SPUR in the Bull Pen Funding Winners

Sustainability funding took on an interesting twist November 19 with the first SPUR Bull Pen.  Modeled after CBC’s The Dragon’s Den, SPUR’s Bull Pen saw local community groups, businesses and individuals competing for $15,000 in sustainability funding.

The competition gave Cochrane residents an opportunity to present their sustainability ideas for evaluation by a team of judges and audience members.  The event was open to any local groups or individuals with a unique and practical idea for achieving the vision of the Cochrane Sustainability Plan.

Presenters for the first SPUR Bull Pen were:

  • Natalie Pepin, Sustainability Planning Program for Cochrane Businesses
  • Barry Thorson (Lone Wolf Theatre Company/LiveStories Programme), The LiveStories Sustainability Champions Project
  • Ron Nieman (GlenEagles Community Association), Water conservation system for Green Space Irrigation
  • Eric Howey (Cochrane Youth Association), Creation of Youth Camera Club
  • Sharon MacDonald (Cochrane Environmental Action Committee, Wetland Subcommittee), Robinson Wetland Restoration and Documentary
  • Daniel Westby (Arts and Cultural Foundation of Cochrane), “Legal Wall” for graffiti and street art
  • Jeff Couillard, Waste vegetable oil (WVO) conversion to diesel substitute

The final funding decisions were made by a panel of judges including:

  • Don Hepner, president of the Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation
  • Mark Paffrath, President, Tremar Computer Solutions
  • Terry Norman, General Manager, OnGrowing Works Design and Construction Company
  • Jack Tennant, Publisher, The Cochrane Eagle

The judges evaluated each of the sustainability pitches based on the following criteria:

  • The quality and creativity of the idea
  • The feasibility and potential of the initiative
  • Community impact
  • The creativity and persuasiveness of the presentation
  • The requested funding amount

In addition, each audience member at the Bull Pen was given three ballots they could use to vote for their favorite pitches.  The judges factored in audience voting when making their final decisions.

When all the presentations were complete, the judges and an enthusiastic crowd of 50 audience members selected the following as winners of the first SPUR Bull Pen:

  • Nadine Pepin – funding for sustainability planning program for Cochrane businesses.  Amount:  $6,000
  • Daniel Westby (Arts and Cultural Foundation of Cochrane) – funding for a “legal wall” for graffiti and street art .  Amount:  $4,500
  • Cochrane Environmental Action Committee Wetlands Subcommittee – funding for their wetlands restoration documentary.  Amount:  $2,500
  • Jeff Couillard — Waste vegetable oil truck centrifugal pump.  Amount: $2,000

“The first SPUR Bull Pen was a tremendous success, and something we hope to do again in the future,” says Valerie McCracken, Co-Chair of SPUR.  “The sustainability pitches were creative, clever and practical, and will go a long way to achieving the targets in the Cochrane Sustainability Plan.”