Rockwood may see new skateboard park as early as June 2017

Rockwood may be getting a new skateboard park.

Director of parks and recreation Robin Milne presented a report to Guelph-Eramosa council on June 1 at Rockmosa Community Centre outlining the department’s intent to apply to the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program to help fund the construction of a skate park at Rockmosa Park in Rockwood. The application was due June 9 and council approved its submission.

It was announced on May 15 that the federal government would contribute $150 million nationally over two years to the new Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program. The program is part of government’s celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. Southern Ontario was allocated $44.4 million over the next two years.

“This program will support the rehabilitation, renovation and expansion of existing public infrastructure,” Milne said.

The cost sharing program means applications are eligible for up to 50 per cent of total funding; however, projects where the municipality can fund 66% or more of the costs will be favoured, as will projects that can be completed before June 30 2017 and have a smaller scope, Milne explained.

“So that the money can be shared amongst the different communities,” he added.

The skate park was chosen for the funding application because the 2013 Parks and Recreation Master Plan recommended it be constructed, Milne said.

“When we started looking at the acquisition of the additional 22 acres to the rear of [Rockmosa Park] the skateboard park has always been on the forefront of that addition as has been additional soccer fields, parking, a toboggan hill,” he explained.

“It’s something that we’ve talked about for a number of years and this is a source of funding that we’ll be able to make this a reality in this community.”

Petition supports skate park

The township has received a petition signed by 116 residents and 14 persuasive letters written by local youth in favour of a skate park.

Milne proposed applying for 33% funding to ensure the best chance of being accepted, making the total request to the federal government $116,000. To make up the remainder of the cost, the township could use $73,500 it has in a park and development reserve, he said, leaving $159,600 for the township to fund.

“It is proposed that the remaining funds be derived from a combination of reserves and community fundraising,” Milne said.

He also mentioned that numerous community members have approached him and said they will help fundraise for the project.

Milne said the last stipulation was that council acknowledge the project wouldn’t happen as quickly or at all without the Canada 150 funding.

It is projected the skate park will be completed in June 2017 and Milne said the construction should be quick.

“If you broke ground in April or May of 2017 it’s very reasonable that … by June 30 that facility could be completed,” Milne said.

It’s the youth engagement and workshops leading up to the construction commencement that will be most time consuming.

“I think it’s fantastic to see the federal government putting forward a grant that we can take opportunity of,” said councillor Mark Bouwmeester. “I talked to a lot of people last year during the election and development of this park … there was a ton of interest in that and this is certainly something that’s going to be … phase one of something that could really turn into something special when you look at the visioning for this particular area.”