming to build a permanent roof over the existing outdoor round pen so they no longer have to move it between seasons.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $35-40,000.
So far, with the grant from the NDI, a $2,500 grant from the Bulkley Valley Credit Union and club fundraising efforts, they have roughly $27-28,000.
“It will free up the indoor arena for riding use only which will make it a lot safer. The indoor riding arena gets a lot of use in the winter,” said Brown.
“A lot of people start using the indoor around now. There’s quite a few local people who use the indoor as well as for lessons and trainers.”
According to Brown, one of the first steps is to decide whether it will be built by a local contractor or if it will be a pre-made roof.
Once plans have been finalized Brown noted it should only take a few weeks to complete.
“It’s going to free up a lot more ability to use the facility during the winter and it will allow it to be used a lot more often and a lot more safely,” said Dean McKinley, director of economic development with the NDI.
He noted that the project is also aligned with their community halls and recreation facilities program.