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Wellesley skate park on hold again

Dave Ingraham helped build the mini-pipe in front of the Wellesley arena, site of a temporary skate park. The township is looking at options for a permanent home for the facility. [Scott Barber / The Observer]

Plans for a skateboard park in Wellesley remain up in the air, as council again failed to agree on a location for the facility.

After discussing finances and suitable sites Tuesday night, councillors deferred the matter.

Dave Ingraham helped build the mini-pipe in front of the Wellesley arena, site of a temporary skate park. The township is looking at options for a permanent home for the facility. [Scott Barber / The Observer]
Dave Ingraham helped build the mini-pipe in front of the Wellesley arena, site of a temporary skate park. The township is looking at options for a permanent home for the facility. [Scott Barber / The Observer]
Wellesley Recreation Service Board chair Janek Jagiellowicz said he was looking for some action on the park instead of putting it off yet again.

“I was hoping now that we’ve got the dollar figure and we have the funding from the groups that council would vote on it,” Jagiellowicz said. “You need to vote on it or get it started before the weather gets too cold or else we’re waiting again.”

Coun. Herb Neher put forward a motion to approve the skate park in principal pending a full report from the recreation committee and staff, expected next month. That failed, however, when Mayor Ross Kelterborn and councillors Paul Hergott and Shelley Wagner voted against it.

The deferral leaves in limbo a site at the Wellesley Community Centre, where so far $25,758 has been spent on the park. A dug-up parking lot is all there is to show for it, director of facilities Brad Voisin said.

“The [Wellesley-North Easthope Fall Fair board] was upset when the area was dug up because they felt as though it wasn’t discussed with them,” Jagiellowicz said. “When we sat down in January we had an open discussion … after the fact they were saying the community needs this, the kids need this.”

The preferred location at the Wellesley Community Centre beside the splash pad is what the majority of people are in favour of, and now they’re wondering why it hasn’t been built yet, he added.

Neher said council has been toying with the idea of a skate park for seven years without it ever coming to fruition.

“All we’re doing is kicking the can,” Neher said. “When are we going to make a decision?”

The dug-up area next to the splash pad has since been filled in and a pile of gravel is sitting there now. It’s unclear if that location will be used or if the township will find another spot.

“There’s obviously a demand for these and we’re just kicking the can constantly down the road with this. I think we should just take the bull by the horn,” Neher said. “The committee has done a lot of work. To hold this thing up, I personally have a problem with.”

Kelterborn said he wanted it to be clear he’s not opposed to the skate park, but that he wants it done right, even if it takes longer.

“My thinking is the skateboard park should be put on hold until we get our study done and get some more land,” Kelterborn said. “The money that you have raised you should put aside and wait until we have a proper place.”

He said they’re looking at buying parkland to put the skate park somewhere other than near the splash pad at the community centre, where it was originally slated to go. Residents raised concerns earlier this year with having teenagers using the skate park so close to small children at the splash pad. Since then, those concerns have been mostly resolved.

Council will revisit the issue on September 2 when a study with budget numbers and alternate locations is ready to be presented.

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