Upgrade going ahead with reduced funding

HIGH FLYER: Jayden Pearsey, 12, jumps on his scooter at the Elles Rd skatepark.
HIGH FLYER: Jayden Pearsey, 12, jumps on his scooter at the Elles Rd skatepark.

The Invercargill skatepark upgrade will go ahead with a reduced budget after the Lotteries Commission injected $250,000.

The funding, announced yesterday, means $550,000 has been raised for the Elles Rd skatepark upgrade - $200,000 short of what was originally projected.

Initial costings in April, when the Invercargill City Council gave the go-ahead, indicated it could cost as much as $750,000.

The upgrade would see the old skatepark replaced by a modern "all wheels" facility which could accommodate scooters and BMX bikes.

Community development manager Mary Napper said the young people involved in the project would be asked to prioritise what they wanted to spend $550,000 on.

"We have exhausted all our funding sources as far as grants go," she said. "We hope to still build most, if not all, of it, but we are not going to compromise on safety."

While the youths had been fundraising for the upgrade, they were not likely to pull in enough to make a huge difference, she said.

The council has loaned $100,000 to the project, with $150,000 from the Invercargill Licensing Trust and the ILT Foundation and $50,000 from the Community Trust of Southland.

Councillor Graham Lewis said loan funding from the council meant ratepayers would not face an immediate lump-sum cost for the upgrade, but would pay back the loan over time.

In this way, he said, future ratepayers who used the skatepark would contribute to the cost.

The Southland Times