Pembroke – The Intermunicipal Water and Dirt Festival has secured a title sponsor for the first-ever festival taking place in August in four municipalities: Petawawa, Pembroke, Laurentian Valley and North Algona Wilberforce.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) presented the group with a cheque for $15,000 last Thursday afternoon to become the festival’s title sponsor for 2022.

Colin Coyle, Recreation Program Co-ordinator with the Town of Petawawa, said the partnership with CNL will help the group to offer live musical performances and activities for all ages in an event that plans to offer new opportunities to residents and tourists.

“We are truly grateful to our sponsor, CNL, as this event could not happen without them,” Mr. Coyle said. “We are looking forward to working alongside our neighbouring municipalities to bring this exciting event to the Ottawa Valley.”

Petawawa took the lead in creating the partnership with neighbouring municipalities to create the 10-day festival that runs from August 4 to 14.

Mr. Coyle said the festival was born out of the popular and successful Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival and has been expanded to include new land-based outdoor adventure races spanning over the four municipalities that will include mountain bike races, skateboarding, triathlon, whitewater kayaking, BMX and trail running which have been added to the long running events such as the Upper Ottawa River Races, OSPCA Doggy Paddle and the Kayak Fishing Tournament.

Joe McBrearty, President and CEO of CNL, and Pat Quinn, Director, Corporate Communications, presented the cheque to representatives from the four municipalities which included Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet, Pembroke Mayor Mike LeMay, Laurentian Valley Township Mayor Steve Bennett and North Algona Wilberforce Township Mayor James Brose. Also on hand was Mr. Coyle,Melissa Marquardt, Tourism Development Officer with the Ottawa Valley Tourist Association.

Mr. McBrearty said CNL’s sponsorship for the festival goes to show the company’s commitment to the environment and the Ottawa River in the Ottawa Valley.

“It’s a beautiful Valley; it just bounds with tourism opportunities and we believe this contribution and our participation in the community will really benefit everyone involved,” he said.

Mr. McBrearty said CNL, through its parent company, CNEA (Canadian Nuclear Energy Association), has been supporting local communities since the inception of the government-owned contractor-=operated contract in 2015.

“We believe our participation is critical for our success and gaining the support in local communities and the response that we see from our employees and from the communities we live in and that we service, we just think it’s been an absolutely fantastic response,” he said. “We think it just goes to grow the beauty and the potential of the Ottawa Valley.”

He added many of CNL’s 2,800 employees take part in the festivities the company provides sponsorship to.

Mr. McBrearty said this year is kind of unique as the company took a suggestion from an employee who suggested CNL take a look at crowd-funding opportunities and events. He said suggestions were made to support about 20 different kinds of events and he felt it was a great idea.

“The participation from our staff was enormous,” he said. “It just kind of goes from the impacts of COVID that we all went through the last two years to the sense of just wanting to give back to the communities.”