Rather than spinning their wheels on where to locate a skateboard park in Rossland, a former city mayor has helped residents understand the pros and cons of three potential sites.
Les Carter is now asking locals to consider his findings in a report that looks at 40 communities experiences with creating and maintaining skate parks, before making a final recommendation on where the site should be located.
Along with basic technical assessments, he believes residents will have enough information to determine whether the skate park should be located at the Emcon lot, Centennial Park or RossGlen Park.
“I’m going to force people to look at each site as though it were the only site in town,” he said of the direction of a meeting scheduled for Tuesday.
With a background in public conflict resolution, Carter offered to help guide public consultations on the skate park issue after witnessing a counter-productive meeting.
Residents previously felt left out of decision-making when city council passed a motion to place a potential skate park on the city’s Emcon lot, a move simply made as a means to seek out money after much legwork had already been completed on site locations.
All three potential site locations are owned by the city and all have attributes fitting for a park, said Carter, who would not share his opinion because he wants the location to be determined by residents.
The Emcon lot is “the epitome of front and centre,” he said.
“It’s very central, kids can get to it easily, it’s on access routes that are familiar and easily visible for people to look at and patrol.”
But the highways yard is close to residences and could have a louder impact on surrounding neighbours.
Centennial Park, on the other hand, is out of sight and residents may consider this a deciding factor.
“What I’ve heard from other communities is if you jump on it early and you watch it like a hawk for the first while than it will discourage (misbehaviors),” he said. “You really need to educate people that no, they’re not going to hang out here and have bush parties in the middle of the skate park and make a mess – that people are watching and they’ll be down their neck.”
The large location has enough room to build the “biggest most world-class park that you could ever imagine,” but may involve more when hooking up utilities like power, water and sewer.
Much like this site that houses the more extreme bike skills park, the RossGlen location is known locally as a recreational spot.
“It doesn’t feel like you’ve been pushed into an industrial no-man’s land or some kind of wasteland,” said Carter. “It’s a community park, people are used to it as a community park and it has that kind of feel.”
Carter is encouraging teens involved in the push for a skate park to canvass the RossGlen neighbourhood to inform them of the upcoming meeting, as the potential site was recently added back onto the list of potential locations.
Carter will outline his report at Tuesday’s meeting and then ask residents to participate in open-minded discussion in hopes of pinpointing a preferred site.
If two locations are highlighted in the end, he will bring a detailed report back to Rossland council, who will make the final decision.
“People change their minds when they understand and when they go through a process of quietly contemplating, ‘here’s what’s good about it this and here’s what’s bad about it,’” said Carter. “This is the kind of process people don’t do when they’re choosing a spouse or when they’re buying a car.”
Tuesday’s meeting will be held at the Miner’s Hall at 7:30 p.m.
Information on Rossland’s potential skate park, including Carter’s report, can be found at www.skaterossland.com
Those interested in the report can also call Carter at 362-5677 for an emailed version.