Great skate debate surrounding skate park development

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DIDSBURY – There were a number of residents at the recent regular council meeting that were upset about the delay in the skate park project in Didsbury.

The skate park project, which would see a new skate park at the memorial complex grounds, would replace the existing one.

Discussion of the motion saw a couple of residents in the gallery speak up while councillors debated the issue. The residents were mainly upset about the amount of time the project is taking to complete.

Council did vote to award the contract for the skate park to New Line Skate Parks out of Calgary. A second motion was also carried to allocate $39,000 in 2017 for community consultation and design of the skate park project.

In the request for decision before council, administration stated that: By awarding this contract to New Line Skate Parks, the Town of Didsbury is committing to spend $39,000 in 2017 and to undertake consultation and design work along with committing that when the funds are allocated for construction that New Line holds that contract as well. The contract will be developed in a manner to ensure that no funds are committed prior to receiving council approval.

Prior to the discussion and vote, Nicole Aasen, manager of community services for Didsbury, spoke about the project and the two bids that the town received. She said that administration recommended the town go with New Line Skate Parks.

“We received two applications for it: one from New Line Skate Parks out of Calgary and one out of Canadian Ramp Company out of Ontario,” said Aasen to council. “The difference in price, New Line is $541,400 and the Canadian Ramp option came in at $450,000. Just to note these prices were based on an estimated size (just over 9,000 square feet).”

Aasen told council it was administration’s recommendation to go with New Line for a number of reasons.

“With them being in Calgary, they are much more accessible for community consultation, public meetings, presentations to council,” she said. “More importantly the company has a really comprehensive community engagement process that occurs as part of the project. They really work with our local users and our youth.”

Aasen said that New Line has built skate parks in Olds and Carstairs and their quality is very high and will stand the test of time.

The skate park project has been planned to be the first part of the memorial complex grounds outlying project, which will eventually include tennis courts, volleyball courts, adventure playgrounds, water features and more. The skate park was planned for this year but was bumped to 2018 due to the number of infrastructure plans in the works already such as

The original complete Didsbury Memorial Complex outlying grounds plans were approved in November of 2016 by council for the 10-year capital plan for 2015-24 at a price tag of just over $5 million.

Aasen told the Gazette that the actual size of the park will not be determined until the components and final design have been determined.

“The community engagement, fundraising/grant sourcing and design process can be lengthy,” said Aasen to the Gazette. “The reason for approval now is so that the Town of Didsbury, the Didsbury Sk8park Committee and New Line Skateparks has ample time to prepare prior to the actual construction of the park in Didsbury. Council will decide during their budget process as to when the phases of the plan will be implemented, based on their priorities and other projects for the Town of Didsbury.”

Aasen said the construction of the skate park will not take place until funding is secured and council has approved final design and given their approval for the project to proceed.

In other council news, Kevin Bentley of the library expansion committee made a presentation to council regarding the library expansion project. Bentley said that having a new building would be the best course of action. He also relayed that Avid Architecture said it would be best for the town to “stepback” and reflect on their options.

Mary Anne Overwater and Patricia McKean of the Mountain View Regional Waste Management Commission gave a presentation to council about the current activities of the commission and the proposed amendments to the membership agreement.

Council later carried a motion authorizing the Mountain View Regional Waste Management Commission (MVRWMC) to accept hydrocarbon contaminated soil.

A motion to table the agreement until the Sept. 26 meeting was defeated.

A motion to authorize MVRWMC to accept outside waste material up to 15,000 tonnes for a one year period was carried by a 4-3 vote.

Council carried a motion to close the main town office on Sept. 28 between 1:15 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. due to a employee pension (Local Authority Pension Plan) workshop.

Council approved a number of changes to the emergency management plan. CAO Harold Northcott has been named director of emergency management for the town, while Deron Reimer will be one of the deputy directors. Greg Skotheim remains as the other deputy director. The changes were necessary due to staffing changeover.

Council approved the town’s summer scholarship program. This year saw 11 students eligible: seven post-secondary and four high school. The students worked in a number of different departments: parks, summer fun and aquatics.

The total cost for 2017 student scholarships was $4,700.

Council passed a motion regarding filming guidelines for the town. The guidelines set up regulations for the filming of TV shows and movies in Didsbury.

Council approved the appointments of Dana Munn, Margo Ward, Greg Norris and Iain Paton to the Council Remuneration Committee.

Council carried a motion to accept the Intermunicipal Framework Agreement between the Town of Didsbury and Mountain View County. Also carried were sub agreements regarding the framework agreement involving agricultural inspection services, animal control services shared facility funding, fire services and FCSS (Family and Community Support Services).

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Craig Lindsay

Craig Lindsay is a reporter with the Mountain View Gazette who joined the newspaper in 2016. He covers news, sports and community events in Didsbury, Carstairs and Cremona. He is a photographer and columnist as well.