Note: Contrary to details that appeared in an earlier version of this story, the Nelson Skatepark will remain closed until early next week.
About 50 skateboarders came to Art Gibbon Park in Rosemont this past Sunday to help “load test” the 15,000 square foot park that includes bowl, ditch run and plaza elements.
“It held up phenomenally to all the tests,” said Chad Hansen, spokesperson for the Kootenay Outdoor Skatepark Society. “It’s well built and should last for 30 years, with minor maintenance.”
Designed and built by New Line Skateparks from Langley, the park was originally slated to open in September but the unseasonably wet weather this fall pushed back the timeline. The official opening was moved to mid-October, then further postponed until next spring.
“We sent the crews home, thinking we weren’t going to be able to finish it this year — then the sun came out,” Hansen explained.
So, the crews returned and the weather held out while they poured cement and sealed the surfaces. Hansen said it was a relief to see the park finished before winter.
“It makes everything way simpler,” Hansen said. “There would have been a lot of repairs needed by next spring, if they’d had to wait until then to finish it.”
Never mind the fact that every step in the process of building an outdoor skatepark in Nelson has been riddled with delays. It took more than 10 years for the Kootenay Outdoor Skatepark Society to secure the site and funding for the project.
New Line had to completely re-design the park last year after plans to build it in the parking lot of the Nelson and District Community Complex were squelched by unexpected added costs. The Rosemont location, despite being further from downtown, came with lower construction costs and an opportunity to expand the overall size of the park, making it the largest skatepark in the West Kootenay.
The total cost to build the park was around $600,000 and, thanks to a variety of grants and fundraising efforts, is all paid for. All that’s left is that official opening ceremony — which Hansen said still won’t happen until the spring.
“We’re planning something great,” he said. “In the meantime, I’d encourage everyone to get up to Rosemont to have a look.”