City to wait on stampede grounds decision

By Kathy Gallant
June 14, 2018 - 5:00pm

Meadow Lake's mayor and council are holding their horses when it comes to deciding the future of the city's stampede grounds and grandstands.

City Hall must make the ultimate decision on the future of the facility, which has been closed since November of 2017. The city could move to replace it or support its move to a different location outside the city limits, but council unanimously decided to defer the decision until meetings can be held with partners like the R.M. of Meadow Lake and Flying Dust First Nation, as well as a local group advocating to save the long-standing piece of city property.

A community meeting on the matter was held April 18, where council presented on the cost of replacing the structure, which was quoted between $805,000 and $1.83 million. Immediately following the meeting, a 'Save Our Seats' committee was formed, including residents from the city and surrounding areas. The committee members have been busy fundraising for a new set of grandstands and ultimately hope the facility stays put, according to City Manager Diana Burton.

“I asked the question of the volunteer committee, and their assumption out of the open house was that council was saying yes to keeping it in that location,” Burton said. “What I tried to stress was that council hadn’t made any decision at the open house [or since].”

Deputy Mayor Merlin Seymour, who is council’s liaison with the Save our Seats group, said he thought any decision should wait until after upcoming meetings.

A comedy night fundraiser was held June 6, and the Save our Seats committee, along with the Meadow Lake Lions club, are hosting a special World Professional Chuckwagon Association event at the grounds July 27 to 29.

“We shouldn’t let it get too far down the road,” Seymour said. “I would like to see where they’re sitting.”

Mayor Gary Vidal said the official motion will give council time for to clarify the matter and interact with all stakeholders.

“The intent of it being on our agenda in the first place was to just make sure that we didn’t have people moving forward with inaccurate assumptions about who’s thinking what,” Vidal said. “We just want to start to get some clarity. As far as the motion, it’s saying there is more work that needs to be done before any final decision is made.”

 

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