A $26,000 grant sounds like a big boost for the Trail skate park. At the end of the day, however, the money only bumps the project’s fundraising dollars ahead by $6,000.
According to Scott Daniels, from the skate park society, two $10,000 Columbia Basin Trust grants from 2012 and 2013 have expired, so $20,000 from the trust’s 2015 Community Initiatives and Affected Areas (ICP/AAP) program accounts for that loss.
“So this is a net gain of $6,000 for the project,” he explained. “We were asked by the city to fundraise and we did. But we cannot spend it (grant money), and that’s the way it is.
“What we need is decisiveness from the City of Trail so we are not in this position again.”
Daniels said with the city planning another statistical survey, his hope is the results will give Trail council some drive to clarify the priority and resources it is willing to assign to the project.
“They are looking for a more comprehensive survey specifically on the skate park,” he explained, referring to Trail’s 2013 master recreation plan that identified the community’s desire for such a facility in its overview. “That’s my speculation. But my hope is they are doing this, conceivably, having to dig deeper in the taxpayers’ coffers to fund the skate park.”
He maintains that youth aren’t asked to raise money for ball parks or any other recreational venue so the expectation to raise $275,000 is out in left field. Since 2012, including the $6,000 grant, the society has raised about $70,000 toward the $550,000 capital cost.
“In order to make sure we don’t have to live with expired grants again, it is my hope this survey will provide the justification the city needs to make the skate park a higher priority,” said Daniels.
He referred to the recent news that skateboarders in Ymir will have a new $25,000 skate park this summer.
“My concern is that people will look at that and ask why Trail’s plan has to be so ambitious,” he explained. “First of all, it sounds like the community raised the funds and people volunteered the labour.
“And I read Hans Cunningham (Area G director) quote that nowadays you need a skate park as much as you need a ball diamond. I can add to that, because I don’t remember kids ever being asked to raise money for a ball park.”
Taking into account that Ymir has 231 residents compared to Trail’s 7,000 residents, he said the city’s skate park per capita works out to less than Ymir’s per capita.
“If people are thinking, ‘Why are we planning on spending so much?’ “The answer is we are not,” he added. “We are spending well in proportion, even conservatively, on a per capita basis compared to Ymir and maybe even Nelson.”
Through the CBT Community Initiatives program, the City of Trail allotted $25,000 to the Society for Friends of the Trail Sk8 Park, and the Village of Warfield $1,000. Between the seven Lower Columbia communities, over $370,000 is disbursed annually through the CIP/AAP program.
As with the skate park, grants are not always spent due to project delays and other factors. However, that money is then re-allocated to the community.
“Each year, the trust approves carryover amounts which remain allocated to the specific community for future use,” confirmed Rachel Lucas, CBT’s communications manager.
“However, how money is disbursed, how long it remains with a particular project, when it needs to be returned, etc…all of this is managed by the community delivery partner (regional district).”