Council tosses cadets a lifeline

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

The Peace River Air Cadets 124 Squadron will be moving into a new space after the Town of Peace River agreed to grant them a property tax exemption.

The cadets have been looking for a permanent home since leaving the Al Adair Recreation Centre. The Peace Country Sports Club that ran the old centre shut down at the end of August 2019. Since then, the cadets have been meeting at the Sugar Plum Day Care.

“The cadets have been a little cramped in the space,” says Lieut. Kaitie Rieger. “We are very grateful the daycare has been able to help us out, but their gym is definitely made for small individuals and we have large individuals, and a lot of them.”

There are 28 current cadets aged 12-18 years who need space for drill classes.

The group had made preliminary arrangements to lease the old Sears location in downtown Peace River for their meetings and practices, but as a non-profit they could not afford the property taxes of $10,500 a year. The cadets appealed to the Town to grant them an exemption to the taxes.

Under the provisions of the Community Organization Property Tax Exemption Regulation, municipalities may grant tax exemptions to non-profit organizations who meet the requirements set out in the Municipal Government Act.

At their regular meeting on Feb. 10, council agreed to grant the tax exemption.

Similar exemptions are already in place for the Shamrock Boxing Club and the Peace Region Dance Society.

Air cadets representatives who were in the gallery at the meeting shed tears of relief at the news.

Rieger says the cadets are very grateful to the Town for the help.

“It’s really nice to be able to continue to have it centrally so we’re not losing cadets because we changed a community,” she says.

She says the Town of Grimshaw had offered space in their new facility, but Rieger says the cadets pull from many outlying communities such as Whitelaw, Donnelly, and Manning, and Peace River is central.

“We don’t charge any fees so the fact that some families are lower income and would have to travel farther would make a huge impact on us,” she says.

The cadets have also been in Peace River for a very long time.

“It could have meant the risk of us, after being here since 1942, shutting down,” Rieger says.

Rieger says the prospect of losing such a long-running youth organization was the “scariest thing of all.”

The new lease is set for March 1, and the cadets hope to have their first parade night in the building on March 4.

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