Council’s community and public services committee has given the green light to a two pronged plan for the Edmonton Ski Club. They’ve approved $388,000 in emergency funding for the short term, although it still needs full approval from all of council. Another long term funding request, worth $1.3 million over five years, is still to be considered.
The money is seen as a stop gap, while the city sorts out the larger problem of finalizing a plan for Gallagher Park.
“To get to the point of redevelopment, we are in a holding pattern,” Ken Saunders, the club president told reporters. “We need the city’s plan to be completed and from there sustainability is our absolute goal.”
School group visits have more than quadrupled after just over 1,000 in the ’13/’14 school year. Other memberships have grown as well. “We’ve just seen extraordinary growth,” Saunders sad. “But that growth has come at a very large price. To continue that trajectory we need the financial assistance of the city.”
Another hold up, is the fine detail planning for the Valley Line LRT. Sanders said once key questions are answered on what can go where, the club hopes to finalize its own plans for winter amenities like an ice climbing wall, a snow line skate path, and cross-country ski trails. For the summer they’re also looking at bike park ideas.
The frustration for Coun. Mike Nickel is how slowly the process is moving. “We can write them a cheque now but I want to provide them some certainty so they can chase some options so they can achieve sustainability. We’re holding back this asset that has such great potential. The lines are moving in the right direction. The last thing we want to do is slow them up. But of course due process is always the devil in getting things moving.”
“We really want to see that gem maintained,” said committee chair Coun. Bev Esslinger. “We do subsidize other recreation facilities in our city. Let’s see if we can move this one forward as well.”
Support on the committee was unanimous, and it appears there are enough votes on full council to have this go through. “I hope so,” said Coun. Ed Gibbons. “Because I don’t think Edmonton would be the same place with out this.”
The five year plan will be looked at by all of city council, during budget deliberations that begin in November.