Dave Heinrichs, Co-op manager, presents a $63,000 cheque to Cherry Creek Hall president Deana Horton. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Dave Heinrichs, Co-op manager, presents a $63,000 cheque to Cherry Creek Hall president Deana Horton. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Cherry Creek park, fire hall seeing upgrades

Co-op Community Spaces grant awarded to Alberni-based project for a second year

A couple of community spaces in Cherry Creek will be seeing some changes in the coming months.

The Cherry Creek Recreation Commission will be moving the community park from its current space behind the fire hall on Moore Road to a new location across the street. This will allow the fire department space to build a new “earthquake-safe” fire hall to replace the old one.

The recreation commission was the recipient this year of a $63,000 grant from the Co-op Community Spaces initiative. This is the second time Port Alberni has received a Community Spaces grant—last year, the Kiwanis Club of Port Alberni received $40,000 for the revitalization of Canal Waterfront Park.

“We’re hoping the funds will be used for most of the actual playground equipment,” said Deana Horton, the Cherry Creek Hall president.

The commission is still fundraising and applying for grants in order to cover the cost of construction and ground preparation. They currently have an account at the bottle depot under “Cherry Creek Recreation Commission.”

The equipment from the current playground will not be moved to the new location—the commercial Little Tykes play structure has been sold, and the wooden structures are in poor shape and will likely be dismantled, said Horton.

The commission is hoping to have a new playground finished by October.

Lucas Banton, fire chief for the Cherry Creek Volunteer Fire Department, confirmed that the Cherry Creek Waterworks District has purchased the former park property with the intent of building a new fire hall. The current fire hall, he said, has failed its seismic rating.

“We haven’t set any firm date,” said Banton. “We’re getting some other projects out of the way first.”

Financing is the key to the project and will determine when the new structure is going to be built. Banton said they are looking into steel frame construction in order to build something cost-effective, safe and functional. The district has saved almost $300,000 so far for this construction.

“We’re trying to accumulate enough capital that we don’t have to apply for other financing,” said Banton. “The question is how do we work within our budget? That’s what we’re trying to do.”