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Yorkton council puts breaks on Columbia Park pump track project

Project's fate pushed to 2024 budget deliberations
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Yorkton City Hall

YORKTON -  Money for a development of a city park behind Columbia School has more than $1 million allocated in the 2021, 2022 and 2023 city budgets, but the project has now been shelved for at least a year.

In 2021, City Council heard public requests for recreational facilities being basketball courts, and a pump track bike park. The basketball courts were approved in the 2021 Capital budget and thereafter Council heard a request for the development of a pump bike track.

Initially the pump track was estimated to cost $350K but in the 2022 budget $425K was allocated.

The total budget, for the track, two courts, parking and work associated with drainage was $1,090,000.

At the Dec. 5, 2022 Regular Council Meeting, the following resolution was made.

That Council direct Administration to:

*Proceed with presenting the design concept of the Columbia Park Development, including the drainage plan, to the Public Open House on December 8, 2022.

*Proceed to tender on Phase 1, which will determine the final construction costs for Phase 1, and report back to Council with the bids, and to obtain direction if the tender price exceeds the approved budget of $1,090,000.00.

*Defer other phases of the Columbia Park Development to future budgets.

But Monday Councillor Quinn Haider was calling for the brakes to be put on the project.

“During budget discussions in 2021, City Council approved funds for a Parks and Recreation Master Plan. This plan will guide the development, delivery, and improvements of parks, sport, culture, recreation programs, and recreations facilities. This plan will help to identify the changing needs and demands of the community and help us to manage these services,” detailed a Notice of Motion presented by Haider.

“We almost have detailed design of Phase I of the Columbia Park Development complete, and this has been an essential step in determining next steps, however I do not feel that this project should proceed at this time, and therefore would like to revisit direction to proceed to tender,’” stated Haider. “In a time when our residents are facing unprecedented grocery bills and other substantial increases, I feel we need to be more fiscally responsible than ever. As well, I would like to see what the Master Rec Plan will tell us in regards to how to best meet the rec needs of our city.”

While there was general consensus for delaying the project, there was concern for how long.

Coun. Ken Chyz said he feared if the project was shifted to the backburner it might “totally get forgotten about.”

“How long do we wait? When do we pull the trigger?” questioned Mayor Mitch Hippsley.

The answer to how long to wait is apparently until deliberations for the city’s 2024 capital budget as that was the amendment attached to Haider’s motion to put tenders on hold.