Skatepark advocates waiting on government grants

Keep on Pushin’

Press Release

Wednesday, September 25 2019

The Keep on Pushin’ team, and the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN), continue to wait with baited breath on whether the RDN’s application for joint federal/provincial grants will be approved.

Derek Kilbourn, KOP Treasurer, said, “We’re waiting. Holding our breath. We know Gabriola wants this. We know people who moved here last year want this, we know people who donated to this want this, we know people who donated and were living here 25 years ago want this.

“We know everyone is wanting this to happen. After so much work, we really want to see ground broken at Huxley Park.”

Without those government grants though, it will continue to be on hold.

Last year, through the generous donations of the Gabriola community, RideFree, the Gabriola Lions, and many other organizations, Keep on Pushin’ hit $62,000.

Earlier this year, with the RDN applying for the grants, the KOP Board made the decision to put any further local fundraising efforts on hold - with the exception of the Community Card at Nesters Market, which will run to the end of the year.

The board discussion came to the point that if the grants come through, any further fundraising this year will mean taking away local funding from other local organizations and causes on Gabriola which might not get grants.

To construct the skatepark will cost approximately $560,000 (including contingency and inflation costs).

The total budget for completion of Huxley Park is $773,700. This includes the skatepark, the parking lot, and any other improvements the RDN has not yet completed in the Park.

The RDN has budgeted $55,000 to come out of the Area B Community Parks Budget Reserves.

It has budgeted $121,346 to come out of the Area B Community Parks Budget Operation Funds, split over two years.

To obtain the balance required to complete all of Huxley Park, in January of 2019 the RDN applied for two different grants in the hope it would receive one of those grants.

The first was the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) Community, Culture and Recreation Program (CCR). 

The second grant applied for was the Rural and Northern Communities Program (RNC). 

The CCR fund will provide up to 73.33 per cent of funding for approved projects (so up to $567,354 on the $773,115 amount), and the RNC - if approved - would fund up to 100 per cent for communities with less than 5000 people.

Earlier this year, RDN staff had advised that they were hopeful the decision on the grants would be made prior to the 2019 federal election.

Clearly, now that the election has begun - the announcements have not been made. 

The website for the grants simply states that the application process has closed, and “final decisions are anticipated in late 2019.”