Skip to content

GACF overcomes challenges to bring new skatepark to the community

With Phase 2 complete, group now begins fundraising for new playground project

BOYLE – It was a windy day but thankfully nobody caught too much air, as the new Boyle skatepark was officially opened, marking the end of Phase 2 of the community recreational improvement project at Mill View Park. 

With the Phase 1 spray park already in use since 2018, and now the skatepark, it also marks the beginning of Phase 3, the final in the series for the Greater Athabasca Community Foundation (GACF) — a new playground. 

GACF members gathered with village officials and members of the public spanning all age groups Sept. 24 to mark the occasion with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Local kids have already been using the new recreational perk throughout the summer, and they showed up in force with their scooters and boards to show their own appreciation. 

“Boyle now has its very own skatepark!” GACF skatepark fundraising co-chair Terryl Turner announced to applause from the crowd. “It has been a long few years to get this project complete, especially trying to fundraise through COVID, we really had to think outside the box about how we were going to make some money without gathering people.” 

And that they did. 

If you’ve driven through Boyle at almost any point during the last two years, you’ve more than likely seen decorative additions to the fence surrounding the arena and park. During Christmas 2020, GACF started selling seasonal wreaths to local sponsors, but unlike the usual wreaths we usually see around the Christmas season. These ones were completely made of rubber, actually, tires to be more precise; large tractor tires, with some additional creative colour and flair that displayed the name of the sponsor, wishing those who passed a happy Christmas. 

The idea was a hit, said Turner, and GACF was able to expand the project by adapting it to several holidays through 2022, including Valentine’s Day, Canada Day and Easter, which also included the introduction of the bale bunny, which has now made two appearances, towering over the road below, made entirely of large, round hay bales, with makeshift eyes, nose, whiskers and ears, that bring it to life as an Easter bunny.  

“The idea was a major hit, and the community loved them,” said Turner. 

Those fundraisers, among many others, brought the community together to achieve the group’s goal, and contribute enough to bring the $200,000 project to life. 

“This project could not have been complete without the help and generousity of this incredible community, our council and businesses. And we also want to take the opportunity to thank our families for the hours of fundraising; missing family meals; husbands helping with the children’s homework; and putting the kids to bed; and so much more,” she said. 

She recognized each sponsor individually starting with the Government of Canada’s Community Revitalization Fund; the Village of Boyle; Athabasca County; Rock Solid Concrete; North Corridor Co-op; Pembina; Joe and Sarah Rosich; Keith Madsen from Maxwell Progressive; Pioneer, Scott and Jill Splane; Jason and Kim Street from K&J Consulting; and Mark Stanton. 

"We still have our third phase to go,” Turner said. “Creating accessible outdoor spaces for all ages will help foster a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere within our community.” 

Mayor Colin Derko turned the gratitude right around on the individuals in the group,  

“The community and the council want to thank you guys for making our community a great place. I love your group and I love all the initiatives you’re doing. I hear you say we’ve got three phases and we’re done two? Well, I’ve got some ideas for you,” Derko said. “We’re definitely going to be talking, so I want to thank you guys and all your sponsors.” 

The next big fundraising event for GAFC, said Turner, as members embark on bringing the Phase 3 playground to fruition is a comedy show, dinner and dance Nov. 26. 


Chris Zwick

About the Author: Chris Zwick

Athabasca Advocate editor
Read more