Students from South Queens Junior High School packed the council chambers on Nov. 19, supporting the Queens County Skatepark Association.
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Ian Kent and David Gunn, members of the association, pitching the park to councillors that day, in the hopes of getting support for their bid to build a skate park.
The proposal is to put in a 15,000 square foot park, at a cost of around $750,000.
For funding, the association is looking at several sources, including municipal, provincial, federal, and raising money from the community. Corporate sponsorship would also be used if it is available.
The association is looking for about 40 per cent of the total to come from the Region. However Kent presented options for the council to consider.
"It doesn't need to come in the form of a check. It can come from planning, resources and preparation," he said.
It would take about $225,000 to get the site prepared. Site preparation, however, is something the Region is well versed in with its construction projects. He said they have both the equipment and the manpower to do that part of the build already.
Another part could come from donating the land. Next to Queens Place Emera Centre seems most plausible to put the skate park, they said. Based cost on assessment costs of land around Queens Place that would amount to about $22,490 in an in kind donation.
The waterfront was also an option the association looked at, but the property in question, where the former Legion stood, is on the market for $300,000.
"We see those as viable options, but if you have appropriate alternative suggestions we would look at it as a committee," said Kent.
A skatepark's appeal would go beyond just the borders of Queens County, said Gunn. If built right, there is the potential to bring in events and tourists from outside the area to use the park.
This isn't a project the association would like done in a few years either. They asked the Region of Queens for an answer on support within 30 to 60 days. The reason is once they have support they can target the fiscal years of governments, to maximize their chances of getting the build funded. If support and funding are lined up quickly enough, the total build time would be about six months. This could mean a skatepark could be a reality by late next summer.
The association addressed some of the myths about the sport that are out there, including high insurance (actually around $1,000 to $3,000 a year, about the same as a baseball diamond), injury rate (lower than that of golf and fishing), and that it is a fad (it is one of the fastest growing sports in Canada).
Gunn added over his eight years in the emergency room he has only seen three or four injuries related to skateboarding.
Maintenance for the structure is inexpensive as well, at under $1,000 a year.
Several small communities in Nova Scotia already have skateparks, such as Chester, Annapolis Royal, New Minas, Berwick, Yarmouth and Fall River.
The association is looking at raising around $115,000. Though it seems like a lot, they believe it is a doable goal even with the other fundraising initiatives that have happened in Queens County over the past few years.
Without Region support in some form, however, the association would not be able to move forward with their plans, said Kent.
Councillors expressed their support for the project, though some were leery about the total cost of the project. Mayor Christopher Clarke promised the association an answer by the end of January.