It’s back on the front page again: The outdoor skateboard park. Just when you thought it was safe to get the kids excited about what is to come — another snag in the plans. Will this issue ever be resolved?
Faced with the prospect of a far too tricky plot of land adjacent to the Nelson and District Community Complex, those behind the outdoor skatepark have decided to not build the most expensive per square foot facility in North America. Seems like the right choice.
The focus has now shifted away from the downtown and up to Rosemont’s Art Gibbon Park. On the surface it seems like a wise move, but the proposed location carries with it an entirely new set of issues.
Skateboarding is a pursuit of the young. Most of those who tear it up on four wheels don’t have access to reliable transportation. That’s why you find most of the outdoor skateparks located in areas where getting there is easy.
Art Gibbon Park is tucked away in a far corner of the community. Getting there is not easy. Factor in the steep climb from the city’s core and it’s made even more difficult. Is a kid who lives in Fairview going to pounce on the opportunity to use the park on a regular basis? Not if he or she doesn’t pack a lunch (and maybe even dinner).
That said, the location is already turning into a destination for kids of all ages. The bike park has opened up the area to a whole new interest group and is well used. Coupling jumps and trails with the skatepark would bring the area even more alive. It seems like a good fit.
Nelson is faced with challenges most other communities don’t grapple with. Our geography is our greatest asset, but it brings with it issues of finding flat ground. And when you are trying to build a skatepark, that is the only ground that really works.
If those behind the skatepark can address the issues of access, the Rosemont location holds tremendous promise. This facility is long overdue and our guess is that wherever it lands, it will be well used and true asset for our community.