Thinking Outside the Box

Renee Reimer Horner, as the Mayor of Aberdeen, spearheaded a unique fundraising effort through building and selling a house.  He shared this story with us.

The Aberdeen Town Council had a joint meeting with the RM of Aberdeen Council in regards to the state of affairs of the rink. Our rink, valued at $12 million dollars with just over 2 million owing, has had a huge effect on our town economically. 25% of our tax base goes to supporting it and the positive economics associated with bringing many people into our community for sports, dance, etc. This also benefits our other businesses.

This rink was originally built by volunteers, for a small community this was unbelievable. This is our epicentre where people hang out and socialize have huge tournaments and camps, it is one of the main things Aberdeen is known for.  The huge maintenance of the rink’s geo thermal system has been astronomical in price. The Town and RM match each other in this and all payments to the rink. Our joint councils want to see the rink paid off.

The RM council has many farmers on it and they came up with a crop fundraiser that allowed them to get seed, chemical, equipment and labour to harvest their crops that they plant. The proceeds of this project go to the rink. I am a builder and own Solid Core Homes and as the Mayor of Aberdeen, I wanted to do something large to contribute - but that would not be farming. So I came up with the idea of building a house to sell on MLS and the profit would go to the rink. The Town of Aberdeen donated the lot and the RM had a donation in kind to match the lot value. I decided I would donate my staff’s labour to the project and talked to many of my sub trades and they immediately said they would do the same.

I was overwhelmed by the support and brought the idea forward to our council and RM council with 100 percent support!

There were no negatives that we could come up with. We had a meeting with Affinity Credit Union who agreed to lend us $150,000 for project materials. The labour was donated by volunteers, companies and individuals. We held a public meeting due to the financial distress the rink was in - this was a do or die situation. I had about 80 volunteers. Volunteers are coming from surrounding areas as well as Aberdeen. As I en­tered each stage, I would call for volunteers and then proceed to the next stage. We have received calls from companies from Saskatoon wanting to donate product as well. The sup­port has been overwhelming but this is what Saskatchewan people are about!

Renee Reimer Horner

Mayor of Aberdeen


This article was previously published in the Fall 2017 issue of DIRECTION magazine.