Eganville — It’s official – the ratepayers in North Algona Wilberforce Township are the new owners of the property at 675 Snodrifers Road where the very popular Bonnechere Cup snowmobile races, as well as other events, have been held for almost 50 years.
“We are looking forward to the coming years with this working relationship,” Mayor James Brose said last Wednesday night as the official turnover was celebrated. “We are planning on continuing with the snowmobile races and the old sledhead events and other events.”
The Eganville Sno-Drifters Club, a local non-profit, has been hosting the Bonnechere Cup races at the property since 1974. The transferring of the ownership from the Eganville Sno-Drifters Club does not mean the club is going away and the members present at the ribbon cutting last Wednesday night were happy to note they will still be participating in events.
Mayor Brose said he looks forward to seeing more events on the property and “a greater utilization of the site throughout the year while continuing to promote and support the Sno-Drifter Club’s annual events.”
There are many ideas which could be incorporated to use the facility, he said.
“We have a relationship with Algonquin College which could see the usage of the property,” he said.
There are possibilities for both the environmental technician program and forestry program to work on the site as part of their programs, he noted. There could also be opportunities for high schools in the area to use it for educational programing.
As far as the members of the club are concerned, they are happy to see the ownership transferred and the knowledge the races and other activities will continue.
The Sno-Drifters will be able “to focus on events and make them better” with the municipality managing the property, President Zach Plotz said.
Both the township and the club want to see more use of the property.
“Hopefully it will open some new opportunities when it comes to sponsorship, grants and funding,” Mr. Plotz said.
According to the township, the property, which is just outside Eganville, has the potential to be used for year-round events and not just during the winter months. The township also hopes local community groups will use the space. With a clubhouse on the property, there is a lot of potential. Possibilities on the property include baby showers, wedding receptions and family events.
The township has plans to improve the amenities and will be actively exploring and applying for grants to both maximize the use of the property and create a sustainable entity for the future. As well, as the property is used more there will be a case for grant funding for renovations.
Going forward, Bonnechere Cup Inc. will organize the celebrated annual events at the clubhouse and racetrack and the Eganville Sno-Drifers Club will maintain the local snowmobile trails.
For Barry Verch, a charter member of the club, this is a reason for celebration.
“I think it will be a great relationship with the township,” he said.
The club has seen a dwindling of members and many of the original members have died, so this partnership keeps the races going and the facility in operation.
“They have ownership and we get to use it,” he said.
“It is a win-win for everybody,” NAW Councillor Doug Buckwald said.
“It opens this property up for new possibilities,” Councillor Maria Robinson added.
Mayor Brose said he looks forward to seeing the activities on the property such as the horseshoe club running soon.