The town of Oliver is asking for support from around the region to help win a grant that they could then use the money to rebuild their skate park. Submitted photo

Town of Oliver asking for regional support for skate park

Oliver parks and rec needs support for grant to build small wheels playground

The complete support of Oliver and surrounding communities is needed to land a fundraising opportunity for the revitalization of the skatepark facility in Lion’s Park.

The idea for an Oliver Small Wheels Playground was accepted by the Aviva Community Fund under the category of Community Health and is up for a $100,000 prize if it receives the most votes in the voting round happening right now and closing Oct. 19.

The Oliver Parks and Recreation Society passed a resolution at the April 18 meeting to focus a portion of the capital funds earmarked in the 2017 budget on the revitalization of the facility, however the overall cost of the project is estimated at $220,000, making the need to grants and community fundraising essential for the success of the project. Recently, the Kiwanis Club of Oliver pledged $10,000 towards the project and has committed to assist in raising more funds over the next few months.

“A $100,000 prize would bring us so close to our fundraising goal,” said recreation manager Carol Sheridan. “The children and youth of our community deserve this facility to be at its best and we really need everyone’s help to get it done.”

The skatepark was built back in 2000 in memory of Joel Waines, an avid skateboarder who died tragically at the age of 16. While many have used the park since it was built, the facility is showing signs of its age and disrepair after 17 years and many of the features have been deemed “unusable” by the local riders.

The new concept for the park proposes the removal of some older, unsafe features and the creation of an expanded, updated small-wheels playground with additional street style features that would give a more accessible and fun space to play in for children, youth and adults who like to skate, scoot and bike.

“I feel that the community has created many places for people to recreate, however the older children and teens do not currently have a safe place to hang out that doesn’t have a cost attached to it,” said Oliver Parks and Recreation Society director Helene Urcullu. “Skate parks offer a greater number of healthy outdoor athletic choices where youth can work on their skills for free.”

Sheridan is hoping the greater community will throw their support behind the project to make it a reality.

“It is wonderful that both the society and the Kiwanis Club of Oliver have listened to the needs of our youth and are willing to invest in increasing their social and physical activity opportunities and give them a renewed sense of pride in their community,” said Sheridan.

Sheridan notes the success of the past year’s campaign to raise funds to build a new playground in Community Park and believes this project could be just as successful if everyone got behind it.

The Aviva Community Fund voting round takes place between Oct. 10-19. Each person who registers at www.avivacommunityfund.org will have 18 votes to cast before Oct. 19 for the Oliver Small Wheels Playground. Votes can come from all over the country so local residents are encouraged to reach to family and friends outside of the area as well.

Anyone wishing to assist with the Small Wheels Playground project is asked to contact Carol Sheridan directly at carol@oliverrecreation.ca or 250-498-4985.

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