Jasper municipal councillors were grinding out the details on a potential new skatepark location and administration was trying to keep the conversation on the rails as comments bordered on the blunt side March 23.
At council’s most recent committee of the whole meeting the town’s director of operations, John Greathead, presented his findings after investigating the potential relocation of Jasper’s future skatepark. Greathead suggested that Centennial Park’s Diamond A, the location council directed administration consider in a previous meeting, fit the needs of the local skatepark committee as well as the park’s design/construction consultants, New Line Skateparks.
“This is the preferred site,” Greathead said. “We will work toward this location if council wishes.”
Councillor Bert Journault was initially perplexed with the drawings presented at the meeting. Administration’s concept included room for elements not included in the original design, such as spectator seating, and didn’t include assets Journault had expressed interest in seeing incorporated, such as surfaces for ball hockey.
“I don’t see this as maximizing use,” Journault said.
But Greathead assured council the renderings were only a “test fit” and that “everything is on the table.”
Councillor Scott Wilson suggested that if project leaders were going to meet their goal of having shovels in the ground by 2022, council ought to be allocating space for the skatepark in its 2021 budget. Council recently agreed to support the Skatepark Committee’s project with up to $300,000, subject to matching funds.
“If we’re sitting waiting for a successful grant [to allocate a budget], we’re most likely going to be waiting until next year,” Wilson said. “A 2022 build starts now with all of the stuff behind the scenes.”
Mayor Richard Ireland stressed that the next step should be community engagement.
“This is a significant piece of land in a very public space,” Ireland said. “I would much rather have this project welcomed before it arrives rather than accepted afterward.”
Council passed a motion to direct administration to return with a public engagement plan before June 1. Councillors Rico Damota (who suggested he wanted more clarity) and Paul Butler (who suggested administration already had sufficient direction to begin to engage the public) were opposed.
Bob Covey // email@example.com