Final touches for BMX/skate park

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo Louise Schumann, president of the Hay River BMX/Skate Park Association, stands in front of the snow-covered Chaser BMX/Skate Park on April 8.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Louise Schumann, president of the Hay River BMX/Skate Park Association, stands in front of the snow-covered Chaser BMX/Skate Park on April 8.

Some significant finishing touches are to be made this summer to the Chaser BMX/Skate Park.

Up to $64,000 has been set aside for the work by the Hay River BMX/Skate Park Association.

“We still have things that we want to finish with the park,” said Louise Schumann, the president of the association.

Among the improvements will be establishing a railing around the perimeter of the park which is located on town land behind NWT Centennial Library.

“Not a fence,” said Schumann. “We don’t want to get into the big fence thing because it starts to look institutional and not necessarily as welcoming.”

The goal is to keep motorbikes, ATVs and other vehicles out.

Currently, there are concrete blocks on the perimeter of the park, which measures about 160 feet by 90 feet.

Another improvement will be the addition of signage.

Schumann said one sign or possibly two signs remain to be designed but will feature the name of the park and a list of donors.

Depending on where the new signs are placed, some plants will also be added to the park.

“We really are trying to make it very accessible and family-oriented,” said Schumann.

The association is also looking at adding two security cameras to the park.

It is hoped the cameras will promote safety and help prevent vandalism.

Schumann said the park has what it needs in terms of equipment on which users can ride and skate.

“We want to concentrate on using our funds to finish the esthetics of the park,” she explained.

Schumann said it is hoped that the work can be completed by the end of the summer.

The association already has the $64,000, which includes a 20 per cent contingency.

Chaser BMX/Skate Park is a joint initiative of the association and the Town of Hay River.

Once this summer’s work is completed, the estimated final cost of the park will be about $260,000, not including in-kind donations.

Of that amount, the town contributed $150,000 while the association will have spent about $110,000, which it collected through fundraisers and from donations.

The largest single fundraising effort was recycling 26,997 pounds of waste copper from Diavik Mine and earning more than $55,000 in 2014.

A key figure in arranging that donation from Diavik Mine was Russell Chase, and as a result, the park was named the Chaser BMX/Skate Park.

An early version of the park was originally set up in the Hay River Curling Club in the summer of 2011 with $20,000 worth of equipment purchased by the town.

Since then, it has moved to a couple of other locations before settling into its current home behind the public library in the summer of 2014, and seeing the purchase of more modular equipment.

The park’s grand opening was celebrated in September 2014.

The Hay River BMX/Skate Park Association, which is a registered society, held its annual general meeting on April 7.

“The executive that was in place remains the same executive,” said Schumann, who returned as president.

Others returning to the executive are Sharmayne Horton as vice-president, Pennie Pokiak as secretary, Tiffany Demarcke as treasurer, Mark Horton as director of skate park design/operations, Connie Belanger as director of fundraising, and Greg Harder as director of special events/jams.