Council gets competing proposals for provincial funding

Skateboard Association and Parks & Rec ask for funding from same government grant. City can only choose one.

The provincial government has offered up a chunk of grant money, you’re allowed to make one application and at least two groups are seeking for a piece of the pie. What do you do?

That’s the question before city council after two requests came forward asking for funding from a new government grant at council’s meeting on Tuesday.

First, Karl Jost of the Columbia Valley Skateboarding Association asked council if it could submit an application for the grant in order to fund the new skatepark in Centennial Park.

Later, a request came up from the Department of Parks and Recreation to use the grant money to fund a new disinfection system for the aquatic centre.

The grant in question is $30 million to fund recreation facilities across the province. It was announced by Premier Christy Clark at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September.

The catch? Each community can only submit one application and the deadline to apply is Dec. 28.

Jost made his presentation at the beginning of the council meeting. He asked that city hall fill out the application on behalf of the CVSA. The grant must be submitted by the municipality, he noted. He did not say how much the association was looking for.

“We could also use this funding to leverage funding from other sources,” Jost said. “We really appreciate any help that we can get. It’s funding that’s now available and we definitely think we have a good chance of gaining funds from this initiative.”

Council asked several questions of Jost. First, Couns. Chris Johnston asked to see more information about the tourism benefits a new skatepark could provide. Then Couns. Steve Bender asked about the benefits for locals.

Couns. Phil Welock said input should be sought from RCMP Staff Sgt. Jacquie Olsen, who has opposed Centennial Park as a location for the skate park.

Council made no commitment to the request. “The city will be applying for something and it may well be that skateboard park,” said Mayor David Raven, adding that Jost should contact staff about the application.

Later in the meeting, after Jost left, council addressed a request from the Department of Parks and Recreation to apply for the grant to fund a new disinfection system for the swimming pool.

According to the staff report, the salt-based system has been deteriorating since it was installed in 2005. Kerri Dawson, the director of park and recreation, told council that the aquatic centre was currently using a mixed system of salt and chlorine to disinfect the pool. The new system would use ultraviolet light.

The report said $120,000 was being budgeted for the project in 2012, though the total cost estimate wouldn’t be known for another three weeks, pending the completion of a consultants report. Couns. Tony Scarcella, who is responsible for parks and recreation, said the cost would be closer $80,000.

“At this point, if we can get the funding under the program, it would reduce our capital expenditures a considerable amount,” Dawson told council. “As soon as we get the report, the grant will be sent off.”

It was Welock who raised the point that council would have to decide which grant to apply for.

“We have to decide whether we have a disinfected pool or a skateboard park, right?” he asked.

Replied Dawson: “Yes, as far as the grant goes.”

Scarcella said the city should look at how much money is available to Revelstoke before making the application. “I think we can get more than $80,000,” he said. “It’s one application and I believe Revelstoke should get between $150-175,000.”

It was at this point Dawson said a number or inquiries had come in from numerous organizations in the community regarding the grant. She wanted council to make a decision right away due to the Dec. 28 deadline.

Couns. Johnston sided with Scarcella on asking staff to prepare a report so the city could get “the biggest bang for it’s buck.”

“I don’t feel like I’m in any position to pick one over the other or who knows what else might be out there, he said.

The discussion ended with council voting for staff to prepare a report and come back to council at its next meeting on Dec. 6.