Skatepark Society hits snag in efforts to build new facility
Skateboarders in Nelson are feeling optimistic about possible Rosemont Park location after the Kootenay Lake Outdoor Skatepark Society (KLOSPS) hit a snag at the original site near the Nelson and District Community Complex.
A recent engineering study revealed that the original site plan in the northwest corner of the NDCC parking lot would cost an additional $180,000 and $200,000 to create because of the need for a retaining wall on the site, said Chad Hansen, KLOSPS spokesperson.
“What a major hurdle that has become – an unmovable wall with that property,” he said during an interview with The Nelson Daily. “(The retaining wall) would make the skatepark one of the most expensive parks in Canada per square foot.”
Now the city is looking to Art Gibbons Memorial Park (also known as Rosemont Park) as a possible site for the new project.
Other sites that were considered included Lakeside Park, but that is flood plain and would require even more engineering costs, said Nelson city councilor Paula Kiss.
“We’re trying to find a location for the skatepark that we could reasonably work with,” said Kiss. “I think it is important for our residents (to have a skatepark) … I think it is a valid sport and a great alternative form of transportation.”
Rosemont Park features many positives including the potential to expand the skate surface beyond their planned 10,000 to 15,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet, said Hansen.
“(Rosemont) gives us the space, which is one thing we don’t have anywhere else,” said Hansen.
“The big advantage to being up there is there are not a lot of logistic issues.”
He said the engineering firm that designed the original park is even willing to redesign it for the new site for free.
The cons, said Hansen, can be overcome.
Among them is security and safety.
Two sides of the park back onto forest and the parking lot would need to be improved to allow for emergency vehicle access, should they need to get in, said Hansen.
He suggested a skate ambassador program through the youth center might help with some of the security issues.
“I’m feeling pretty positive about this – the pros outweigh the cons,” said Hansen, of the new site proposal.
He said while many people are frustrated the plans are being moved yet again, “in the end, we just want to get something built”.
It’s been 10 years since the group began raising funds for the park. Now that $540,000 has been raised it’s time to see some results.
“Now is not the time to give up,” he said. “There is money in the bank and it will be built. We just have to decide when and in whose backyard.”
He said until the park is built, there is nowhere safe or even legal for the kids to skate.
“City police are really sympathetic and they don’t want to take the kids’ skateboards away,” said Hansen.
KLOSPS is also working to a timeline. A significant amount of the money they raised for the project, a $400,000 grant from the government, requires the skatepark is completed by the winter of 2015, said Hansen.
This gives the society just two building seasons to get it done, he said. He hopes the city will have everything ironed out by next spring.
“If we lost the $400,000 it would be difficult to continue,” he said. “We would like to see the shovels in the ground in the spring and the kids skating by next fall.”
Earlier this week the city council instructed their staff to incorporate the skatepark plans into the present Rosemont Park design so the council could physically see how it would fit in, said Kiss.
Those plans will then be presented to the council, KLOSPS and the public for input in early November.
“It’s up to council to get this done, whether it is in Rosemont or some other place,” said Hansen.
To find out more about the skatepark or to provide your input on the new location, please visit the KLOSPS website at www.nelsonskatepark.com.