Friends of Cypress Hills turn sod at Community Centre project

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Submitted by Marg Wiebe, Communications Director

Friends of Cypress Hills

Since its formation in 2003, Friends of Cypress Hills have accomplished a variety of projects that enhance the Park for visitors and residents alike. These projects are many and include such things as children’s playground and the dock on Loch Leven to the Observatory, opened in 2011, enjoyed by all ages. The Friends have now undertaken the most ambitious project of all – building a Community Centre to replace the aged Recreation Hall that succumbed to a heavy snow fall three years ago.

August 19th marked the sod turning for the new hall. The Friends, cottage owners, park staff and visitors gathered for the event. Gerald Gartner, CEO of the Friends, said how thrilled the Friends are that the building of the new Community Centre is finally underway. He thanked all those who have actively worked towards this end and also to all who have contributed thus far. He also expressed appreciation for financial support received -- from the Friends of Cypress Hills and Cabin Owners Association and members of each, area farmers and ranchers, RV owners, the general public, and corporate sponsors. He noted the generous financial assistance given by Canadian Natural Resources. The friends were required to have 50 per cent of the funding guaranteed before the government would issue a permit to build was issued; thanks to several supporters this was achieved. The estimated total of the project is $750,000. With continued support the Friends believe this will be accomplished.

Larry Schiefner, Parks Manager for Southwest Saskatchewan, stated that the Ministry is very pleased this project has come together. He commended the Friends for their passion and dedication, “they are a great group that care about this park. And this is a great park with tons of visitors so anything we can do to make their experience fantastic we are happy to do. The Community Centre will add to the experience of many for many years.”

Park Naturalist Melody Nagel-Hisey said how pleased she was that the Friends were building this facility; it will provide a place for many programs in the Park.

Currently the Friends are selling 50/50 tickets with a draw to take place September 28th. If all tickets are sold the winner will receive a $25,000. cash prize. Tickets can be purchased from any member of the Friends and at a number or area businesses. Direct contributions are also welcome; see their website: www.friendsofthe park.ca or any member or send to Friends of Cypress Hills Park at Box 2175, Maple Creek, SK. S0N 1N0. All donations are tax deductible.

Organizations: Canadian Natural Resources, Friends of Cypress Hills

Geographic location: Loch Leven, Southwest Saskatchewan, Cypress Hills Park Maple Creek

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