Bracebridge’s culture and recreation staff is looking to secure a $33,000 provincial grant that they say will help the Sportsplex better target older adults, youth, seniors and families with young children.
Councillors tentatively agreed to have staff send an application to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Recreation’s Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund during a general committee meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 5. The fund, launched this year, supports programs that are one or two years in length at the local, regional and provincial levels.
“Should we be successful, the project would be a fantastic boost for the Sportsplex and the members of the community,” said Sportsplex program manager Trish Conley-Knight.
If the grant is secured, Sportsplex staff intend to use the funding for equipment and programs in three key program areas.
According to a report by culture and recreation staff, the first involves spending about $3,000 to buy adaptive fitness chairs and related equipment that can assist older adults with physical challenges. These can include joint issues, fibromyalgia, diabetes or cardiac rehab.
“This equipment will include items like special chairs that can be used in fitness classes, rubber tubing, yoga mats, etc.,” the staff report reads.
Plans for the bulk of the grant – about $28,000 – relate to the purchase of hydrorider bikes for group aquatic fitness classes, which are aimed at both youth and seniors. The bikes resemble stationary exercise bikes, except they are meant to be pedaled while the rider is immersed in water.
Conley-Knight said the bikes would be run as part of classes that can include up to 12 participants at a time.
“Some would include rehab-type programs for people rehabilitating from join injuries, cardiac issues and other related issues – great for older adults,” she said. “There would also be a wonderful opportunity to use those same bikes for youth cross-training underwater cycling programs – a huge asset for sports groups, high schools and youth groups. This would be very unique to Bracebridge.”
Staff is looking to use the remaining $2,000 in the grant to buy aquatic boats for preschoolers, which they can sit in while their parents exercise in the Sportsplex’s pool. The staff report shows the boats can also be made available to outside groups that can generate pool and equipment rentals.
“Young families have the ability to get back to being active after starting their family … by placing them in the aquatic boats we’re hoping to receive through the grant, which allows mom and dad to use the pool with their child,” said Conley-Knight. “This would occur through aquafit classes and various other aquatic programs.”
The grant’s application deadline is March 16. Councillors are expected to give the final nod for staff to proceed with the application at a council meeting tonight (Wednesday, Feb. 6).