Wheels need some grease
Souris group wants provincial help to get skateboard park built
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.