The RSA and several councillors who voted in favour of the location see it from the polar opposite position. Rather than stalling future development (so far there has been no interest from developers), they believe the skate park could be the spark that ignites action and interest in the area. “Which comes first, the horse or the cart?” asked Councillor Jill Spearn rhetorically. “We have a plan that goes out for RFPs [request for proposals] and we don’t have anyone interested. The time is not right for that site [to be developed]. It may hopefully someday come into a beautiful city centre, but does that stop us because that doesn’t fit into the plan we’ve adopted? Plans change and all of a sudden we have a group that is active and want to get this thing going while we wait around for another 100 years to get this site developed?” “It’s fantastic news!” exclaimed Aaron Cosbey who, along with a dedicated team of volunteers, has helped bring the long-desired dream of a Golden City skate park one long rail slide closer to reality. A motion before council to approve the recommended site in southeast corner of the Emcon yard, for up to two years to allows the RSA to move forward with fundraising and design work. Council voted 4-1 in favour with Councillor Laurie Charlton opposed. Councillors Andy Stradling and Hanne Smith were absent for the vote. Claiming that a skate park was not one of the recommended uses for the lot in the Midtown Transition Plan and that neither the School Board nor RSS had been consulted in the process, Boscovitch “respectfully ask[ed] for a deferral.” Meetings are already planned for September to discuss what type of park and what sort of elements the community and stakeholders would like included in the project. The group will now ramp up their efforts, applying for larger scale grants to get to the likely $100,000 plus total cost of the park. Charlton, voting against the motion, cautioned that the City had spent a lot of money purchasing, surveying and removing unsightly buildings from the property and that constructing a skate park would have a negative impact on any future residential or commercial development. A short aulie to the east of their previous location, the Rossland Skate park Association (RSA) has finally found a permanent location for their skate park. Following a well-chronicled saga in which RSA essentially wrote the book on how to engage the local community, city staff, council, other experienced cities and skate park groups as well as the local skaters themselves, the group have landed a prime piece of skatable real estate in Rossland’s midtown transition area, otherwise known as the cracked pavement lot on Third Avenue commonly referred to as the Emcon lot. “We get to do the fun stuff now,” explained Aaron Cosbey. “We get to ask the community, the skaters, the neighbours and everybody what kind of features they’d like to see in this park. I’m really looking forward to this part as people will now get even more engaged. At the same time we’ll keep working on fundraising and ramp that up now as well.” “I would suggest all of this investment will be wasted if we put a skate park in that location,” added Charlton to the discussion. “Proponents suggest the impacts on existing neighbours can be mitigated with expensive landscaping. But I suggest no amount of landscaping will mitigate future commercial or residential development on the lot itself. Certainly the residents immediately across Washington on the south east corner will be impacted. I would suggest if it is put on the Emcon lot, it’s unlikely that any other residential or commercial development will take place at that location.” “Will it be a street park, bowls, will it have a pump track, BMX features, be multi use, have a track for the roller derby girls around the outside? Those are the first levels of discussion. Once we’ve decided what elements we want in it, we can get into the specifics of how it might look and then try and work with the existing space and the neighbours to provide noise control. We’ll also be working with the planning department at the City. It starts with the high level questions and then narrows down to specifics as we move along.” “We’re looking forward to making this the first step in the greening of that space. It’s a beautiful space. It should be the central focal point for Rossland gathering space or Rossland for civic events, where we go to light the Christmas tree and where we go on Canada Day. That’s the space all that civic stuff should be happening on and I think this is a beachhead on the greening of that space.” The RSA will now have two years in which to plan, design, fund-raise and come back to the City to go through the rezoning that will be needed on the former industrial space. The hope is that the full two years won’t be needed, however, and that possibly by the summer of 2013 sods can be turned and construction begun. Cosbey also sees the skate park as the beginnings of great things for the lot, which has sat stagnant and unused for years apart from several months of ice skating in recent winters. With firm support from the city in hand, and a location to begin design, budgeting and fundraising work around the RSA is now anxiously looking forward to moving into the park design phase. Not everyone is happy about the location now settled upon. During the public input period prior to Monday’s council meeting Randy Boscovitch, speaking on behalf of the Emcon Residents Group, implored council to defer any vote on the skate park location until they had a chance to present to council. “The deferral is specifically to allow the Emcon Residents Group to present to council a complete summary of the midtown summary work done by Urban Systems and the City of Rossland.” To date, the RSA’s fundraising efforts have ground out just over $20,000, with additional monies held in trust by the Rotary Club (who are backing the project with their own fundraising efforts). Folks wishing to assist with fundraising can drop change in the ramp-styled donation boxes at may downtown merchants, participate in Gnarlie’s Angels or Rotary Club events, or simply go to the Nelson and District Credit Union and make a donation directly to the RSA.