By Stew Slater
Fourteen months after first conditionally approving to the construction of a facility for skateboarding and BMX biking on town-owned property directly south of the Fire Hall, St. Marys Town Council passed a similar motion on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
It’s now expected the so-called “X-Park” will be in place some time next summer, with $60,000 of the estimated $150,000 cost being covered by a grant from the Ontario government-funded Trillium Foundation. The Town, meanwhile, has already committed $20,000, and most of the rest of the cost has already been secured — either in cash donations or through in-kind contributions — by a community-based fundraising campaign conducted mainly by the young people who will be the facility’s main users.
Last Tuesday’s motion was proposed following the withdrawal of an earlier motion to explore building the X-Park at the tennis courts on Water Street. Prior to that, a public meeting was held to seek input into a proposed Cadzow Park location. But the original plan — first approved by Council, pending “due diligence,” was the Fire Hall property.
Fire Chief Dennis Brownlee made a presentation at the Nov. 20 meeting, outlining the Fire Department’s concerns. And Councillor Bill Osborne — the only one to vote against the most recent motion — argued those concerns have remained consistent through the months.
But Don Van Galen, who brought forward the Nov. 20 motion, countered that efforts to mitigate those concerns will be part of the planning process prior to building the new facility.