Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit April 19, 2017 - 10:00 am

City of Iqaluit unveils fund to help low-income kids go swimming

Jimmy Kilabuk Children’s Recreation Fund will help poor families gain access to aquatic centre

STEVE DUCHARME
Annie Nowdlak, the wife of the former mayor and municipal councillor, the late Jimmy Kilabuk, with Coun. Simon Nattaq at the launch of the Jimmy Kilabuk Children’s Recreation Fund, which is intended to help poor families gain admission to the Iqaluit aquatic centre. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)
Annie Nowdlak, the wife of the former mayor and municipal councillor, the late Jimmy Kilabuk, with Coun. Simon Nattaq at the launch of the Jimmy Kilabuk Children’s Recreation Fund, which is intended to help poor families gain admission to the Iqaluit aquatic centre. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)

Children who watched the opening of Iqaluit’s new aquatic centre come and go because their families can’t afford the admission fee will now get a chance to apply for help, thanks to a new funding program launched April 18.

The Jimmy Kilabuk Children’s Recreation Fund—named in honour of the late former mayor and municipal councillor—will help about 200 low-income families get passes to the pool this year.

It’s the first phase of a fund the city wants to expand to include other programs at the facility.

The city announced it has committed about $100,000 to the project this year through its REACH fundraising program.

“It was his last wish that Iqaluit city council approve this project,” said Coun. Simon Nattaq, who spoke alongside Mayor Madeleine Redfern and other city officials and councillors at a brief media event held at the aquatic centre.

“He was always supportive of families and keen to see children flourish.”

The 200 family passes will allow hundreds of children to make it to the pool, since they won’t be issued to a single individual, recreation director Amy Elgersma told Nunatsiaq News.

Elgersma said through a combination of public grants and calls for private donations the city wants to collect about $400,000 for the new fund.

In a short tribute to Kilabuk, Nattaq said the former councillor, who died in 2013, warned of putting access to the pool outside the reach of local families, “especially the children.”

Kilabuk’s widow, Annie Nowdlak, attended the launch, accepting a commemorative award from the city on behalf of her late-husband’s dedicated service to the facility’s creation.

The mayor and city councillors stressed the creation of just such a fund to help low-income families as soon as possible, before the aquatic centre opened its doors Jan. 26.

An annual family pass to the pool—for five or fewer people—costs $1,680, while a family pass for both the pool and fitness centre costs $2,100 per year.

Some local Iqalungmmiut have already taken it upon themselves to raise money for individual children to swim through a private campaign.

Kristof Karcza, a local resident, donated $2,000 of his own money, while accepting other donations, to purchase 565 drop-in passes for local children and youth, the city confirmed.

Those passes were to be distributed to schools, boarding homes and other public services following the Easter long weekend, Karcza announced in a public Facebook post.

An application form for families interested in applying for the city’s fund is available on the aquatic centre website here.

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(6) Comments:

#1. Posted by The Old Trapper on April 19, 2017

The last figure I saw showed that REACH had raised $300,000 (over 3 years), whereas the City had estimated that $3 million could be raised. So the City’s estimate was off by 90%. I am assuming that this money was already spent during the construction phase for some of the more costly bells & whistles.

Does anyone really expect that another $400,000 is going to be raised for this program?

It’s all well and good to extend the use of the pool to those that cannot normally afford it, but the City should be clear that it will be using taxpayer dollars to subsidize this program.

#2. Posted by pennies from heaven on April 19, 2017

the city has one singular goal…make everyone else pay…if the city truely cared about the disadvantaged youth in this town, they would take the loss on admission, instead, they take all the glory like they are doing a good thing, when infact, everyone else is paying for it…there never were enough people in town to pay for this pool and all the city is doing is tapping into other social funding pots, that could go to other projects, to pay for the bloated pool

#3. Posted by Juss Sayin' on April 19, 2017

“Help poor families”?? What do you mean by “poor” Who says poor anymore…......

#4. Posted by jl on April 19, 2017

Ask the mayor to define poor and poverty

#5. Posted by hind sight brought forward on April 20, 2017

Had the pool been a few million dollars less in grandeur and expense, this would not be a financial challenge.  Pay taxes, and then fund raise.  Why not double tax?

#6. Posted by Agreed on April 20, 2017

Steve, the use of ‘poor’ instead of low income is bad taste.

Good on the City for ensuring their programming is available to all children. My only speculation is the application process for the family vs. allowing children to self-identify as low-income or otherwise unable to pay. Unfortunately some parents aren’t motivated to do this kind of thing for their children.

RIP Jimmy, it’s a good legacy to leave behind. I hope you’re proud.

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