Dauphin Derailleurs Cycle Club making the most of grant dollars

Published on Tuesday, 14 February 2023 07:41

Dauphin Derailleurs Cycle Club is using a recent windfall from the federal government to improve the visitor experience at Northgate Trails.

The group recently received $212,000 from Prairie Economic Development.

“It was a form of economic development for rural communities. That’s probably why we got it,” Derailleurs president Brenda Gregory said.

This latest round of money will be used to make four of the river crossings on the trail more permanent. As well, lighting has been installed in the timber frame shelter at the trailhead and a fieldstone fireplace will be constructed in that structure in the near future. Finally, a sea can the group purchased to secure its equipment will be given a facelift to make it fit more seamlessly into the environment of the facility.

The Derailleurs applied for the grant last June but did not receive notice their application was successful until after Christmas. With the money needing to be spent before the end of March, timelines were tight. However, the government did provide the group a lifeline, Gregory said.

“Even though we were given very little notice about the approval, they did consider bills that we had paid retroactive to the awarding of the grant,” Gregory said, adding there was no shortage of places to spend the money. “We’ve always got plans. You dream and you hope that you’re going to be able to execute. But we don’t know, because, at this point in time, we don’t have a steady revenue source.”

Despite that, the group has been extremely successful at building a world class facility in a short time frame, mostly through grants.

“It’s a board initiative. It is really a team effort,” Gregory said, adding when one person finds a grant and runs it past the rest of the board for input and advice before finalizing the application. One board member in particular has been instrumental in securing substantial dollars for the group.

“Mel Stefaniw has obtained two large grants for us equivalent to over half a million dollars. So we’re very grateful for her.”

Gregory added the group has benefitted greatly through support from the community at large by way of volunteer labour and contractors willing to perform work at minimal cost.

“In that regard we’ve been very lucky. The stars have completely aligned for us,” she said.

With the infrastructure they now have in place, the Derailleurs are starting to shift their focus towards programming.

“That’s one area where we haven’t really focused, most of all because we couldn’t. We weren’t allowed to have people gather, even in the outdoors in the initial stages of COVID,” Gregory said, adding the group has welcomed new board members David Bosiak and J.L. Guillas and has contracted

Decipher Wilderness Experiences to provide programming.

“So there will be more of a focus on programs, particularly with children and youth,” Gregory said. “We have things we want to do, targeted at Indigenous youth, as well. So lots of things that are cooking.”

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