RSA assigns homework prior to re-starting skatepark location process
“No skateboarding until your homework is finished,” isn’t just a phrase moms and dads of skateboarders may be using; it’s also the message the Rossland Skateboard Association (RSA) is spreading in anticipation of their newly revamped site selection process.
After running through a bumpy process of their own over the past year, the RSA is banking on experience and wisdom to guide them through a brand new way of obtaining consensus on a site for the facility. Former Rossland mayor and long time dispute resolution expert Les Carter has joined the skate-park effort and has designed a new process which starts back at square as it aspires to lead Rossland toward a location everyone can live with.
For Carter, the move is the culmination of a process that kicked off over a decade ago while he was still in office.
“A long time ago, a 13 year old boy came and made a presentation to council when I was mayor and did a very good job of explaining to city council why Rossland needed a skateboard park. Council at the time said yes what a wonderful idea lets go forward with that. That’s when the Rossland Skateboard Association was first formed. The problem here was that the little kids behind it grew up and moved away, so the project is always chasing the new generation.”
The latest generation, one that has already made serious headway in fundraising and planning, will be relying on Carter to lead them through the re-worked process.
Over a series of two public meetings, the first of which comes up on January 25th at the Miners’ Hall, Carter and company plan to involve as many people as they can in a community process designed to be inclusive and open from day one. Prior to that first meeting, however, the group is putting out a call to all interested parties, inviting them to look at the process before they come and complete some pre-meeting homework.
The expectation is that people will take some time and organize their thoughts around what their concerns, ideas or suggestions are around locating the park, what criteria should be used when selecting a location and what information they will need to help them make their decision.
The meeting itself will be held in a working roundtable fashion rather than a town-hall style meeting as has previously been done. Folks will be asked to share their hopes and concerns in a respectful two way dialogue in which all ideas will be recorded. From there, participants will be asked to discuss what criteria should be used when selecting a location and how the criteria should be prioritized.
“What we are trying to achieve in this is for people to express their concerns, set the ground rules for the process, and look at what information people need to know,” explained Carter. “We’ll also ask, based on what you’ve heard and learned, “are there any other potential sites you want to throw into the mix?””
Following that first meeting, the group will set out to gather all the information needed to answer the questions posed at the first meeting. Then they will come back to the second, not yet scheduled meeting in the spring to discuss and vote on the location. At that stage, whether a consensus is reached or not, the data will be forwarded on to City Council who will make the final decision.
Carter hopes that neighbours, residents or anyone at all with an interest will come out and participate in the facilitated process to make sure the ultimate decision is one the entire community can live with.
“There is a collective wisdom out there,” concluded Carter. “People will come to that collective wisdom on their own if allowed to discuss rationally and work through the process together.”
For more information on the process, the current sites under consideration and the previous criteria for site selection visit the Skate Rossland website.