The Columbia Valley Skateboard Association is restating its request to build a new skateboard park in Kovach Park, following a committee recommendation to conduct a geotechnical study of Centennial Park that the CVSA says will be costly to both it and taxpayers.
“It’s our belief that Kovach Park is the best location, and we feel that the city’s plan to explore a geotechnical survey of all of Centennial Park will be a costly waste of taxpayers’ money,” wrote Karl Jost, the president of the CVSA, in a letter that was sent to regional media and that will appear in front of council on Tuesday, Nov. 26.
According to the CVSA, the city’s development services committee is recommending the city conduct a geotechnical study on all of Centennial Park that could cost anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000.
The recommendation to study Centennial Park is not Tuesday’s council agenda, but councillor Linda Nixon, the committee chair, did confirm the recommendation has been made and would be going to council in December. It still needs to be approved by all of council.
“We really need to have a heart-to-heart as council as to what direction we’re going in and what direction we’re giving staff,” said Nixon. “I’ll speak to it Tuesday at council and I’m going to encourage each council member to speak on it.”
The letter takes issue with a number of city decisions and goes over the CVSA’s search for a location for a new skateboard park over the last four years. Over the years the CVSA has been recommended sites in Kovach Park, Centennial Park and Queen Elizabeth Park. The lack of a decision has taken a toll on the group, the letter states.
Council approved a site next to the workers’ memorial in Centennial Park in July 2011. The CVSA fundraised for a preliminary geotechnical study of the site, but in June, Mike Thomas, the city’s Director of Engineering and Planning, told the CVSA the location wasn’t a good option because the uncontrolled fill under the site would make building there costly; the extra costs are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the CVSA says.
That has the CVSA pushing to rip out the existing skateboard park in Kovach Park in order to build a new one that would be about 25 per cent bigger. The Development Services Committee has recommended conducting a geotechnical study on Centennial Park before making a final decision.
Building in Centennial Park would be present significant engineering challenges, would cost far more and “the potential for disaster is real,” Jost’s letter states, adding it would delay the project by at least a year.
Kovach Park has faced local opposition from neighbours who fear an increase in noise at the park. A site plan for the park completed earlier this year includes the existing skateboard park, but not an expanded one.
“Our problem has been a terrible process, which continues with the development services committee’s Nov. 14 recommendation to hire consultants for an expensive, year-long geotechnical study of the entire park,” Jost writes. “This will not get us any closer to our goal. In our view, it will have very limited benefit future development plans in the park, as localized geotechnical studies will still be needed if new bleachers, washrooms, buildings or other permanent facilities are built.”
In October, council said it wanted to make a decision by the end of the year.
Read the full letter below: