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Didsbury council commits to 2021 skatepark construction

Funds raised nearly reach estimated cost

DIDSBURY – Construction of the proposed skatepark is going ahead next year despite not all the estimated needed funds being secured at this time.

Council approved the move during its Sept. 8 meeting.

Skatepark contractor New Line Skateparks requested formal notice from the Town of Didsbury of its intention to proceed with the project in order to guarantee a construction slot in 2021.

As of Sept. 8, $315,394.62 or 90 per cent of the $350,000 total estimated project cost had been raised.

Coun. Bill Windsor raised concerns about confirming construction without having the full amount fundraised.

If the community was unable to raise the additional $34,606, he said council would be on the hook to fund it and he wanted to know where the money would come from.

“Or is the project going to be downscaled to meet the funds that are available? I think council deserves to know exactly where those funds are going to come from if that shortfall isn’t taken up by other means,” he said during the meeting.

Ethan Gorner, the town’s chief administrative officer, said it would be similar to any other capital project that’s approved with a plan and the plan goes sideways --  it would be brought back for council discussion.

There are also several grants that may come in, said Nicole Aasen, the town’s manager of community services, as well as a $5,200 surplus from the contract with a fundraising consultant hired to help fundraise for the project.

“We have two outstanding grant applications that we’re waiting on a decision for that we were invited to apply for. One is with Telus, the other is with EQUS. And they total $10,000. So we’re hopeful we’ll be successful with both of those because they did reach out to us to make an application for them,” Aasen said.

Between those three funding sources, Aasen said there was about $15,000 that has not been added to the total fundraising effort that possibly could be.

Before voting on a motion committing to New Line Skateparks’ Round Two 2021 construction period, mayor Rhonda Hunter conveyed her optimism.

“I certainly believe in this community and it will happen. It’s true of everything – good things come. I’ll just leave it at that.  I’m comfortable voting for this," the mayor said.

The motion carried and will be included in a letter to New Line Skateparks.

Construction on the skatepark is now expected to occur mid-June 2021 for a 12 to 16-week period.

Construction and travel delays delays due to COVID-19 has resulted in New Line Skateparks’ Round One construction period in 2021 being filled with carry-over projects from 2020, which has delayed Didsbury’s build.