Saturday , 15 May 2021

Portage Voyageurs athletics funding is suspended for the year

With no athletics programs, enrollment could be affected by much as 15 per cent.

Lac La Biche County agreed to push back funding for Portage College’s athletics program for a full year.

Portage College athletics program is suspended for the 2020-2021 school year because of COVID-19, so during last weeks council meeting Rick Flumian, the Manager of Community Relations at Portage College, asked for the County to suspend the funding until the athletics program was back up and running.

The County was initially going to pay Portage College $100,000 for the next three years, but since this season is cancelled they agreed to start the funding for the following year.

“I think it was a good decision to suspend the athletic program,” said Lac La Biche Mayor, Omer Moghrabi.

“They felt that there were so many things that were undecided, especially because of COVID-19, so I support their decision.”

Although, putting the athletics program will help lower the spread of COVID-19, it is going to have an impact on the school’s enrollment.

“It will affect their enrollment by around 15 per cent, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t bad,” said Moghrabi.

Having the athletics program cancelled for the year will mainly have an economic impact on the hamlet.

When our sports teams are playing, economically in a year it’s an impact of around $800,000 of money that comes into the County in terms of hotels, ice time, so that’s going to be an impact financially for us.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.