Each year Petro Canada honours coaches who have helped their athletes excel at world championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games, and at the Special Olympics World Games. The Coaching Association of Canada and Petro-Canada honour these recipients before their peers at the annual Sport Leadership Awards Ceremony. This year’s ceremony is in Montreal.
A well known Kimberley coach will be recognized this year, Vladimir Kopecky. Kopecky has coached every level of archery and is a former world champion himself. His latest coaching success was at the Paralympic Games in London this past September.
Kimberley City Council will be assisting Kopecky in getting to Montreal with a $500 donation, though not all Council members were in agreement with it.
Darryl Oakley, Chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee, whom Kopecky approached about some funding said he would speak against the motion.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our community,” Oakley said. “Kimberley is a community full of vitality, mainly due to the generous and tireless contributions of our volunteers. It is with a very sad heart that I feel it necessary to vote against the motion to offer Mr. Kopecky financial help to receive the Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award — of which I am sure he is a very deserving recipient.
“The reason I feel I must do so are many, but the most compelling is that I feel it is an important time in Kimberley’s history and to be blunt —every dollar matters. If this were a different time with our coffers overflowing and our infrastructure all shiny and new I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute.”
“I appreciate what Coun. Oakley is saying,” said Coun. Albert Hoglund.
“But it’s a small amount. It’s still costing him to go to Montreal to receive the award. I think we would be remiss not to support him. I know Vladimir personally and he speaks highly of Kimberley wherever he goes.”
Coun. Jack Ratcliffe said that while the budget is tight, Kopecky has won international trophies and Council has supported people going out of the area to compete. Mayor Ron McRae agreed, saying Kopecky had put thousands of hours into his coaching. Coun. Bev Middlebrook said it was a small price to pay for good PR.
But Coun. D McCormick said it was a slippery slope, if its known the City is the place to go for funds.
“I find it bizarre that Petro Canada can invite someone and not pay their way,” said Coun. Kent Goodwin. “I guess times are tough in the oil patch.”