Skatepark Association gets an early Christmas gift from City Council

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
December 15th, 2010

In what seems to be becoming a new annual Christmas tradition in town, Rossland City Council has shown its support for a skatepark again this year in its final council meeting before Christmas. In a 3-2 vote, council supported a recommendation to allow the Rossland Skateboard Association (RSA) the use of city photocopying machines to a limit of $500 as well as two free uses of the Miner’s Hall for public meetings to be held in the new year.

  In addition, the City also signed a letter of support for the RSA to accompany the association’s communications with other communities as they research how such towns successfully implemented skate parks.   Councillors Laurie Charlton, Andy Stradling and Kathy Moore voted in favour of the motion while Kathy Wallace and Jill Spearn voted against it, with Spearn noting that she was “voting against the $500 limit, not the skate park project itself.”   While the overall impact of council’s most recent gesture of support may not be as big as last year’s gift of a two year option on the Northwest corner of the Emcon lot, the new support will provide a boost to the association as they embark on the next phase of their project: in the new year, the RSA will be launching an in depth public process to determine where to situate the park.    “We’ve had lots of public events since Council gave us the green light to start fundraising, but what’s been missing is a formal process that engaged the whole community,” said Robin Strachan, one of the RSA’s Board members. “At our last public meeting Les Carter, who has years of experience with this kind of thing, volunteered to help out, and we jumped at the offer.”   The first public meeting in the new process will be scheduled in January to agree on sites that should be considered and criteria to be used in assessing them. The spring will bring a second meeting to engage the public in the actual judging of locations based on the established criteria.  Before the first meeting, says Carter, “we’ll all have some homework to do. People need to think about the sites and criteria we’ve proposed, and whether they want to change them. And RSA needs to find out about how skateparks have been working in other communities like ours.”   If all goes according to plan, the process will be completed by April of 2011. At that time the group will present their results to Council.   “Council will not be bound by the results of the exercise,” Carter was quick to note, “but if it is done properly the results will be hard to ignore.” The group is hoping to involve a broad cross-section of Rossland’s citizens. “Anyone who’s impacted by the decision should be involved,” notes Strachan, “and since we’re talking about a resource for the whole community, that means everybody should have a say.”   Through the remainder of 2010 the group will continue to actively drum up residents to participate in the exercise. If you wish to participate you can sign up at the RSA website or get in touch with Les Carter.

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