Wheels need some grease

Souris group wants pro­vin­cial help to get skate­board park built

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - dstew­art@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/DveSte­wart

A group of young peo­ple in Souris rais­ing funds for a skate­board park in the com­mu­nity had their cause raised in the P.E.I. leg­is­la­ture this week.

The group, called Wheels, formed in Souris about two years ago has raised about $40,000 to build the park. But it will cost about twice that much to get the pro­ject rolling.

Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie told the leg­is­la­ture that it’s time for the province to step up for kids in his dis­trict

Wheels ap­proached the Town of Souris two years ago, but the town didn’t have the money, so they went into the com­mu­nity and raised the sig­nif­i­cant amount them­selves.

“The com­mu­nity was re­ally good to them. They raked leaves, shov­elled drive­ways, served cof­fee and cook­ies (at events) and in two years they raised $40,000,’’ LaVie told The Guardian.

How­ever, when the group ap­proached the pro­vin­cial Depart­ment of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and Tourism’s ru­ral de­vel­op­ment of­fice, it couldn’t get fund­ing be­cause the min­is­ter didn’t put the land in the town’s name.

“Be­cause of that they couldn’t get it from ru­ral de­vel­op­ment,’’ LaVie ex­plained.

The land has since been put in the town’s name but LaVie is con­cerned

that bud­get cuts could stand in the way.

“So are the kids are go­ing to suf­fer or re­ceive the fund­ing? The kids want this park and here it is two years later.’’

LaVie said the Town of Souris is now pre­pared to kick in some money.

Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Heath Mac­Don­ald says his depart­ment will look into the mat­ter and re­view the ap­pli­ca­tion.

“There’s a process that we’re go­ing through at the present time to re­view all ap­pli­ca­tions,’’ Mac­Don­ald said. “Ku­dos to those young peo­ple that were able to raise that much money. I think it’s a won­der­ful thing and a great ac­com­plish­ment for the youth. We will look at it as we are look­ing at most ap­pli­ca­tions.’’

In ref­er­ence to the two-year ef­fort, LaVie said dur­ing ques­tion pe­riod that “these kids will be driv­ing four wheels on a car be­fore they get this skate­board park’’. That drew chuck­les from many MLAs but LaVie wasn’t laugh­ing.

Later, he told The Guardian that the kids and their par­ents are start­ing to get dis­cour­aged.

“They worked hard for this. I will be af­ter the min­is­ter to get this mov­ing as quickly as pos­si­ble for these kids,’’ LaVie said.

LaVie

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