Cumberland skatepark closer to reality

The dream of creating a skatepark in Cumberland Village Park took another step toward reality Monday.

The dream of creating a skatepark in Cumberland Village Park took another step toward reality Monday.

Cumberland council eagerly gave the go-ahead to enter a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement with the Cumberland Community Schools Society (CCSS).

Village parks and outdoor recreation co-ordinator Kevin McPhedran told council the MOU sees the Village taking the lead role on the project, given the skatepark will be a Village-owned asset.

“That being said, the (Skatepark) Committee’s role will be very prominent in the beginning and the design stages, when fundraising is required, as well as input to make sure the skatepark meets the criteria of the users that will end up taking advantage of it,” continued McPhedran.

According to McPhedran’s report, the Skatepark Committee will offer guidance on designs to ensure the skatepark suits skateboarders, BMX riders, non-motorized scooter users, and the community in general.

Council also voted in favour of a couple of the Skatepark Committee’s requests: Fees for Village-owned facilities will be waived when the Skatepark Committee hosts fundraising events, and a ‘Future home of Cumberland Skateboard Park’ sign will be allowed at Village Park to bolster fundraising efforts. McPhedran noted a fundraising thermometer could be installed at Village Park, also to help boost fundraising.

The Skatepark Committee also requested a temporary skatepark be constructed at the existing basketball court.

But, council wished to see some more information about a temporary skatepark before making any decision about that request.

Coun. Roger Kishi questioned whether a temporary skatepark could be incorporated into the permanent park or whether it would be an added cost.

McPhedran said there’s no single answer.

“It could become some of the components in a new skatepark,” he said, noting there are plenty of options, such as buying a used facility and auctioning it off when fundraising for the permanent project is nearly complete.

Kishi noted he thought council as a whole wanted to see the project move quickly — maybe finishing as early as the end of next year — as he questioned the need for a temporary skatepark.

But, McPhedran said construction timelines are “very uncertain” due to the funding requirements of the project.

“I think the longer the process to gather the funds, do a design and start construction, the more need, the more interest there would be in a temporary facility,” said McPhedran, adding once funding applications get underway it will be easier to say how long the project will take. “Then, I think we’ll have a better opportunity to evaluate a temporary skatepark.”

According to McPhedran’s report, the skatepark could cost $240,000, which is a rough estimate. However, because of associated changes to the existing horseshoe, basketball and tennis facilities — where the skatepark would sit in the future — the entire project is estimated to cost more than $480,000.

So far, about $170,000 has been set aside for the project; $150,000 from the Village’s Host Community Agreement and about $20,000 from past donations.

The Village Park Master Plan identifies installation of a skatepark as a high priority.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

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