The support of the whole Oliver and area community is needed in order to land a big 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 October 19th.
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,” says 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 OPRS Director Helene Urcullu. “Skate parks offer a greater number of healthy outdoor athletic choices where youth can work on their skills for free”. The addition of skateboarding as a sport in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo brings an exciting opportunity to start training young athletes at the community level through lessons, camps and competitions.
Sheridan is hoping that 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,” says 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 October 10-19, 2017. 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.
More information about the project can be found at www.facebook.com/Oliver-Small-Wheels-Playground or www.oliverrecreation.ca
Anyone wishing to assist with the Small Wheels Playground project is asked to contact Carol Sheridan directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-498-4985.