Chutes Coulonge receives $27,500 in relief funds

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SADC members who participated in the golf tournament from left, Donald Gagnon, Ken O’Leary, Amy Taylor, Rhonda Perry, Ellen Boucher, Stephane Pare, Paul Boisvert and Brittany Morin.  

Allyson Beauregard



SADC members who participated in the golf tournament from left, Donald Gagnon, Ken O’Leary, Amy Taylor, Rhonda Perry, Ellen Boucher, Stephane Pare, Paul Boisvert and Brittany Morin.  

Allyson Beauregard

MANSFIELD – About 60 golfers teed off at Pontefract Golf Club in support of Chutes Coulonge’s reconstruction efforts, September 11; the park endured significant damage to their infra-   structure after a major windstorm in 2013. “The past year has been challenging and next year will be an even greater challenge,” said Jean-François Dubois, Director at Chutes Coulonge.  “With some help, we’ll be back on top in no time and we’ll continue expanding. Interesting projects are on the table at this time and we expect a bright future for our site and the entire Pontiac Region.”
 The event was organized with the support of             the Pontiac Chamber of Commerce, SADC Pontiac, the CLD, MRC Pontiac, and Pontiac MNA Andre Fortin, as well as many other local businesses including the Pontiac Conference Centre, Ferme Livamia, the Pontefract Golf Club and more. “I came up with the idea for this type of fundraiser a short time ago. This event was organized in a few weeks time so it was a good turnout with about 85% of our objective for participation,” said Guy Ladouceur, owner of Pontefract Golf Club.
After playing golf,        participants were invited   to tour Chutes Coulonge before attending a dinner at the Pontiac Conference Centre. During the meal, Dubois gave a powerpoint presentation about the     history of the park as well as a description of the park’s damages.
“These are necessary funds for the Chutes to get back to where we were. Some repairs have been done, but we still need to fix the children’s obstacle course, and the nine zipline series, which we hope to have completed for next year,” explained Dubois.  He added that repairs already completed were paid by other fundraising efforts,donations from Brookfield Energy, and the organization’s savings.
According to Dubois, Chutes Coulonge hopes to install a splash pad and expand their trail system for next year’s season. “We are starting to expand the trail system next week. We currently have a one       kilometre trail, but for    people who want to go for a half-day hike, they won’t find what they are looking for here. This is why we want to increase the trail to at least a couple of kilometres,” he told the Journal.
A silent auction, with items donated by local businesses, also took place; by the end of the evening about $8,000 had been raised from the day’s events in addition to $19,500 given by Fortin. “Andre Fortin was able to do some lobbying and      collected funds from        discretionary budgets from a variety of different      ministries. It is a big weight off of our shoulders for next year. The funds put us in a much better position and one step closer to achieving our goals,”        said Dubois, adding that between $20,000-$30,000 more is needed to restore the park to the way it was before the wind storm. 
“The amount of community support shown today highlights how much the area loves this park,” commented Fortin. Dubois expects the park to be financially independent by the spring of 2015. “At that time, we will no longer need funds just to remain open,” he concluded.