Construction of the Virgil skate park continues, with some residents’ concerns to be addressed after completion, if necessary.
A motion from Coun. Clare Cameron was discussed at last Tuesday’s continuation of the August council meeting that residents would be consulted following competition, and if necessary, additional landscaping and buffering could be added.
Cameron said she felt she had “dropped the ball” and missed some critical pieces of information about the facility, such as how much it would cost and where it would be located. Part of her motion was to include more information in the process of council making decisions about capital investments.
Kevin Turcotte, acting director of operations, told councillors there is a “small budget” for landscaping when the build is completed, and if more buffering is required, it could be included in the 2021 budget.
Cameron’s motion regarding the process of decision-making became a discussion of council’s role of governance versus managing decisions that should be left to staff.
Coun. Erwin Wiens reminded councillors that the Town has built arenas, the community centre and other facilities with a formal process for community input. “Kevin Turcotte is a rock star” for organizing recreational projects, and finding the funds for getting them done, he said, suggesting changing the process would mean “getting away from governance and getting into running the town.”
Council agreed with communicating with residents once the project is finished, adding landscaping and buffering features if needed, to the skate park if needed, and having staff bring more location details to council on future projects.
Richard Wall, president of the Virgil Business Association, says he’s been watching the construction of the skate park, and says “it’s more impressive than I thought it would be.”
The VBA contributed $150,000 to the $450,000 project.
He says he was recently watching live video of kids skateboarding in new Welland skate park, and was interested to see all age groups using it, including younger kids with scooters.
He liked the idea of cameras on the facility, he says, for safety and security reasons, although cameras are not part of the Virgil project.
“I was encouraged to see kids of all ages using it, and I Iook forward to seeing the Virgil project finished and kids using it. We’re all looking forward to the official opening.”
The skate park is about two weeks away from being ready for use, with the landscaping still to be completed and a sealer to be applied to the finished concrete pad for protection. There is no date set for the opening.
Wall says the VBA is still expecting a pump track, which provides rollers and banked turns for bikes, as a second phase of the facility.
Turcotte agreed it is still being considered, “but will be a few years in the future.”