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  • Writer's pictureLorna Hamilton

Vermilion Rotary Club Donates ToVermilion Music Festival And Vermilion Public Library

Front row front left Libray Board Chair Justin Thompson, Library Manager Stuart Pauls, Rotary President Kirby Whitlock, and Libray Board member Alva Andersen with Rotary Club members.

The Vermilion Rotary Club has once again shown its dedication to supporting community organizations within the town of Vermilion. On November 17, the Club was busy making cheque presentations to two local organizations. Cheque presentations were made to the Vermilion Music Festival for $1,000 and The Vermilion Public Library Elevator Project for $10,000.

Front row front left Bernie Huedepohl and Rotary president Kirby Whitlock and Rotary Club members. Photos submitted

The Vermilion Public Library has been working diligently towards improving access to its facility and services, and creating an elevator for seniors, those with mobility issues, or individuals who just aren’t comfortable using stairs is imperative in obtaining this vision.

“Improving access is a core theme of our strategic plan. We strive to be barrier-free, inclusive, and open to all. To this end, we have expanded hours, improved the entry ramp for mobility aids, and hope to offer 24/7 service in the future, as well as creating this vital infrastructure in our facility,” commented Vermilion Public Library Manager, Stuart Pauls.

While this elevator is a much-needed piece of equipment, it does not come without a cost. The total cost of the elevator is projected to be $132,000, and while the Library has confirmed $60,000 of the funds required as of November 17 of this year ($10,000 from the Rotary and $50,000 in reserve contributions), there is still a long way to go for the remaining $72,000.

In 2023, the library applied for four grants: CFEP, UFA, FCC, and Cenovus, but unfortunately, were unsuccessful in this round of grants from FCC and Cenovus. However, they have yet to hear back on CFEP and UFA, which they are hoping to get a response from in the coming weeks.

“We will apply for three more grants in 2024, with the most relevant (Federal Enabling Accessibility Fund) which has yet to open the small stream applications and is the most favorable to receive funding from. Funds raised now can be leveraged with ones like CFEP,” explained Pauls.

While Pauls expects the majority of the remaining $72,000 to come from grant funding, he acknowledges that the environment for grants is very competitive right now.

“Any additional contributions from organizations like the Rotary help us build momentum, give the project credibility, and will look more favourably on applications,” noted Pauls.

Pauls also mentioned that last year 3,285 people visited the library to attend programs or events, mostly held in the basement, which is well-equipped for meetings, exhibits, and workshops. However, not all can attend due to physical limitations. He also noted that the facility is at capacity on the main level for books and resources, and all core services are offered on the main floor, leaving the basement area for special events, programs, and storage.

By implementing the elevator in the facility, it will secure the future of its building and offer room to expand core services to the basement area. For more information on the Elevator Project you can speak with Stuart Pauls at the Vermilion Public Library.

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