The Alberta Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA) recently gave the Whitecourt Rotary Club (Alberta, Canada – D 5370) the A V Pettigrew Award for its work on Rotary Park.
Rotary Club President-elect Kathy Lee Munro will accept the award at 2017 ARPA Conference and Energise Workshop at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel on October 28.
“We were nominated by the Town (of Whitecourt),” said acting president Holly Astill.
“It was just the park itself, for the work that we’ve done sponsoring it.”
Charter member Arnie Olexan, one of the original people to help start the Whitecourt Rotary Club, said they had been contributing to the park for a number of years.
Some of their contributions include putting in a pavilion, bathrooms and planters.
“We had dreams that were rather expensive at the time,” he said.
The A V Pettigrew Award is in honour of Albert Victor Pettigrew, a founding and charter member of ARPA.
It is given to communities or organisations that have helped improve the quality of life of citizens through recreation and parks.
“To have that kind of recognition is really amazing,” Olexan said.
Olexan said he suspects the club was nominated for the award because of all the tourists from across Alberta who are drawn to the park.
“Some people come to the park regularly. I guess that’s why we’re being recognised,” he said.
Astill said the club also hosts and funds a number of events at Rotary Park such as Family Day and Summer Unplugged.
“We certainly sponsor programmes. That’s an ongoing thing,” she said.
Before the pavilion was put up, Olexan recalled how the park had a wooden shelter taken from a roadside rest stop in 2000.
“In that area where the soccer fields are, they dropped off this wooden shelter,” Olexan said.
“The kids used to come in there on the weekend and they ended up starting a fire and burning it down.”
Olexan described how the club worked with the Town Council over the years to put in basic security features, such as lights, to ensure safety and enjoyment of the park.
“We had numerous meetings with Town council,” he said. “It just carried on from there.”