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Council commits $3 million for Cheakamus Crossing park



If Whistler councillors have it their way, the Resort Municipality of Whistler will construct a $9 million park at the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood with the aid of government money.

All five councillors at Tuesday's public meeting voted to spend $3 million as long as the federal and provincial governments pony up the rest of the cash through the Building Canada Fund.

Council had originally budgeted to spend the $3 million in 2011. But after the federal and provincial governments announced this spring that they would provide infrastructure grants to British Columbian communities smaller than 100,000 people, council decided to shell out the money earlier - if the grant application is approved.

Specifically, if Whistler receives the Building Canada Fund, the provincial government will contribute $3 million and the federal government will contribute $3 million to Bayly Park at Cheakamus Crossing.

"We have already budgeted $3 million for the basic park," said acting-mayor Chris Quinlan, following the meeting. "This is an opportunity to get another third from the province and a third from the feds to create something better."

Plans for the $9 million park are much more extensive than the $3 million park, and include: two grass soccer fields, open grass space, a series of trails, landscaping, parking, and a field house with public washrooms and meeting space.

If Whistler doesn't receive the grant money the park will only have two soccer fields, open grass space and trails.

"The $3 million (budgeted for 2011) was a placeholder," explained the municipality's manager of resort parks and open space planning, Martin Pardoe. "We knew we could provide at minimum some soccer fields."

The park, named after community member Steve Bayly, will be built on top of the remediated landfill, although Quinlan did not think that location was increasing the costs of the project.

Quinlan added if Whistler doesn't receive the grant money, council will continue with their earlier plans to build the $3 million park in 2011.

During the meeting, both councillors Ted Milner and Eckhard Zeidler had some concerns about spending so much money on a park, but in the end, they also voted to go ahead with the plans. Councillor Ralph Forsyth and Mayor Ken Melamed were absent.

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