Gabriola Island’s skatepark vision will be realized now that infrastructure funding is on the way.
The federal government announced Friday a number of grant recipients that will receive money from the federal and provincial governments through the Investing in Canada infrastructure program.
Gabriola Island’s Huxley Skatepark Project was granted $567,000 toward construction of the project and amenities including trails and a gravel parking lot.
The Gabriola Skatepark Fundraising Association said in a statement that the project is 25 years in the making and thanked businesses and other community members, politicians and previous fundraising groups. The association said skateparks give all generations, but particularly youths, an outdoor public space in which to gather, push themselves physically, and to call their own.
“You can quote me on this: yahoo!” said David Reid, association president, in the statement. “Now I want to get this built. I want to have a party. I want to give the whole [darn] island a hug … I’m so happy that we did it.”
Catherine McKenna, federal minister of infrastructure and communities, said in a press release that these sort of investments mean children and youths will have a safe place to play and learn.
“These facilities build strong, dynamic communities where people want to put down roots and do business. Together with the province, we are supporting projects that will create jobs and bring residents new facilities and programs that will make a real difference in people’s lives for years to come,” she said.
Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, said in a separate news release that the skatepark investment on Gabriola Island gives youths and other residents improved access to recreational activities.
“Access to community arts and recreation spaces is so important in shaping healthy, vibrant communities,” said Routley.
The federal press release notes that the applicant is providing $206,000 toward the project. The Gabriola Skatepark Fundraising Association raised $72,000 of that portion and the Regional District of Nanaimo is covering the remainder.