Tolko Industries just gave local skateboarders 40,000 reasons to smile.

During the regular meeting of Meadow Lake city council Monday evening (Sept. 27), a motion was carried to accept a donation of $40,000 from Tolko Industries for the future skate park under the terms set out in a Sept. 14 letter the company provided to Regan Beck, the community’s parks and recreation manager.

“Tolko Industries would like to donate $40,000 to the City of Meadow Lake for the construction of a skate park in Lions Park,” Beck explained. “This project has been discussed over the last year and a volunteer committee has been formed to get this project off the ground. These funds will allow the proposed skate park to be designed, which will assist with getting other donations and applying for grants for the project.”

Beck went on to note the $40,000 donation represents at least 10 per cent of the expected cost of the skate park.

“It is hoped this project can be funded by a mix of donations, grants and city funding, and this donation puts us well on our way to making this new amenity a reality,” he added.

According to Darren Austin, manager of Tolko’s OSB division, the company is proud to be a part of efforts to establish a skate park.

“Tolko is very pleased and excited to be a part of this community initiative,” Austin said.

However, as noted, the company’s willingness to donate the funds came with a set of terms the city was first required to agree to. By accepting the donation, the city also supports having the company name of Tolko incorporated into the name of the park. A media campaign will also be established by the city with local media which will include photos of the cheque presentation. Meanwhile, a sign will be erected no later than Nov. 30 at Lions Park which will identify the site as the future home of the skate park. If for any reason the construction of the skate park does not begin by the end of 2023, the city will refund the full amount of $40,000 back to Tolko.

The motion was made by councillor Clay DeBray and seconded by councillor Richard Levesque.
Mayor Merlin Seymour, however, was more concerned with the 2023 deadline and the potential need to refund the donation.

“I assume this is something we would be looking at doing before then,” he said.
Burton said there will likely be some flexibility in this regard, but added Tolko wanted to have some sort of timeframe in place. Beck agreed.

“This is a one-time amount they got based on the quality of the year Tolko had last year,” he said. “They want to make sure they’re getting a full return as quickly as possible on their money.”

Beck also said about 25 per cent of the $40,000 should cover design costs for the project.

Asma Qadri, the city’s director of finance, was also on hand for Monday’s meeting and said the funds from Tolko will be kept in a separate reserve.

Also, a sponsorship policy was also approved at Monday’s meeting under which all donations which contemplate naming or title rights must be approved by council.

by Phil Ambroziak