A fundraiser for a new group focused on men’s health and wellbeing kicks off next weekend for an event the organizers hope will last for years to come.
The Age-Friendly Cold Lake Society has cast their lines toward the first annual Cold Lake Ice Fishing Tournament from February 12-14 in order to raise money for the Men’s Shed.
The Men’s Shed officially got going in 2020 with grant funding obtained through Age-Friendly and the New Horizons program to help the group get off the ground.
“Men Shed is an organization to try to gather men in a friendly area on a regular basis just to try to improve both their physical and their mental wellbeing. A little bit different from some of the organizations in town, we’re as come as you would like during the open hours,” said Men’s Shed member Bob Herrington.
“We’re here to foster the overall wellbeing of men in the Lakeland.”
The organizers presented to Cold Lake city council and M.D. of Bonnyville councils, who have each chosen to sponsor a day of fishing.
Kim Grey explains that he believes a lot of people will be coming from out of town to enjoy the weekend, with now over $20,000 in prizes to be won.
“It is a lake trout tournament. It’s catch and release only, barbless hooks. We try to follow all the COVID conditions so your sign up and everything is done online. There’s no transporting of the fish,” said Grey.
“The main thing is to let everybody have fun, but not hurt the fishery. Cold Lake has an amazing fishery. It’s one of the only ones in the area with the size trout and the number of trout. So it’s something that everybody is happy with.”
“We expect probably 60 per cent or better will come from outside the Cold Lake area. And according to StatsCanada, with it being a long weekend, the average person on the long weekend spends roughly $100 to $184 per day. So it will bring upwards to $100,000 into the economy of Cold Lake.”
It’s $50 to register for the open division and $25 for 12 and under, which will be handled through the FishDonkey app.
The Men’s Shed is currently closed due to COVID restrictions, but the group has roughly 20 members and would typically open Tuesday and Thursday evenings. It is located in the industrial bays behind the Husky station in Cold Lake South.
They are hoping to reach a fundraising goal of $24,000.
The fishing begins Friday, February 12.