The annual Citizens on Patrol Program in Portage (COPP) barbecue fundraiser is happening next week. They're raising money for a massive wheelchair-accessible swing that will be placed on the island.

COPP statistician, provincial trainer, media liaison Rose says it takes place on Thursday at the River Road Co-op gas bar's parking lot.

"We have to thank Co-op very much because they have just been awesome as far as supporting us," says Rose. "This barbecue will happen from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. or until we run out of food."

She notes this project is quite important and very expensive.

"It's probably going to take a couple of years for them to raise that money," notes Rose. "We want everybody to be aware that this is something that can be a possibility. It's going to be, as far as we know right now, about $50,000. It costs about $46,000 to set it up. So, it's a lot of money. Probably by the time they get around to finishing this, it'll be $100,000 quite easily. They're just nicely starting to get off the ground. And if anybody wants to make a donation, they can just go to City Hall and tell them that they want to make a donation for the accessible wheelchair sewing project."

Rose and Paul PeddleRose, Peddle

She says any given wheelchair can be rolled onto a platform. 

"On the opposite side, is the bench that the caregiver, parent, or whoever can swing with them," adds Rose. "This can be for children or adults, so it's going to be very versatile."

The wheelchair is locked onto the platform. 

RCMP Inspector Paul Peddle is in charge of Central Plains and says they're looking forward to the barbecue. 

"It's the very least we can do for the COPP group," says Peddle. "Rose and her team have been very helpful to us as an organization with the RCMP. So, for us to give back a few hours to a very good cause, is something we're definitely looking forward to. The plan is to have some of our members there in uniform helping out to hand out the hot dogs. And we asked the public to come and contribute to a very great cause in the community."

Peddle explains the local COPP is an organization like he's never seen before. 

"Every chance I get, I sing their praises because our members are extremely busy here. Just having that added confidence, knowing that the COPP group is out there on the road doing patrols and reporting back to us with issues that they see in the community, is just a tremendous supplement to our resources. I can't thank them enough for what they do in our community."

The barbecue offers a hot dog, bag of chips, and bottle of water for $5.

"You can also get an extra hot dog for $2.00. I'd like to also mention that we will be celebrating the RCMP 150th anniversary at this barbecue, as well as other things we have planned over the summer," adds Rose

Pointing ahead, she says they'll also be holding an appreciation barbecue for the RCMP members, staff, and city council in July, followed by their September 7th COPP/RCMP golf tournament.

"We were able to gain a lot of new members because of our interviews with CFRY, and we're very, very appreciative of that," adds Rose. "We gained nine new members. We have seven of them already trained and they're already out on the road. So, it's just great. And they're really super-duper new members. I think they're going to be a huge asset."

Rose says they could always use more, but they now have a good number of 30 volunteers to help patrol Portage.