Trail council rolls skate park question back to citizens

City opts for random telephone survey

Not all Trail councillors agree that another survey is warranted before making a skate park decision.

“I say if this existing council doesn’t want to build it then I think they should tell the citizens that they don’t intend to do it, period,” said Coun. Robert Cacchioni, following the Monday night meeting. “Make a decision and take the heat if you don’t do it.”

The four-term Trail official was referring to council’s decision, made during the afternoon governance meeting, to proceed with a $14,000  “All Wheel Park” community survey.

The vote was split 5-2 in favour, with Cacchioni and Coun. Carol Dobie opposing the motion.

“We are going to spend on yet another study,” he continued.

“We’ve already dealt with it four or five times and my position prior to this was to build the park in stages. We’ve been told we can’t, but I don’t believe that to be true. I would have put in a certain amount of money this year and a certain amount of money next year then built the whole park.”

He said if the matter remains low in priority compared to other capital projects, like the walking bridge this year and the Riverfront Centre next year, then by 2017, another election cycle will be nearing.

“It’s already been 10 years,” Cacchioni added. “I don’t support this, and I’d be ready to make a decision.”

The city’s first statistical survey adds to past skate park endeavours that include geotechnical surveys dating back 13 years, a site selection survey and local business survey in 2010, two public workshops in 2011, and inclusion of a skate park in last year’s $80,000 Trail Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

According to a March strategic priority session, Trail council’s intent is to gain more insight into the project, such as what residents are willing to pay for the park, location and other issues associated with development of an all-wheel park, explained David Perehudoff, Trail chief administrative officer.

“And how people envision the park, to make sure that if council does fund the project either next year, or in subsequent years, that we are actually building a park that meets the needs of the community,” he said.

“And people are comfortable with it in terms of any associated property taxes that may come with that.”

GDH Solutions & Discovery Research was awarded the $13,612 contract, with a directive to gather

statistical information through random telephone surveys of 250 to 350 Trail residents.

“My concern is that we’ll end up having a situation where (survey respondents) want to move it to a different location or they don’t want it. Who knows what the survey will show,” questioned Cacchioni.

“On the other hand, if you are not targeting particular groups like youth, I don’t know how statistically accurate the survey will be. I’d sooner council make a vote and say this is the situation.”

Prior to the market research survey, the company will purchase a cell phone directory list because a lot of people have gone from land lines to cell phones, explained Perehudoff.

“We’ll have a comprehensive data base of all the phones within Trail proper,” he said. “It will be a pure random selection of telephone numbers, so chances are you are going to get a broad cross section of your population. The randomness associated with the selection of numbers will guarantee a comprehensive approach and you won’t be necessarily trying to identify specific group through doing that. It’s a total random survey that would represent the community on a statistically valid basis.”

Coun. Sandy Santori, governance chair, questioned if council was prepared to make decisions based on the survey’s information, such as the preferred location moving to Gyro Park, and not the current Rossland Avenue designation.

“We will have to have the fortitude to say, it’s going to be at Gyro Park, if that’s what people think, and we have all our ducks in a row,” he said. “But, is council prepared to make that decision?”

Perehudoff said, keeping with council’s direction, that is the intention of the survey.

“My understanding of our discussions through strategic planning is to make sure the city constructs a park that meets the needs of the community in every way, shape and form.”