$800,000 skateboard facility proposed for Centennial Park

By David F. Rooney

Two local non-profit groups are advocating construction of a new skateboard facility and a separate mountain bike pump track and jump ramps at Centennial Park.

Lorraine Blancher explains the Trail Alliance's proposal for a pump track to the crowd of about 50 people who attended a public meeting Tuesday. David F. Rooney photo

The Revelstoke Trail Alliance (RTA) says it can build the pump track and jump ramps for relatively little money — certainly well under $100,000. The Columbia Valley Skateboard Association has attached a price tag of between $700,000 and $800,000 to a new skateboard facility.

Both projects could, if the City is willing to approve them, be built at Centennial Park.

“These kinds of things will get used by a wider group of people if they’re in a central location,” said Brendan MacIntosh of the RTA.

In a further e-mail to The Current he said:

“If we were to hire a specialty group to construct pump tracks, the cost would be close to $100,000. This is not our plan.We already have a small grant from (the Columbia Basin Trust) CBT ($5,000) and the rest of the expense will be donated in kind. We are not seeking grants or more money. The whole project will be completed for approximately $7,000 plus a lot of volunteer time and machine time. This will be a community youth-driven project.”

He also said the much of the labour to build the pump track would be donated.

Neither project would be built using taxpayers’ money, the proponents told the approximately 50 people who attended an open house at the Community Centre last Tuesday.

Building both facilities at Centennial Park might necessitate the elimination of one or two of the park’s ball diamonds and could impact the amount of parking available near the park. However, Alan Chell, chairman of the school board and a former Kokanee Challenge organizing committee chairman, said the new schools being built will have their own ball diamonds so there would be no net loss of ball fields.

Matt Heinz of the Columbia Valley Skateboard Association shows Public Works Operations Manager Darren Komonoski how a new skateboard facility and a pump track for mountain bikers could fit into the existing set up at Centennial Park. David F. Rooney photo

The Skateboard Association’s Karl Jost said having a modern, up-to-date skate board — and by implication a pump track and jump ramps — would be yet another draw for young people and others who enjoy mountain biking and skateboarding.

Take the Revelstoke Glacier Challenge for instance. The annual event already draws lots of families. Having a modern skateboard park and pump track in town would be an added draw for them as it would mean their children would be occupied while their parents play ball, Jost’s colleague, Matt Heinz said.

There was a fair amount of support for these projects evident in the room.

“Frankly I think Council just needs to get off its butt and approve this,” said Corin Flood.

Mike Brown, one of the architects of the newly released Youth Action Plan, said it was “really important that young people have an opportunity to get involved.” His views were echoed by Social Development Coordinator Jill Zacharias.

Josie Woodman, representing the Southside Neighbourhood Group noted that the existing skateboard facility in Kovachs Park “has been dumped on as old and decrepit” and if it were to be replaced “there are all kinds of (new) things we would like to see in the park for seniors and children.”

City Council will consider the two proposals on July 26 and it is likely that both the mayor and councillors will have questions for the project proponents — particularly questions about financing and how the proposed projects would fit into the available area.

“There are no deep pockets,” Mayor David Raven said, adding that he “would never promise people money.”

As for how everything would fit together, Darren Komonoski, operations manager for Engineering and Public Works, said a thorough walk through of the park would be required to see how it might work.

Everyone seems to think that there are enough grants available to support a combined project value of almost $1 million. But that remains to be seen.