Revelstoke city councillors agreed to continue supporting the efforts of the Columbia Valley Skateboard Park in its efforts to create a skateboard park at Kovach Park and have made it clear they want the project to move forward. They are asking staff to look into funding options to reduce the estimated $68,100 cost to hire a project manager.
A recent letter from the CVSA indicated an unexpected City of Revelstoke engineering fee has reduced the budget for the skate park project by about 10%. The letter from the CVSA also requested council approve a $100,000 request for funds through the Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation to maintain the current plan for a 16,000-square-foot park.
In a letter to council Chris Payne, vice president of the CVSA said the group is working on a redesign of the park but with the hit to the budget would need to be reduced unless council takes action. Plans for the park had previously been reduced from 20,000 square feet to the current 16,000-square-foot plan.
A previous story posted by the Mountaineer about this garnered many comments on social media. In response to some of the comments, CVSA president Karl Jost said there is a need to avoid acting out of anger.
“I will say to all, let’s not act in anger but work to show when using a design/build firm things like overages are not an issue. There is a lot of support coming from the city for this project and it has been a long road leading to next year’s build. Some members of council have shown tremendous support. The city needs to cover their bases so they are not liable for additional costs on the taxpayers dollar and so must play it safe.”
Councillor Linda Nixon suggested that the request for funding from the CVSA go beyond the group’s request for funding through the RCFS. She noted it was important for the city to help the CVSA maintain the goal it has worked towards for a number of years.
“I think this is the final time for council to say, ‘this group needs a push for help’”, said Nixon. “I know (city) staff have worked hard to find funding from other groups.”
Councillor Trevor English was among other councillors to agree the skate park project needs continued support to move forward.
“Let’s look for a way to get this done,” he said.
Matt Rebelo, CVSA treasurer was present at the council meeting on Tuesday along with Payne. Rebelo said he was pleased with the positive outcome of the meeting.
“I thought it was positive. [Councillor] Linda Nixon, who has been amazing to us, gave a good speech and I thought it covered most points we would have addressed would we have been allowed to speak,” said Rebelo.
Council members were discussing the letter the CVSA had sent to council. This procedure does not allow for comments from the letter writer or the public at the meeting. Rebelo stated the goal of the CVSA was finding a positive solution to the surprise fee brought up by council. He also noted that while the public is only aware of this now, the fee came up in June.
“Over the summer, both parties had gotten busy with work,” he said, “The fee came as a surprise but that came in June. We were told the city was working on other funding options to cover the cost. It’s September and none of that has been confirmed.”
Neither the city or the CVSA were able to confirm if a lack of communication was the issue when it came to the unexpected engineering costs. Rebelo said for the CVSA it was more of a lack of answers, rather than a lack of communication.
“At this point, we’re on a really limited timeline for the project. The contractor (New Line Skateparks) is wondering if they are going to get the $68,000 back to create our park. Without it they can’t properly design our park,” he said.
Rebelo said it was always the understanding that the full $850,000 would go towards the creation of the skatepark. With the possible $68,000 this could reduce things but Rebelo said the skate park is still moving forward.
“I don’t see an issue moving forward,” he said.
When asked about a potential error in communications error, Mayor Mark McKee was not able to give a concrete answer but instead said the city needs to cover its bases against liability on large projects such as the skate park. He did, however, seem hopeful that both groups could continue to work together.
“The city needs to cover their bases so they are not liable for additional costs on the taxpayers dollar and so must play it safe. However, through some communication (with the CVSA) we can hopefully reduce this cost or show their is little need for it. We will continue to work hard to build the best park we can that this community and its residents deserve.”