Nelson city council has granted $5,000 of in-kind assistance to Nelson Daybreak Rotary to help the group develop an inter-generational park in Art Gibbon Park in Rosemont.
Rotary’s Meg Milner and Mike McIndoe presented the idea to council at its March 25 meeting, and council approved it on April 8.
The park would include a natural playground along with benches and paved (walker and wheelchair friendly) walkways, and eventually a spray park.
“How cool would it be if that park could look after little kids too young to be in the skatepark and the old kids living in Jubilee Manor next door?” McIndoe said.
“I’ve seen guys older than me up there skateboarding with their grandkids,” he added.
Milner explained that in 2016 council gave a conditional commitment to the idea but told Rotary it would have to do a community consultation and come back with results showing support.
So they did.
Milner said the survey got 200 responses representing 500 residents, with 87 per cent in favour of the idea.
Fifty-one per cent of respondents live in Rosemont, 56 per cent said they would visit the park at least once a week, and 51 per cent said they already do.
A natural playground is made of natural elements such as sand, water, wood and living plants. Proponents say such playgrounds do a better job of developing social skills, cooperation, and problem solving than manufactured playgrounds. They are are said to help children appreciate nature and stimulate their imagination and creativity.
The playground, benches and walkways will be constructed and maintained by city crews on city payroll but the equipment will be bought by Rotary. The $5,000 is an estimated cost for in-kind project management time by the city and some minor prep work.
“Rotary is going after the funds because that is what Rotary does,” Milner said. “They do it better than anybody — they have a track record of getting things done. What we need from the city is to say, ‘Yes we are your partner.’ You are going to own it and manage it, and we will be the cheerleaders and get the money.”
She said the group has already received a $1,000 cheque from Walmart and $2,000 from Home Hardware for the park.
It was pointed out that another group has applied for permission to use Art Gibbon Park for disc golf.
McIndoe said Rotary is in discussions with that group but “they want to be in the forest so it will not overlap.”
Councillor Janice Morrison suggested Rotary apply to the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) for funding.
“We know that some of their residents love the skatepark,” she said. “It would be nice to have our neighbours in the RDCK contributing in the long term.”