Skatepark plans will need changes

Concerns over parking at the Memorial Sports Centre mean initial plans for a proposed skatepark there will need a little rethinking, the committee of the whole of council decided at last night’s regular meeting.
Community Services manager George Bell told council that if the 160’x100’ skatepark were to be built on the southeast portion of the property behind the Ice for Kids Arena and the parking area beside the tennis courts (the area to be infringed upon), the decision could not be recommended by the Community Services executive committee and instead had to be left up to the committee of the whole.
“In order to meet the parking requirement when developing the Memorial Sports Centre, we grandfathered the ’52 Canadians Arena, and met the parking requirement for the pool/fitness centre and Ice for Kids Arena,” he noted.
“The minimum requirement is one space for every four seats, or 286 spaces. Currently, we have 182 spaces in the front lot, 34 spaces on Gillon Street, and the east side of the lot is designed for 76 spaces, for a total of 292,” added Bell.
“Any infringement on this lot would have to be made up for in order to comply with the minimum requirement.”^It would cost between $15,000- 20,000 to rectify the shortfall of 20 parking spaces.
“I hate to think that as seven people sitting here as 50-year-olds, we say to the youth out there that because of $15,000-20,000, you can’t have this,” said Mayor Glenn Witherspoon.
“Who’s going to pay for the changes,” asked Coun. Dave Bourgeault.
“If anything, we’re going to need more parking with the skatepark, not less,” noted Coun. Deane Cunningham.
“We should table it rather than vote,” suggested Coun. Bourgeault.
“I wouldn’t vote for [the skatepark] in its current form. It needs more work.”^Council later agreed to refer the matter to Bell and CAO Bill Naturkach, who will be in further contact with the Kiwanis skatepark committee to discuss it.
Also at last night’s meeting, council saw a PowerPoint presentation put together by 65 Grade 4-6 students from J.W. Walker School.
Entitled “Proud Canadians,” the presentation describing what makes this country great was narrated by students Harley Labbe, Jennifer Spence, Sarah Pruys, and Paula Vangel from Cindy Kaun’s and Monica Armour’s classes.
This presentation was in response to the town’s centennial celebration advisory committee’s invitation to schools for participation in centennial activities.
Also last night, council received and approved the final draft of the economic development financial incentive plan, which will allow the town to make grants or loans to the owners of lands and buildings to pay for the cost of rehabilitating such properties.
Such incentives will be possible to implement once the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing approves the community improvement plan which includes the incentive plan; Council also passed a bylaw to authorize the execution of a site plan control agreement with Wal- Mart Canada Corp. as a condition of development.
In other news, council:
•passed a bylaw to approve an extension to an agreement with Carol Barrell for operation of concessions at the Memorial Sports Centre;
•approved a break-open ticket licence application from La Verendrye Hospital Auxiliary at The Bonnie Blue from May 28, 2003- Nov. 28, 2003 (it will be processed in conformance to provincial regulations and rules);
•referred a request from Anthony Kadikoff regarding the replacement of the water line in the area of 499 Keating Ave. to the Operations and Facilities executive committee for a recommendation; and
•referred a request from the Fort Frances High School “chemfree grad” committee for financial support regarding the June 25 celebration to the Administration and Finance executive committee for a recommendation.