Skateboard supporters re-elected

NNSL file photo
Louise Schumann, president of the Hay River BMX/Skate Park Association, stands in front of Chaser BMX/Skate Park.

The complete executive of the Hay River BMX/Skate Park Association has been returned for another year after the organization’s annual general meeting on April 24.

“It’s nice to have the continuity,” said Louise Schumann, who is back as president.

Schumann said she was “absolutely” pleased that everyone on the executive returned.

That includes vice-president Sharmayne Horton, secretary Pennie Pokiak, treasurer Tiffany Demarcke, director of skate park design/operations Mark Horton, fundraising director Connie Belanger, and Greg Harder who is director of special events/jams.

Only four people actually attended the AGM in person, while the others notified the group that they were willing to serve once again on the executive.

The main goal of the executive is to complete changes to Chaser BMX/Skate Park, which is located on town land behind NWT Centennial Library.

The changes didn’t get done as hoped last summer.

The Chaser BMX/Skate Park had its grand opening September 2014 and young people have been using it since.

However, the association still has plans to make $40,000 to $60,000 worth of mainly esthetic changes to the park, and it has already raised enough to do the work.

“The original plans were to basically have some permanent signage erected that names the park,” said Schumann, noting the signage would also recognize the people who sponsored and donated to the park.

Other work would include such things as adding shrubbery, landscaping the entranceway to make it esthetically welcoming and perhaps clearing some brush between the park and the highway.

The association also plans to install railings around the park.

“We want to stay away from fencing because we just feel that it starts to give an institutional type look to the park and our committee wasn’t really that keen on that,” said Schumann, explaining railings would be a barrier to keep out ATVs, motorbikes and other vehicles, but would still become part of the apparatus for the park.

“So we have made some headway with that,” she noted. “The rails have been manufactured. They just need to be put up.”

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

Schumann noted the association is also still considering some kind of security system, perhaps a camera that can be monitored from the recreation centre.

She said there were a number of reasons the work didn’t get done last summer.

For one, the association was unable to get a contractor to put up the railings.

It was also waiting on the final design to rebuild the recreation centre to see how it might possibly affect Chaser BMX/Skate Park.

Schumann also noted the park is actually a town-owned facility and there was turnover among the municipal staff last summer.

“We still have funds that are earmarked for all of this and that’s why we really want to have a push this spring and summer to have the park completed, get contractors and get the park done,” she said.

The town, which also contributed to the initial construction of the park, is also hoping to see the additional work done this summer.

Mayor Brad Mapes noted the association has requested a meeting with the town to discuss the work, which he said will probably be referred to the town’s recreation board to come up with a plan to move forward.

“Definitely our town is lucky that Louise and her group basically pushed forward that project with a bunch of fundraising,” said Mapes, adding the town will be supportive and try to work with the association.

–Paul Bickford