Saugeen Shores wins Kraft Heinz Project Play competition

Saugeen Shores residents erupt after the results were announced for the Kraft Heinz Project Play on October 21, 2019. (Photo by Jordan MacKinnon)

Saugeen Shores took to the national stage on Monday night and came away as big winners.

The community was named the grand prize winner of Kraft Heinz Project Play, beating out finalists from British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Napean, Ontario, taking home $250,000 toward the construction of the Lamont Sports Park in Port Elgin.

Mayor Luke Charbonneau said seeing community come together through the nomination process and the marathon voting session over the weekend ranks as his proudest moment as mayor.

“It was the people of this community that made this happen, every single one of them, casting hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands of votes and just coming together,” said Charbonneau. “And that’s what we do in Saugeen Shores, we come together and make big things happen and that’s what we did here today.”

The focus of the Lamont Sports Park is alleviating the shortage of baseball diamonds in the community, but Charbonneau says the prize money will be used to make sure everyone can use the park.

“We have budgeted money to build the park, but that’s really for the hard infrastructure, building the diamonds and things like that, but now we’re going to have this great opportunity to build these incredible accessible features, access playgrounds, accessible trails, to make it a real showpiece park, not only for our community, but for this entire region,” said Charbonneau.

The final-four communities engaged in a weekend-long voting competition, and Charbonneau said he was confident Saugeen Shores would come out on top after hearing stories of people voting non-stop.

“I have had so many people in the last couple of days come up to me and say I voted 500 times, I voted a thousand times, yes, there was no doubt in my mind that this community of all communities, was going to make this happen,” said Charbonneau. “I didn’t doubt it for a second.”

It’s the second time the Project Play grand prize has been won in Midwestern Ontario, after Goderich won in 2017.