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Last chance for fixing park
Kugluktuk recreation hoping to win $150,000 to spruce up Lapointe Park but needs votes to move on to semi-finals

Miranda Scotland
Northern News Services
Published Monday, November 11, 2013

Kugluktuk recreation is down to its last chance.

The department is fighting to win $150,000 from the Aviva Community Fund competition, but needs enough votes to move on to the semi-finals.

The project has been through two rounds of voting, but didn't receive the amount of support needed.

NNSL photo/graphic

The Kugluktuk recreation department is hoping to win $150,000 from the Aviva Community Fund to renovate Lapointe Park. To move on to the semi-finals, the community needs supporters to vote for the "A new look for Kugluktuk" on the Aviva Community Fund website. - photo courtesy of Kugluktuk recreation

Most of the projects that have moved on already received 2,000-plus votes, said Kugluktuk recreation co-ordinator Jessica VanOverbeek.

"A new look for Kugluktuk" received about 1,400 votes the first time and close to 1,300 on the second try.

"We're going back to the drawing board ... to figure out how we can (get more votes) and see how we can push it, because it'll be our last chance," said VanOverbeek.

The recreation department is working on a two-phase project in an effort to develop a space that gets residents out of the house and engaged in physical, cultural and wellness-related activities throughout the whole year.

As part of the first phase, the community's curling rink has been turned into a youth centre. The work is almost complete and the hope is to have it open by Christmas, said VanOverbeek.

The department will need to hire a youth co-ordinator and evening and weekend staff.

Changes are also being made to the community's playgrounds to make them safer and cleaner.

The second part of the plan involves making major changes to improve Lapointe Park.

"Currently, Lapointe Park is a desolate, abandoned-looking ball diamond with falling down fencing and a water-logged players' area," VanOverbeek stated in the competition submission.

"There is also a run-down basketball court and an old BMX track that looks more like rolling hills than challenging jumps and climbs."

If the department wins the $150,000 it is asking for from the fund, it would be used to add a gazebo and grass to the area, install barbecues, improve the sport facilities and ensure water has a place to go so it doesn't turn the park into a soggy mess.

This past summer, Kugluktuk struggled with vandalism and mischief.

VanOverbeek is hoping the park renovation project will combat the problem in two ways.

"Not only will it give vandals a place to do something active and positive, but we also hope to get them involved in the process," she said.

"So while we're fixing it up, we'd like to involve justice and youth with community service hours."

Round three of voting starts Nov. 11 and ends Nov. 25. If the recreation department's project makes it through to the semi-finals, it will face another round of voting.

The top 30 entries will then move on to judging where they can receive between $5,000 and $150,000.

In this stage, a panel determines who wins the top prizes based on impact, likelihood of success, longevity and sustainability, originality, submission quality and votes received.

Although VanOverbeek said she is hoping to get more votes than in the previous rounds, she's still impressed with the support the project has gotten thus far.

"It was kind of cool to hear why different people are voting. Some people wanted to watch their kids go out and play, some wanted to go out and play, some wanted to bring their family on a picnic and feel real grass," she said.

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