The first drawings of the proposed outdoor skatepark in Nelson's Art Gibbon Park.

The first drawings of the proposed outdoor skatepark in Nelson's Art Gibbon Park.

City hosting open house for proposed Nelson skatepark

With Nelson council giving the green light to the location for the outdoor skatepark, politicians are now looking for public input.

With city council giving the green light to examine the preferred location of Rosemont for the outdoor skatepark, politicians are now looking for public input.

In mid-December council accepted the Art Gibbon Memorial Park in Rosemont as the latest location for the much awaited public amenity. Full acceptance is contingent upon public input which will be sought next Thursday. On January 24, from 7 to 9:00 p.m., the Kootenay Lake Outdoor Skatepark Society (KLOSPS) and the City of Nelson are hosting an open house to present the plan for the creation of what’s being called an “all wheel park.”

The public is invited to view plans for the park, and share comments and feedback on the proposal. The open house is being held at Rosemont Elementary School, at 1605 Crease Avenue.

“We really hope Rosemont residents embrace the idea of this great new park in their neighborhood,” Mayor John Dooley said in a press release. “It will be an extraordinary venue for sport and culture to flourish for many years to come.”

In a tireless effort that began over 10 years ago, KLOSPS and its numerous volunteers have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, studied similar skatepark plans around North America and researched numerous proposed sites in Nelson.

“The Rosemont site gives us the very best bang for our buck,” KLOSPS spokesperson Chad Hansen said. “We don’t need to worry about expensive site prep costs because Art Gibbon Park is ready to build on. Every dollar we have raised would go directly to park construction. Also, it’s a much larger site — and that’s a major plus.”

Hansen said the new park, which would be similar to those in West Vancouver and New Westminster, could measure up to 20,000 square feet and will make the Art Gibbon green space ideal not only for skateboarders, but BMXers, mountain bikers and in-line skaters.

“The new proposal fits very well with the existing bike park,” city nanager Kevin Cormack stated in a press release, adding that the expanded recreation space will be “an outstanding park for Nelson, the Rosemont community and the entire region.

“With the addition of the skatepark, improved pathways, the new natural building washroom and the bike park, we will have completed 90 per cent of the proposed improvements slated for Art Gibbon Park, with only a children’s playground still to add,” Cormack said.

Time is pressing however.

To cover the cost of the estimated $600,000 project, which will be designed for free by Langley’s New Line Skateparks, KLOSPS and the city have secured a $400,000 Community Recreation Grant from the provincial government, along with $61,000 from the Columbia Basin Trust, $10,000 of which was allocated by city council from the CBT’s Community Initiatives Program Fund for City of Nelson projects. The provincial grant will expire if construction of the park isn’t completed by March of 2014.

Hansen and the city say construction on the all wheel park could begin this spring, which would ensure the new venue would be entirely ready for use and open to the public this summer.