From left: Bike park advocate Brendan McIntosh

Centennial Park frontrunner spot for new skateboard park and bike park

Momentum appears to be building for Revelstoke's new skatepark and a bicycle dirt jump and pump track to be located in Centennial Park.

Momentum appears to be building for Revelstoke’s new skatepark and a bicycle dirt jump and pump track to be located in Centennial Park.

“I think the community will end up with these at some point in time, it’s just a question of finding the right area and I’m hearing the right area come about,” said Mayor David Raven at the end of an open house held Tuesday evening to discuss the locations of the two new facilities. “I’m hearing a lot of consensus on what area.”

About 65 people attended the meeting (about 60 more than attended last week’s land-use planning forum) at the community centre, including councillors, city staff, proponents of the new facilities and members of the Southside Neighbourhood Group. The crowd was decidedly younger in age than at most city meetings.

Brendan MacIntosh and Lorraine Blancher pitched the proposal for the pump track and dirt jumps. The pump track would contain circuits for beginners and more advanced riders while the dirt jump would have four lines for people of different abilities.

“Our vision here for Revelstoke is to create a well thought out, world-class city amenity,” said Blancher.

She said she had a commitment from the builders of the Crankworx pump track in Whistler, B.C. to build the Revelstoke track. So far they have secured $5,000 in funding from the Columbia Basin Trust and expect much of the construction to be done by volunteers.

They said they needed a location in order to secure more funding. When asked, McaIntosh said his preferred location for the facility was Centennial Park.

“I think Centennial Park has a lot of space, a lot of common used area and it seems to be a good, safe community area,” he said.

The proposal for the new skateboard park was made by Karl Jost and Matt Heinz from the Columbia Valley Skateboard Association. They said the current one in Kovach park wasn’t good enough to meet the standards of today’s skateboarders

“Essentially what we want to do is make it bigger and better,” said Matt Heinz. “Its not as fun as it could be with something world class.”

The cost – around $800,000 – caused a few gasps but they said they were willing to raise the money themselves through grants and other initiatives. They said it would be built by Newline Skateparks.

“We’d take any money you’d like to give but we’d have no problem raising the money ourselves,” said Jost.

Jost and Heinz at first expressed preference to expand the current skate park but were also supportive of building a new one in Centennial Park.

“Personally, I think having it in Centennial Park would be the biggest benefit to Revelstoke,” said Jost. “To have this amazing park area with a running track, soccer, baseball, skateboarding, biking –  when you have things like the music festival they could do a skateboard competition to coincide. It would showcase everything Revelstoke has to offer.”

The idea of having the facilities in Centennial Park gained traction at the meeting when school board chair Alan Chell mentioned that the new schools would include two new ball fields, which would mean one of the diamonds in Centennial Park could be sacrificed for the new facilities.

His comment sparked off a discussion about how the facilities could be oriented and made to fit it in the park. One softball field could be sacrificed and possibly the parking lot near the Inukshuk, though no details were finalized.

“We have one of the most sports focused facilities in the province and it’s Centennial Park. It could be enhanced with these two initiatives finding a space down there,” said Linda Chell, chair of the Early Childhood Development Committee. “I know we can find a solution that works for the youth of Revelstoke, enhances our sports facilities down there and doesn’t create conflict.”

The suggestion also spelled relief to the Southside neighbourhood group, who have been expressing concerns about hosting the facilities in Kovach Park since the pump track was first proposed in 2009. Josie Goodman, who represented the Southside Neighbourhood Group at the meeting, said the group would prefer to see seniors and kids’ facilities placed in Kovach Park.

The issue will now go in front of council on July 26. At the meeting all three councillors present and Mayor David Raven seemed to support the facilities.

“It’s a no-brainer in my books,” said councillor Phil Welock.