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Valentine’s fundraiser to fight gravel pit

It may be a Valentine’s Day event, but it’s not love that’s driving organizers. The goal of the Conestogo Winterbourne Residents Association’s gala is to raise money for its fight against a proposed gravel pit.

Money raised will go into the group’s legal fund for an upcoming battle at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

CWRA was formed in 2007 in opposition to a gravel pit proposed by Hunder Developments, which hopes to gain an aggregate licence for some 150 acres of land on two farm properties located at 128 Katherine St. S. and 1081 Hunsberger Rd.

Funds are funneled into legal bills and for payment to experts reviewing all of the reports Hunder is putting forward. Legal representation allows the group party status with the OMB.

“Basically, funding our fight against the pit, our ability to be represented at the Ontario Municipal Board hearing,” said association president Keri Martin Vrbanac of the legal account

So far the group has raised $172,000, about 75 per cent of the overall goal needed to cover various costs. Martin Vrbanac estimates the additional sum to be raised at approximately $42,000. The money should be enough, she said, to carry the group through the OMB hearing.

“The goal is to fight this to the end,” she added.

The event, a dinner and dance, is scheduled for February 9. Visitors will enjoy dinner, a live band, silent auction, live auction and raffles. This isn’t the first time the CWRA has reached out to the community: the 15 CWRA committee members have had many fundraising efforts in the past five years.

“I think that the biggest thing is that we’ve put all these fundraising things into place. We’ve sold lawn signs, we’ve gone door to door canvassing, mailed out post cards asking people to contribute. This is sort of a way to ask people to contribute but make it fun. It was a way to bring the community together and enjoy an evening together being as we are all in this to fight a common cause.”

An ongoing process, the next step in the legal battle is an OMB pre-hearing scheduled for January 29. There, the parties will stake out their positions and plot a direction for the official hearing down the line.

The upcoming fundraising is another step in fighting the good fight, she said.

“Our goal is to have that money secured so that we can just move ahead.”

The gala will be held at Conestoga Country Club, located at 400 Golf Course Rd. in Conestogo. Check out the CWRA website for more information at www.conestogo-winterbourne.com.

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