Telkwa may soon have a new after school wrestling program. (Archive photo)

Wrestling program proposed for Bulkley Valley

Telkwa council approves free use of community hall for after school wrestling club

The Bulkley Valley may soon have a new wrestling program.

At its regular meeting March 12, Telkwa Council voted to waive community hall fees for an all-ages, year-round wrestling club.

The request came from Addison Bree, who is currently coach of the Smithers Secondary School wrestling team. Bree said wrestling participation has been dwindling in the Bulkley Valley, but that he has had interest from families in both Telkwa and Smithers for an after school program.

“I believe an after school sports club would be a benefit to our community and could even attract Smithers families who would be looking to put their children into wrestling,” he wrote in a letter to council.

“Wrestling builds character, teaches kids how to overcome obstacles, handle their emotions, respect authority, the importance of being a good teammate, and that success has to be earned through hard work and determination.”

Bree said the club would need little support beyond the waiver of the hall rental fee as he already has coaches and the minimal equipment required lined up. The only cost to participants would be the $10 fee to join the BC Wrestling Association, which covers insurance and liability.

Debbie Joujan, Telkwa’s chief administrative officer, suggested the club might qualify for a Northern Health Imagine grant. The health authority provides grants of up to $5,000 to support community health initiatives such as sports clubs. The deadline for the current round of funding is March 31.

Joujan suggested the Village could get its grant writer to apply on behalf of the wrestling club.

Mayor Brad Layton said he was in favour of promoting youth recreation and thought it was a good use of the grant writer’s time.

“If we can make it cheaper for the students, we might get more buy-in,” he said.

The mayor has also long advocated getting more use out of the community hall and was in favour of waiving the hall rental.

In passing the waiver, council used its new in-kind donations policy for the first time. The policy was crafted as a result of groups requesting free use of the hall.

“The Village of Telkwa is committed to supporting the community through assistance and support of programs, services or events that are of a general benefit to the community,” the policy states.

According to the policy, a damage deposit is still required and the group using the facility is responsible for cleanup.

Additionally, the Village now treats its in-kind contributions as a partnership arrangement and expects recognition of the donation.

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