Report recommends skatepark facility be located at Elora community centre

After a lengthy study of four potential locations, Centre Wellington councillors have agreed to locate a proposed BMX/skateboard park where proponents originally wanted it.

Council decided on Feb. 21  to locate the facility on the grounds of the Elora and District Community Centre.

A report prepared by managing director of community services Brian Detzler recommended the Elora location.

Interest in the development of a skatepark facility in Centre Wellington continues to grow, stated Detzler, who noted Staci Baron and Skate Elora led the charge  for the project.

In April 2014 council received an initial information report on the project. In May 2016, council retained Stempski Kelly Associates Inc. to undertake a public process to look at site options in Elora for the BMX/skateboard park, which was identified as a priority within the township’s parks and recreation master plan.

Detzler explained four sites were reviewed: the Elora Lions Park, Elora community centre, Bissell Park and Southridge Park. He noted township officials visited each site and offered public consultation before choosing the Elora community centre.

Councillor Stephen Kitras asked what impact the skatepark will have on the ball diamond at the community centre.

Detzler emphasized the study identifies just the site for a skatepark, not the location within that site.

“Presently in early discussions, we are looking at an asphalt pad where there were basketball hoops in the past,” said Detzler. He added the overall scope of the project will be based on fundraising by the local group.

Detzler said, “We are not looking to impact any of the ball diamonds at the site.”

Councillor Mary Lloyd said she is concerned about actual interest in the project, noting there was “a very small turnout” at an open house regarding the site selection.

“While we have identified $150,000 for this project, I still question whether this a project required in our community,” Lloyd said, wondering if it would be better to have a walking track for seniors.

Mayor Kelly Linton stated fundraising efforts will determine the true interest in the project.

“If there is $250,000 raised in the community for this, then it would suggest grassroots support and the township’s $150,000 would then kick in,” said Linton.

Councillor Don Fisher said there are a number of items yet to be determined, including whether local fundraisers “reach their target.”

Because of that, Fisher said, “At this point, this in no way shape or form decides whether this moves ahead.”

Detzler said the guideline approved by council states the community is to cover a minimum of 51% of the funds, but, “If a group wants to be more aggressive and raise more, we are not discouraging them.” He suggested the estimated total budget was one presented by proponents and not by staff.

Council supported pursuing the idea of locating a skatepark at the Elora community centre.

According to the CW Skatepark Association Facebook page, proponents were thrilled with council’s decision. They are inviting residents to visit to dontate. For more information or assistance, those interested can call Staci Barron at 519-846-0586.