Binge-voters clicking in across the nation

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Tyler Clarke
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A vehicle makes its rounds through Prince Albert on Monday to encourage people to vote in the Kraft Celebration Tour. Nine other communities in Canada are vying for the $100,000 grand prize. Herald photo by Jodi Schellenberg

Computers are running hot in 10 communities across the nation with community stewards casting votes in the Kraft Celebration Tour on Monday and Tuesday.

 

Prince Albert’s Kinsmen Water Park waterslides effort has some valiant opponents.

Although some communities are viable opponents due to their population base, some smaller communities pack a mighty punch.

At a summer population of only about 2,000 people, St. Andrews, NB., has two youth community centre computers running a constant stream of votes for a skate park construction project.

“The rule is, today and tomorrow nobody’s allowed to play any (computer) games – it’s voting only,” community youth centre co-ordinator Debbie Lord said over the phone at mid-day on Monday.

“We’re really hoping to get this money so we can get more ramps,” she said. “Actually, one of the ramps just broke today.”

The local population of St. Andrews is well-aware of the call to action, with local radio and newspapers spreading the message, and two banner signs hanging across the street to encourage people to vote.

However, they recognize they’re up against cities with much larger populations than theirs, so they’re requested assistance from across New Brunswick -- a message spread through provincial media.

In Springhill, N.S., charter Springhill Lions Club president Drew Fraser is helping spread the message beyond the community’s population base of about 3,000 people.

With the 125-year-old town on the verge of being dissolved and incorporated by the Municipality of the Country of Cumberland, Fraser said that the community has become stronger by banding together to encourage a Kraft Celebration Tour vote.

“I sure hope we could win, because we sure need some help these days,” he said. “It’s a big morale booster, with the town being under the dissolving microscope.”

Best known for the Springhill mining disasters of 1891, 1956 and 1958, the Nova Scotia town’s arena collapsed under heavy snowfall about 10 years ago.

In its place, local youth hope to install various pieces of recreational apparatus on the building’s concrete pad foundation. 

The Kraft Celebration Tour grand prize of $100,000 would be a dream come true for local kids, who have had minimal success in collecting money for the project so far, Fraser said.

We’re trying to slaughter the numbers on this one, because we really, really want it Drew Fraser

Spreading the message beyond the 3,000-person town, members of the Canadian Armed Forces are supplying their vote, and Fraser has tweeted their most famous resident, multiple-Juno-award-winning singer Anne Murray, to further the message.

“We’re trying to slaughter the numbers on this one, because we really, really want it,” he said.

These heartfelt efforts are occurring in the balance of the group of 10 finalists.

Holland, Man.’s, bid for a recreation facility project was boosted by mentions on various websites across Manitoba.

The Ottawa Citizen reports that various community efforts are taking place in the nation’s capital (population 870,000) for a baseball diamond and playground designed for children with special needs.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson cast the first vote at 9 a.m. on Monday, followed by the opening of various voting stations throughout the city and a community barbecue.

Prince Albert’s Kinsmen Water Park waterslides supporters have their work ahead of them.

Signs have been posted throughout the city advertising the vote, and voting stations have been set up at City Hall and the Alfred Jenkins Field House.

Lifeguards at Kinsmen Water Park have joined various others throughout the city in serving as vote cheerleaders. With cellphones in hand, they’ve been seen glancing down at their phones while on shift on Monday.

Voting, at www.kraftcelebrationtour.ca, will continue throughout the day on Tuesday.

The $100,000 grand prize is new to this year. Previously, the contest included 10 winning projects, which received $25,000 each.

As a top-10 finalist, the waterslides have already won $25,000.

The municipality-owned and operated waterslide rebuild project is projected to cost about $260,000, of which the city is only willing to contribute $60,000.

The balance is expected to be covered by a combination of Kraft Celebration Tour winnings and community fundraising and service group contributions. 

Organizations: Prince Albert, Springhill Lions Club, Canadian Armed Forces Ottawa Citizen Alfred Jenkins Field House

Geographic location: Kinsmen Water Park, Springhill, New Brunswick Country of Cumberland Nova Scotia Holland Manitoba Ottawa

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