Fans Come Out for World Jet Boat Races in Whitecourt

Crowds of people spent Friday and Saturday at Whitecourt’s River Boat Park taking in the first two days of the 2019 World Jet Boat Championship Races.

40 jet boat teams are participating in the Championships, with three teams from the United States, three from Mexico, five from New Zealand and the rest from Canada. Whitecourt hosted the first leg of the Championships, with the boats running seven laps on the Athabasca River looking for the best overall time.

After the first leg of races on Saturday, Canadian boat Unnatural Disaster with Fort St. John, B.C. driver Gordon Humphrey finished 1st with an overall first leg time of 0:23:13, followed by New Zealand and the U.S. in 2nd and 3rd.

Three local teams from Whitecourt participated. Driver Randy Tinant with boat Just One More finished the first leg in 10th with a time of 0:27:22. Driver Fern Aubin with boat Trial and Error finished the first leg in 26th with a DNF time of 0:30:23, and driver Randy Hough with boat Toucan Chew finished the first leg in 37th with a DNF time of 0:38:01.

World Jet Boat Championship Communications Coordinator Penny Batt says the fan turnout in Whitecourt was amazing.

Teams packed up on Saturday night and headed up to Peace River for the second leg of races on Sunday and Monday, as the Championships continue until July 21st.


Scott Safety Centre Expansion Project Gets Higher Budget Approved, Contract Awarded

Whitecourt Town Council this week heard an update on the Scott Safety Centre expansion project.

Last October, Council entered into a Renovation Contribution Agreement with the Stark Sports Society to share in the cost of constructing a dressing room for the Whitecourt Wolverines.

On Monday, Council heard that Requests for Proposals were sent out for the building construction, and upon coming back, the overall budget for the project is now higher than originally anticipated, from $650,000 to $800,000.

Mayor Maryann Chichak explains the increase and Council’s decision to amend the agreement.

The new budget means both the Town and Stark Sports Society will cost-share the project, contributing $400,000 each. Whitecourt will front the total costs, and Stark Sports will reimburse the town their portion on a payment schedule over 6.5 years.

Council also awarded the design-build contract to Edmonton-based company Brenex Building Corporation.

Work is expected to start on the arena as soon as possible and be completed in the near future, given the time crunch in place since the Scott Safety Centre is needed for events such as Whitecourt’s Trade Fair over Mothers Day weekend.

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