Council gifts revamped skate park to itself

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 14/05/2014

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The Invercargill City Council is gifting the $750,000 Elles Rd Skate Park back to itself ahead of the completion of the park upgrade.

The skate park, which has been redeveloped using community and city council funding, as well as a loan from the city council, is expected to reopen at the end of next week.

The council is now in the process of regifting the park back to itself to ensure the water and electricity costs are covered.

Invercargill City Council community development manager Mary Napper said she had put the recommendation forward to the community services committee meeting this week to accept the gift of the skate park to make sure it was clear about the ownership of the structure.

At the meeting this week, councillor Peter Kett questioned when the skate park had not been owned by the council. "We owned the old skate park so I assumed we owned this one."

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt saw the humour in the situation and said it seemed the council was being gifted everything, after it was remarked at the opening of the ILT Stadium Southland that the trust behind it wanted to gift it to the council debt free in the future.

"So we have got an indoor stadium, an outdoor stadium and now a skate park," he said.

The $750,000 skate park was built using a $110,000 loan from the city council as well as $190,000 of funding from the council's holding company.

"It puts us in quite an interesting situation, here we have got a facility that isn't debt free, but the debt is to ourselves."

Shadbolt said facilities such as the skate park were well supported by community organisations, but the ongoing cost of running them seemed to be overlooked. "The real cost isn't the capital cost, it is down the line. The costs seem to kick in 10 years down the track."

Invercargill City Council parks manager Robin Pagan said his main concern about maintaining the skate park in his division was depreciation.

"Potentially $75,000 a year we should be funding for depreciation."

Speaking after the meeting, Pagan said the costs for water and electricity had not been a concern with the previous skate park because it did not have CCTV cameras or drinking fountains like the new one.

Kett said the situation was rather ironic. "It's like robbing Peter to pay Paul."

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