Today’s Poll

Rosemont Skatepark Plan to be Revealed at Open House

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
January 15th, 2013

Rosemont residents will have a chance to see the plans for the skateboard park proposed for Art Gibbons Park (a.k.a. Rosemont Park) at a public meeting on January 24. The meeting, to be set up in an open house format, will start at 7pm at the Rosemont School.

The event will give residents an opportunity to learn about the plan and give their comments to City of Nelson staff and to the Kootenay Lake Outdoor Skatepark Society (KLOSPS).

To read a story in The Nelson Daily about the last fall’s decision by both groups to abandon the plan for the site near the Community Complex, click here.

The open house follows Nelson City Council’s approval in principle of a plan that City Manager Kevin Cormack and KLOSPS spokesperson Chad Hansen presented on December 17.

The many advantages of the Rosemont site…

They outlined the pros and cons of locating the park at the Rosemont site, including the following list of the advantages of the plan:

  • Ability to build a larger and more sophisticated park
  • Great synergies and co‐habitation with the bike park    
  • Washroom facilities already in place         
  • Many users live in the area
  • Site is ready for building immediately      
  • With Council approval building can start in early spring of 2013
  • 2 bus‐stops very near the park
  • Support from KLOSPS, Skaters, Bike Park Group and other stakeholders
  • Co‐location with the bike park would create numerous funding application opportunities
  • Create affordable recreation and fulfill a recognized community need as noted in the recent Recreation Master Plan
  • Convenience store is in close proximity
  • Great opportunity for programs and lessons for both skating and biking

…and the disadvantages

Cormack and Hansen also presented the following possible arguments against the plan:

  • Not centrally located 
  • Noise may bother residents in the area 
  • Not an easy location for police to monitor
  • Limited parking
  • Presently no emergency vehicle access

Minimizing the downsides

They also presented their ideas on how those disadvantages could be mitigated:

  • There are 2 bus stops in close proximity to the park
  • Introduction of an Ambassador program to monitor the skatepark, liaison with Police as well as facilitate lessons and mentoring of skateboarders
  • Have the ability to mount CCTV cameras if required by including wiring in construction
  • The park can be built deeper into the ground to limit sound travel as well as the addition of sound dampening landscaping
  • Part of the plan would be to create a parking lot as well as emergency vehicle access to the park

Skaters are on board

Hansen told Council that KLOSPS has consulted enough skaters about the plan to know that any disadvantages of the location will be outweighed by the fact that the site has the appropriate size and grade to build a high quality park. 

Skatepark Ambassador program

Hansen said response from the neighbourhood has been positive. He and Cormack introduced the concept of an ambassador program, in which designated older skaters in their twenties would act as hosts of the park, facilitating communication with the neighbourhood, the police, and parents.

All-wheel park

Because the park would be adjacent to the bike park, Hansen said the group and the City are looking at the concept of an “all-wheel park” that would include skateboarders, inline skaters, BMX, mountain bikes—anything non-motorized with wheels.

They also see collaborating with tourism agencies to promote the park as a regional destination.

“We have contacted Jubilee Manor (a residential care facility in the neighbourhood) and they are willing to give us a letter of support,” said Hansen. “They want wheelchair access so they can go up and watch.”

“And it is an all-wheel park,” Hansen added with a grin, “so if they want to use it, we are not going to say no….”

Better park, less money

“We can build a bigger better park for the same amount of money,” said Hansen, referring to the previous downtown plan for the skate park. “Down there we would have the most expensive park in North America, which didn’t make sense. So this is a much more logical expenditure of money to get a better skate park.

“We realized this the most in line we will ever have our ducks,” Hansen told Council.  “The money is in place, and New Line (the skateboard park designer that drew the plans for the downtown location) has offered to redesign for free. KLOSPS is definitely behind this, we really are. We feel like this is the best shot we have of getting a park built and we hope Council will get behind it.”

And they did. Council voted unanimously to accept the proposal, subject to any unforeseen concerns coming up at the open house.

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