Nelson’s plans for an outdoor skatepark are on hold again after the Kootenay Lake Outdoor Skate Park Society was informed there would be nearly $200,000 of additional costs involved with the proposed location.
During Tuesday night’s city council meeting, councillor Paula Kiss asked staff to put together a comprehensive report on including a skatepark in Rosemont’s Art Gibbon Park.
The skatepark society had been planning to build a custom designed park at the Nelson and District Community Complex, but when the city told organizers a retaining wall would need to be built and issues around fill at the site addressed, the feasibility of the plan was put into question.
“We’re really trying to find a location that isn’t going to present a significant financial burden for the skatepark society,” said Kiss following the council meeting. “The other location near the rec centre would require such a huge amount of geotechnical remediation to basically keep that concrete block from cracking or sliding down that bank.”
Chad Hansen with the society speculated the additional costs would range between $180,000 and $200,000 making it, per square foot, the most expensive skatepark in North America.
“We were looking at cozying on close to one million dollars for a very small park,” said Hansen. “We all just decided that was a huge waste of money and plus we would still need to fundraise another $400,000 or so. We started looking at other locations and the site up at Rosemont was brought to us.”
Kiss said the city and the society also looked at the possibility of building the facility at Lakeside Park, but additional costs around the flood plain presented more problems.
“Both of those locations which were obviously more ideal in terms of proximity and access to downtown were eliminated because of the financial burden they present,” said Kiss.
The society and the city are working to provide solutions to some of the issues around security, transportation, parking and access for emergency vehicles.
“When we’re faced with this decision it basically boils down to: do we build a really big, awesome park, but maybe doesn’t have the ideal location? Or do we fight for an amazing location and not build a very good park,” said Hansen.
If the skatepark is able to go ahead with construction at Rosemont park, Hansen said work could begin on a park in the vicinity of 10,000 to 15,000 square feet with the possibility of expanding to 20,000 square feet.
New Line Skateparks who designed original plan for the Nelson and District Community Complex location has said they will do a redesign for the Rosemont location for free.
“We’ve talked with a lot of kids in the area, a few of the skate shops and also the people that use the bike park and they were all of the same opinion of ‘let’s get something built,’” said Hansen.
The skatepark society received a big financial boost in March when they were given a $400,000 grant through the City, but Hansen said it is important the society moves forward with the project before March 2015.
“The grant we got through the City stipulates that the park needs to be done by March 2015,” said Hansen. “That gives us two summers, this summer and the following. If we go back to the drawing board looking for something down at the lake or another location, we could run out of time. Two summers is not a lot of time to go looking for something.”
City staff will be coming back to council at the end of November with a comprehensive report.