District of Summerland council was unanimous in their support of putting forward the skateboard project for a Canada 150 grant.
This is the second round for the community infrastructure grant program and Summerland’s second try to get a project approved for a grant.
“We have made on application for upgrades to the arena, which was not successful,” said Linda Tynan, chief administrative officer.
That project, which would have seen upgrades to the arena dehumidifier, curling club lighting and other more, was also brought forward as an alternate consideration, as were upgrades to Peach Orchard Park and Campground.
But Tynan said that district staff had held a number of management meetings to determine which project best met the Canada 150 program criteria. In celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary next year, the program is looking for applications that celebrate community spirt and leave a lasting legacy.
Coun. Doug Holmes suggested that is why they arena/curling club upgrades were turned down and the skatepark would be a better choice.
“It is a high visibility project, which I guess is something they are looking for. Where we didn’t get it right last time, as important as a dehumidifier and lighting are the federal government might not see them as a great Canada 150 legacy project,” said Holmes. “I think this would have better chance. It is something the community has been waiting for.”
The Canada 150 grants only cover up to half the cost of the project. Tynan said Summerland would be applying for a grant of $225,000, and with $137,000 already raised for the project (including $125,000 from Penny Lane), the municipality would only have to guarantee $88,000.
“It sounds to me like it is a lot more doable with that component,” said Mayor Peter Waterman, who was also pleased by Tynan’s assertion that “by next summer we could have the skatepark ready and done well.”
“The youth think in terms of six months and a year; it gets stretched out and they start wondering is it ever going to get done in my lifetime,” said Waterman.
Tynan said the city could continue to raise money to lower the amount the city would have to invest, but the application required that the money be committed so the project was sure to go ahead.
“The key on these grants is that they want to see that the proposal is going to occur. There are many times with grant applications that submissions are made but municipalities don’t collect the funds, because they haven’t thought it out,” said Tynan.
Deadline for the grant application is June 22, but Tynan said staff have already been compiling information for the “lengthy application form” in hopes that council would see fit to support the skatepark proposal.