Skatepark seeks public input on location, location,location

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
September 29th, 2010

The Rossland Skateboarding Association (RSA) is back in action this fall, hoping to first secure a consensus around the location of a permanent home for the proposed skate park—and then start building it.

While council did grant the RSA the northwest portion of the Emcon lot for a skateboard park nine months ago, it was by no means a final decision and was geared as a tool the city could offer the group which would, in turn, help them go after larger grant funding. Before the park could be built, the RSA would still have to come back to council before a December 2011 deadline with its plans to initiate the next phase of the project (zoning, building permits, etc).
Following that announcement some area neighbours passionately voiced their concerns about the potential location which caused a bit of a rethink by RSA on the best approach to the project.
“Going back to the beginning, after council made that initial decision we heard from some of the neighbours around there that they were concerned they hadn’t been involved in the process of making the decision and didn’t have a lot of information around the topic and generally had some questions comments, concerns about having a skate park in their neighbourhood and wanted to be involved in the process,” explained Robin Strachan of the RSA. “So we met with those neighbours and had a good dialogue with them. We recorded their comments and we’ve made a promise to them that whatever we do in this process those are thoughts we have to keep in mind. Any design would look to incorporate those aspects. “
Since that time, the RSA has taken their cause to the streets. With an expected final cost to construct the skate park sitting somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000 the association is planning to fully fund the project without taxpayer dollars. 
That fundraising effort went into high gear with quarter pipe change boxes appearing beside cash registers around town, T-shirts being sold as fast as they could be made, stickers being sold, bottle drives going on and more. Even groups unrelated to the RSA got in on the action.
“The play Grease that The Kids in the Hall put on donated their proceeds; Punk Rock Bingo at the Steamshovel donated their proceeds; and there is the Turkey Trot running event coming up helping as well. That’s awesome,” added an enthused Strachan. “Especially for me and the other guys donating out time to what we think is a great cause. It’s great to see others coming forward and helping us out. We’re trying to come up with say roughly 300 to 500 thousand dollars, and that’s no small task. It’s actually pretty tough, so we’ve been focusing our efforts on that.”
To add fuel to the fundraising fire, the next step will be figuring out exactly how much money the project will require. First, however, a design will need to be completed. And to complete the design, a location will need to be nailed down. To nail down a location the group is looking squarely at the people of Rossland to participate in the process.
“The site location is a big topic that we want to talk to everyone about,” added Strachan. “We’re hoping to come out of this with a clear message from the community on where they’d like to see a skate park go and let that be our focus.”
Thinking several steps ahead, RSA wants to do as much advance work on the project as they can so that when the final plan does come back to council it will have the best chance of succeeding and progressing quickly.
“It’s important that at the end of this process we want to say this is the direction we want to go in this location but it is all going to come down when we go back to council in December 2011,” noted Strachan.“There will be a process after that fact to finalize this location and do anything else we need to do to make the site ready for skate park construction, so we want to streamline that process by working with any concerns out there now beforehand.”
In the meantime, the group hopes it can come to consensus on park location in the near future. RSA is currently just completely its non-profit status registration which will allow them to go after larger provincial and federal grants.

To gauge what concerns are out there, address them and work them into the plan the RSA is holding a public meeting Monday, October 4th at 7:00 PM in the Miners’ Hall. If you can’t make the meeting or want to go in with some advance information, the RSA is also working on setting up an information table in Ferraro Foods this Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening to talk to folks about the project.

The two main locations currently under discussion are the South East corner of the Emcon lot (at the Third Avenue and Washington Street intersection, or near the ball field in Centennial Park. To bring people up to speed and help initiate discussion at the upcoming forum, the RSA has drafted a list of pros and cons for each site.
If all goes according to plan there could be a skate park under construction in Rossland next summer. To get there, the RSA is asking for the public’s input to develop what could be Rossland’s newest recreational facility.

(Below Centennial soccer/ball fields):
Beautiful location, surrounded by trees etc.
Probably less difficult decision to re-zone (no nearby residential properties)
Sub-strata relatively easy to work with
Accessible by bike trail
More or less hidden from view
Could become non-skateboard related party spot
Far from services (retail, drinks, etc.)
Emcon lot
(Southwest corner)
Central location, easy access, high visibility
Contributes to greening and developing mid-town core
Less chance of skate park becoming party spot
Easy tap-in to sewer/water lines (for washrooms)
Proximity to neighbours
Possible night use and noise – park would be lit by streetlights
Might preclude other potential plans for Emcon (e.g., gondola)
Decision to re-zone might be tough

Categories: Sports

Other News Stories