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Council to backstop $140,000 shortfall for skatepark construction

Jasper Municipal Council approved Tuesday in principle a loan up to $150,000 to backstop the fundraising shortfall for the new skatepark.
Concept art from New Line Skateparks’ updated design of Jasper’s proposed skatepark done in 2021. | Supplied image

Jasper Municipal Council approved Tuesday in principle a loan up to $150,000 to backstop the fundraising shortfall for the new skatepark. 

On March 12, council received correspondence from the Jasper Skatepark Committee requesting support to allow construction of the skatepark to begin in April 2024 while the committee continues to fundraise. 

“To summarize a current update of where we currently are I will mention that we are approximately $180,000 shy of our current goal for the total skatepark contract of $1,058,000,” said Darrell Savage, president of the Jasper Skatepark Committee, in the letter to council. 

The municipality has committed to $30,000 in in-kind support, and Decore Hotels is expected to provide a $10,000 sponsorship. 

These two items reduce the projected shortfall to $140,000. 

Savage warned that cutting the budget would require altering the design of the park, “which would reflect in a loss of features to the park as well as possible costs incurred in re-design and logistics further diminishing the finished product.” 

He added that the committee would continue fundraising with the goal of paying back the municipality for the loan. 

The committee has been fundraising to build a new skatepark for years. 

The municipality has worked with the committee to identify an appropriate site for the skatepark, which will be in Centennial Park on a former baseball diamond. 

Council also previously approved a financial contribution of $300,000 toward the construction. 

Upon completion, the committee would turn the asset over to the municipality. 

CAO Bill Given said the loan would be self-funded from the municipality’s financial stabilization reserve and would not count against its debt capacity. 

Mayor Richard Ireland asked if there would be any collateral and if the skatepark committee as a legal entity would be the borrower. 

Given explained that since the skatepark would be turned over to the municipality once finished, there would be no physical asset to serve as collateral. 

“So, it’s fair to say that council’s judgement about whether you wish to do this or not really relies on your level of confidence in the individuals, their track record and their commitment to the project and their commitment to see through the finalization of the fundraising,” Given said. 

He added that loan details, such as the exact legal entity that will serve as the borrower, will be presented to council once construction is completed. 

Coun. Rico Damota supported the loan toward this project, although he acknowledged the significant amount of public spending recently. 

“We have to get a shovel in the ground; let’s get this thing going,” he said. 

“I’m not a big fan of doing this because it might take a little wind out of the sails on potential donors with this, but it’s been a long time, so we need to help these people along and put some pressure on other people in the community or inside the community to fill up the remainder of that bucket.” 

During its meeting, council also approved the new charging stations for electric vehicles and a discounted fee for the use of a public parking lane for less than 12 hours per day. 

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