Skate park project a no go this year

CAO says funding the project would be difficult with the Trail’s financial rec challenges

When was the last time a volunteer group was asked to raise 50 per cent of the costs for a children’s park in Trail?

That’s the question skate park enthusiasts are asking.

Park fundraiser Scott Daniels is shaking his head and questioning how to roll forward with the long awaited but nowhere in sight all-wheel Silver City skate park, following a recent decision by Trail council.

Two years ago, council committed to fund 50 per cent of the $550,000 skate park capital project once the skate park fundraising committee reached its $275,000 goal.

To date, the committee has raised in excess of $61,000 in cash commitments from the community, but in these less than stellar economic times, a more realistic goal is needed to push the project forward, according Daniels.

He approached the city in December with a request to reduce the committee’s goal to a more achievable $100,000, and after a three month wait, was disappointed to learn that Trail council turned down that appeal earlier this month.

“We were very disappointed to receive notice that the skate park is not included in the 2014 budget,” said Daniels. “The committee needs a realistic and achievable goal.”

Given the extensive list of capital projects planned this year, the absence of the committee’s portion of funding meant the inclusion of the project would result in the deferral of another priority project.

“Given that the park would not be constructed this year, allocating funding to this project is not the preferred approach,” explained David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer. “As noted, council did not agree to reduce the funding goal given that the project will not proceed in 2014.”

The city will consider revisiting the skate park plan for 2015 but with Trail’s overall financial challenges with respect to recreation, funding the major project would be difficult, the CAO added.

The skate park project gained momentum last fall after the Trail Parks and Recreation Master Plan recommended the initiative as a priority for youth in Trail, citing a near 50 per cent response rate to 1,000 mail-out surveys, with 23 respondents and six agencies providing written and verbal comments in support of prioritizing the skate park project.

Since that time, regional recreation cost sharing with neighbouring communities has collapsed, leaving the city with a $300,000 budgetary shortfall.

“Ultimately the loss of funding from the Beaver Valley and Warfield does impact the city’s capacity,” said Perehudoff. “Council will need to grapple with the construction of what would most likely be a regionally used facility without any sort of funding assistance.”

Daniels conceded that the current political situation is a “financial quagmire,” affecting present and future recreational opportunities in Greater Trail.

“Although the committee has had regular monthly meetings for more than two years now,” he continued, “they will be meeting again this weekend to discuss a path forward.”