Fundraising begins for Nelson skatepark

A two-part event tomorrow kicks off the $400,000 fundraising campaign for the Nelson outdoor skatepark. - Submitted
A two-part event tomorrow kicks off the $400,000 fundraising campaign for the Nelson outdoor skatepark.
— image credit: Submitted

After weaving through multiple levels of government, championing several building sites, and waiting years for an official sign-off, the Kootenay Lake Outdoor Skatepark Society has chosen a fitting title for its first major benefit.

We Got Land! not only kicks off a $400,000 fundraising campaign for the park’s construction, but celebrates the regional district’s final approval of a building site in the corner of the Nelson and District Community Complex parking lot.

“It’s been a long time coming, so that’s what we want to do,” says society president Rob Levesque. “We want to celebrate it, and we want to get people excited. And we want to make it official and say, okay we’re doing this, let’s get started, let’s do what we’ve got to do and get this thing built.”

The two-part event, co-sponsored by the Shambhala music festival, runs Thursday from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Nelson and District Youth Centre in an all-ages format, then moves to Spiritbar at 10 p.m. for the 19-plus crowd. Admission is by minimum donations of $5 and $10, respectively.

“Everyone’s going to skate [the park], all ages, so didn’t want to exclude anybody,” Levesque says. “The full community’s included.”

Both halves feature three hip hop heavyweights, as well as a mix of local DJs and entertainers. From L.A. come artists 2mex (of underground hip hop group The Visionaries), Awol One and Abstract Rude. Locally, DJs Shashta and Dubconscious will open the evening at the youth centre, while DJ Rippel, Lokal Motif and Cypha.Nex will kick off the Spiritbar event.

Youth centre program coordinator Elliott Ingles says local skateboarders will also get their first look at a new ramp just installed at the NDYC’s indoor park.

“We took down a ramp that was 12 years old,” he explains. “Me and four other guys, and some youth volunteers have been working here day and night to try and put this thing together. There’s a big stage involved in it, but it’s also a ramp.”

Both Levesque and Ingles say they’ve seen a renewed excitement about the park since the regional district gave its blessing.

“It almost doesn’t seem real yet,” says Ingles. “But I think after this fundraiser — it’s going to be really well attended, and hopefully we’ll raise some good money, and it’ll just be the first of many. We’ll start spreading the awareness in a positive way.”

And Levesque says Shambhala isn’t the only group looking to get involved in making the park a reality.

“Now that it’s been passed my phone has been ringing and all kinds of people have been calling and saying they want to do fundraisers and they want to help,” he says.

“People are doing it almost independently, and then calling me and saying, ‘hey we’re doing this and we’re doing this.’ It feels great.”

The group has about $40,000 in the bank, raised when it was “basically a group with an idea.” That leaves at least $350,000 to go.

The regional district has stipulated that the park society can’t begin construction until it provides proof it’s raised all the necessary funds for the build.


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