Times in Trail

There are solutions to the skate park question

Groups and citizens have been clamoring for a facility for some time.

The amount of backlash over the City of Trail’s recent announcement that it will conduct a survey to determine the future of a skate park is not surprising.

Groups and citizens have been clamoring for a facility for some time and it even became a topic for discussion during the municipal election forum.

Outgoing mayor Dieter Bogs admitted it was the one item he regrets not accomplishing during his time in office.

There have been surveys, open houses, detailed plans created and quite a bit of money already invested in to creating a skate park but so far not one shovel has broke ground.

Councillor Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson made an excellent point when she mentioned the low turnout from users during promotional days aimed at bringing attention to the need of the facility.

Many of the young citizens attending council said they had no idea these events were planned and pointed to a lack of proper notification through channels more commonly used by the area’s youth.

It led to some finger pointing but again no resolution.

Meanwhile, communities like Rossland, Nelson, even Ymir went ahead with their own plans spurred on more by community involvement rather than political will.

However, the recent tone of letters in the Trail Times suggest the city owes the youth a skate park after putting off a decision for so long.

I agree … to an extent.

While some may say ballplayers and hockey players never had to fundraise for their facilities, it should be pointed out that an army of parents/volunteers help fundraise for their respective sports.

Few parents work harder at getting a playing surface ready for use than baseball parents. Raking, lining, prepping, covering, drying and fixing are all part of the field duties when you sign up your child for baseball. Some parents do it more than others but there are always the diehards at every game, along with the players, doing the work.

While hockey parents can’t operate the Zamboni, they are always there during tournaments and events selling tickets, garnering prizes for raffles, baking pies, keeping score, coaching and countless other behind the scenes work that often goes unnoticed except by people close to those organizations.

Andy Bilesky Park, Butler Park and even the Trail Memorial Centre were all community efforts built through corporate donations, fundraising and, most importantly, a lot of volunteer effort.

When I read a story about the Ymir skate park and how it came to fruition on a shoestring budget and some hard working volunteers, it made me wonder about the local pool of volunteers and the expertise always eager to help when a project is planned.

Is that another possible route?

Perhaps building something on a less grandiose scale and improving it as time goes on.

Montrose did well for years with its wooden skateboard park, albeit the park has seen better days.

If nothing else, something temporary would actually allow this generation of kids, that everyone is fighting for, to have some place to skateboard while the decision-making grinds its way through the system.

No need to wait for that elusive grant money.

The $16,000 spent on a survey would probably be enough to buy lumber. Then it would be up to the skate park group to round up the volunteers to hammer it together.

Of course that might be a little too optimistic.

Perhaps another avenue might be to simply look at the latest recreation agreement between Trail and Warfield. Two communities that are closely linked finally came to an agreement on an issue that impacts us all.

Recently Warfield even discussed supporting a pump track for BMX riders.

So why can’t both communities share in the idea of a skate park? Why has the onus fallen on Trail taxpayers to foot the bill for a park that should be welcoming to all?

Haley Park would be a great location.

It’s well lit and already has washrooms and fencing. It’s a park that is already used by young families and what a great addition it would make.

I’ve played a lot of ball games at Haley and I know there are a lot of kids with not much to do while Mom or Dad are busy playing ball or soccer.

Warfield has a strong core of young people that would embrace the facility, and well within walking distance for so many families.

There is an answer to the skate park question out there. The challenge is to seek it and move forward.

Guy Bertrand is the managing editor of the Trail Times

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