The Pemberton Community Centre will be getting a big boost as a holiday gift, thanks to some of the over $250,000 in grants awarded by the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation.
This year's largest grant was donated to the centre's Children's Nature Play Park project. The park is gathering funding for its third phase, scheduled for installation this spring.
"When we heard from Whistler Blackcomb that we had been successful, it was fantastic, because our goal had been to add a phase per year, and so far through community funding we've been able to do that," said Angela Belsham, Pemberton and District Recreation Services Manager.
The first two phases saw the installation of a grass maze, a patio, a water feature with a concrete stream, adventure park style balancing elements, and a large sandbox. Future phases include expanding the climbing and play structures, adding a reading circle and outdoor classroom, and a perimeter loop to surround the whole park.
In order to fully fund Phase 3, the project will need to raise an additional $50,000.
A WB grant also means that that the exterior of the community centre will get an upgrade,and the Pemberton and District Public Library will also be making some necessary changes with their grant of $40,000.
"Basically, we want to maximize the use of existing space and just better accommodate the growing community and the changing ways they're using the library," said library director Emma Gillis. "We moved into this building in 2008, and since then the population has grown by about 13 per cent and the number of visits to the library in that same period has grown by about 73 per cent.
"Grants like these really have a significant impact on a small community organization such as ours and just enables us to improve our services and better serve our community, and really cater to the growing needs of our growing community... For us to be able to provide as high quality a service as they can expect to receive in Whistler is really important to us," said Gillis.
Pemberton wasn't the only community to benefit this year. École Squamish Elementary is looking to build an outdoor learning area too, and they received $41,000 to help support that project. The Squamish Off Road Cycling Association was awarded $25,000 to resurface their pump track.
Whistler sports also saw a ton of generous donations for various activities. The Minor Hockey Association received $11,000 for an ice divider and upgraded goalie equipment. The Squash Club was given $5,500 to purchase a ball machine, and help grow the sport among youths. The Sea Wolves Swim Club got $5,000 for wedge blocks and a PA system, so they can host swim meets throughout the year.
Other notable grants included; $15,000 for Lions Bay Search and Rescue, a $7,500 grant for the Pemberton Food Bank, and a $6,000 grant for the Whistler Arts Council.
The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation has given out more than $11 million dollars in grants since it was established in 1992. Application submission deadlines are April 1 and Oct. 1 of each year. For more information about this year's grant recipients or how to apply, visit http://www.whistlerblackcombfoundation.com.