Keep on Pushin’ to wind down with AGM on May 22

Sounder News

Wednesday, April 24 2019

Just over a year ago, the Gabriola Skatepark Fundraising Association began the Keep on Pushin’ campaign, with the goal of raising $72,000 by the end of April, 2019. As of press time, there had been just over $60,000 raised. Another $5,000 is hoped to be raised through the Nesters Community Card by the end of 2019. And the GoFundMe is still online.
But for now, other fundraising activities will be put on hold.
While the financial goal of $72,000 has not been reached, the GSFA Board feels that at least until the results of applications for provincial and federal grants by the Regional District of Nanaimo have been announced, further efforts this spring and summer should be put on hold.
When GSFA was formed in March 2018, two targets were set. A financial one: to raise 20% of the monies needed to build the skatepark. And a date to end Keep on Pushin Campaign (April 2019). The goal of raising 20% was shifted when the two grants became available sooner for RDN to apply for.
Originally, the RDN staff had said applications for provincial and federal grants would become available in the late summer of 2019.
In fact, the grant application opened sooner (Nov 2018) with the application deadline being Jan. 2019.
RDN staff have submitted applications accounting for $52,000 raised by the Keep on Pushin Campaign.
RDN staff believe the results of the grant applications will be released in August 2019. If the grants are received, GSFA will not need to raise the full 20% of community funds for the skatepark.
If the grants are unsuccessful GSFA will still need to raise the full $72,000.
RDN staff have cautioned the GSFA board, saying previous grants like the ones applied for can sometimes take multiple applications before projects are successful.
Similar grants were received for the Cedar Skatepark, but only in the second year that the RDN applied for them. Should the RDN not get the grants this fall, it will mean the RDN will have to delay construction on the skatepark by a year.
The GSFA Board has committed to bringing a campaign together to work with the RDN on preparing for the next round of applications and if needed, further fundraising.
Dave Reid, President of the GSFA said, “We feel that waiting to hear whether RDN grant applications are successful before attempting to raise the full 20% is a good plan. We know this has been a long year of community fundraising for the skatepark and we don’t want to overburden our community if we don’t need to.
“The community has responded with so much support by helping us raise $60,000 and change. If we don’t need to raise the full 20% because the grant is successful, then we shouldn’t ask for more money from Gabriola. So GSFA is on a holding pattern and will wait to hear about the grant applications. If it is not successful, we amp up the campaign to fully reach the $72,000.”
What should be noted is the GSFA was always raising monies to build the skatepark at Huxley.
But because of the nature of the grants, the RDN has applied to fully complete the redevelopment of Huxley Park - not just the skatepark.
This means that for two years, the RDN will have on it’s budget approximately $63,000 to come out of the general tax revenue for Huxley Park - a decision made as part of the public budget process in February 2019.
Derek Kilbourn, Treasurer for the GSFA said, “for now, the decision our group faces is to continue fundraising, which could take the burden off the taxpayer. But that might be taking monies away from other important Gabriola organizations who are working on projects - organizations which have neither grant monies nor tax dollars.
“If those grants come through, the RDN will have the funding necessary to do everything it has planned in Huxley Park.
“But the only reason those grants will come through is because of the exceptional and amazing support the campaign received in raising $60,000 in just one year.”
Kilbourn said, “We thought we were raising monies so the RDN could apply for grants in August 2019. Because of Gabriolans’ generosity and willingness to step up, we were ready with $52,000 when the goalposts were shifted nine months ahead of schedule.
“All so that people of all ages can enjoy a skatepark and fully redeveloped Huxley Park in the heart of the Village.”
If anyone has any questions, concerns, or just wants to celebrate where the campaign has gotten so far, all are welcome to attend an Annual General Meeting of the Gabriola Skatepark Fundraising Association. In Huxley Community Park on Wednesday, May 22. 6:30pm, in the middle of the Sport Court (weather permitting). Bring a chair. And if possible, a skateboard.
All ages welcome.