Timmins Daily Press e-edition

‘Highly rated’ German trail groomer a boon for ski club

$400K machine purchased with help from the province


Porcupine Ski Runners is receiving $150,000 for a new trail groomer, Timmins MPP George Pirie’s office announced in a Nov. 23 press release.

The $400,000 purchase of the new German-made PistenBully trail groomer will be partly funded by the club’s own reserve funds.

The trail groomer is equal to the best on the market, made by Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG.

“It’s highly rated,” said Gerry McNair, chair of operations with the Porcupine Ski Runners. “There are other clubs in the North that use it, for example, North Bay and New Liskeard both have PistenBully groomers.”

The grant is from the Ontario Trillium Foundation Capital Grant stream. McNair says it will help keep fees low.

“For example, this year, even though we’re making this purchase, we did not increase our membership, day, and equipment rental fees,” McNair said. “A grant like this certainly helps us do that.”

The club’s existing trail groomer is 37-years old and is costly to maintain. The PistenBully is in Canada at the distributors’ waiting to be delivered in January, McNair confirmed.

The club has been making other improvements for the coming season.

They have just replaced all of their rentable skis and ski boots, thanks to a “very generous” donation from Newmont Mining, McNair said.

The $30,000 donation from Newmont paid for half the cost with the rest covered by the club’s reserve fees.

The Porcupine Ski Runners Club celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

The club began in 1973 when Diane and Lorne Luhta wanted to bring a little of their Finnish culture to Timmins. Diane put an ad in The Daily Press looking for members. Thirty-three people responded and the rest is history.

Over the years the club has hosted many important competitions for the sport, and members have won over 90 medals in racing events from 1978 to 2008. Last year the club had 973 members.

The club has 30 km of trails including 3.5 km of lit trails for night skiing.

Altogether, the Ontario government provided five non-profit organizations in northeastern Ontario with a total of $420,800 in funding through the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Capital grant stream.

The aim is to ensure access to programming.

“I am proud that we are supporting organizations that are making a positive difference in our community. Thanks to this support, these organizations can continue providing top-tier service to the people of northeastern Ontario, including quality recreational activities,” Pirie stated in the press release.

The other recipients are: Kapuskasing Golden Age Centre ($44,800 for a kitchen renovation); Municipalité de Mattice - Val Côté ($150,000 for a renovation to their community hall); Les 50+ de Kirkland Lake ($32,000 to replace their club furnace); and Le Centre culturel ARTEM New Liskeard ($44,000 for upgrades to their Christmas Village).

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Its capital grant stream targets infrastructure improvements such as purchasing equipment, building a new space, or completing renovations, retrofits or repairs.

Nearly $682 million has been invested in more than 5,900 projects since 2018, creating more than 7,300 full time jobs in communities across Ontario.

The government estimates that $981 million in economic benefits have flowed from Ontario Trillium Foundation investments since 2018, based on direct investment of grant dollars and reported donations and grants, other government funding, earned income, in-kind donations, and value of volunteer contributions.

“Non-profit organizations across Ontario deliver programming that makes a difference – whether it’s helping people train for new careers, learn new things, or simply connect with those around them,” Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, stated in the press release.

“That’s why the capital grant support is so important. This funding will help ensure these spaces remain the heart of communities across our province.”






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