Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Pancake fundraiser for soggy soccer field

by Pierre St-Cyr & Sophie kuijper dickson
Chapeau
Apr. 21, 2024
The Chapeau Recreation Association joined forces with l’Ancienne Banque restaurant in Chapeau on Sunday to host a fundraiser pancake breakfast to help pay for a new drainage system for the town’s soccer field.
The field has been out of commission for at least five years and has not been used safely for more than 20 due to its poor drainage and tendency to hold onto large amounts of water, according to Chapeau RA president Karie Bissonnette-Sullivan.
“A report we had done found there was aquatic life growing in it,” Bissonnette-Sullivan said with a laugh.
The field will require about $65,000 worth of ditching and drainage installation before it can be returned to its former glory as host of a roster of recreational activities, most of which Bissonnette-Sullivan hopes will be paid for by a provincial grant the RA has applied for.
But delays with the province mean the money may not come in until December of this year. Bissonnette-Sullivan said a local farmer is lined up to do the work, and has assured the RA it will still be possible to do it through the winter months, if need be.
The pancake breakfast on Sunday morning was the initiative of the restaurant’s owner, Michel (Mike) Chaput. Half of the profits made from the feast, a total of $420, were donated to the soccer field project.
“This is just the beginning,” said RA member Natalie Sauriol, who took the lead on organizing this fundraiser.
“We will need to obtain grants and organize many such fundraising activities before work can begin. Hopefully, next year our soccer field will be in good enough condition to welcome young players from all over the Pontiac.”
The baseball diamond on the same field is slightly less marshy than the soccer field, so it will remain open this summer, and drainage repairs will begin once the season has wrapped up in November.
For this soccer season, young Chapeau players will play home games at the baseball field at the St. Joseph municipal hall on Allumette Island, as they have in previous years.
The subject of water has been very much on the mind of the 12 members of the Chapeau RA in the last year or so.
In 2023, the RA was heavily involved with the building of a much needed splash pad, to the delight of many Chapeau children looking for ways to cope with the summer heat.
A family tradition
While acknowledging the humour in the absurdity of an aquatic ecosystem taking root on her childhood soccer field, ensuring the survival of this field is personal for Bissonnette-Sullivan, and something she takes seriously.
“My dad [Maurice Bissonnette] founded the soccer field in 1993. I remember picking rocks with him and helping plant the grass,” she said.
“He made things happen for us when we were kids, so I kind of want to do the same for my kids.”
Bissonnette-Sullivan has been trying to get the field repaired since she became president of the RA five years ago.
“It means a lot to me to do this because he was very passionate about soccer. It will be really nice to see it back up and running again.”

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