Centennial Park, not Kovach, still right spot for new skatepark

Reader doesn't believe decommissioned landfill should prevent skatepark in Centennial Park, doesn't want skatepark at Kovach Park.

Editor,

This is an open letter to Revelstoke City Council.

It is my understanding that on Oct. 8, 2013, the Columbia Valley Skateboard Association (CVSA) will be making a presentation to council to reconsider Kovach Park for an expanded skateboard park. I’d like to speak to this issue but need to provide some history first.

In the July 26, 2011, council meeting a motion was passed choosing Centennial Park as the preferred location for a new skateboard park. The CVSA was informed they would need to have a geological assessment of the area done. The expected cost would be +/- $5,000. The CVSA then proceeded to raise funds for this. When they had raised the money needed, they informed the city that they were ready to proceed.

At this point they were requested by the city to attend a meeting with Mike Thomas (Director of Engineering) and Laurie Donato (Director of Parks & Recreaction). At this meeting they were informed that they could not proceed forward in the designated area. They could not disturb the clay cap over the old landfill. Therefore, they have since then come full circle back to wanting to expand Kovach Park.

I had a brief conversation with Mr. Thomas on Sept. 26 and was asking for a time to meet to discuss the above issue. He informed me that he was too busy to meet and that he was accepting staff information to proceed on this topic in his report to council.

The problem is, I was the public works foreman in 1995 when we dug test holes in the ball fields, outside and around the areas mentioned. The area that the CVSA is being denied, is outside of what would be the dike (river side). This area was filled more than 20 years ago with materials removed from under the streets that had been rebuilt. It is over six-metres deep and lies over the old original landfill from 50-plus years ago.

The aforementioned staff information source is puzzling as it is not from our finding in 1995 (as we found nothing of concern in holes dug about four metres deep). The clay cap that is not to be disturbed in the area outside of the dike does not exist. You can stand on the lower bench (grassy area below and to the right of the workers memorial) and look at the fill in question. The lower bench is the top of the old landfill. The skateboard park would not even be close to this depth.

On this basis, why was the new concrete block washroom allowed to be constructed on top of the newer landfill area, yet a non-enclosed skateboard facility cannot?

The City is proposing to bring the lagoon outfall to an area downstream of the boat launch. This line will have to come through the park at a depth, which will very likely disturb the landfill area, in order to be close to the low water mark. (Residents of the Community Centre bench area should pay close attention to this project as the prevailing winds are from the west).  This appears to be acceptable for the City, but again, the skateboard facility is being denied – double standard!

It is well over two years since council’s approval for Centennial Park was given as the preferred location, and it has now come full circle back to Kovach Park. It seems there are underlying issues that continue to prevent the project from succeeding.

The residents of Southside have spoken loud and clear about their opposition of expanding the skateboard area in Kovach Park, and now again face the issue. The majority of the residents of the Southside community fully support the CVSA finding a home for their skateboard park, however Kovach Park is supposed to have a young children’s play area, a seniors equipment area, (of which the Royal Bank has graciously donated $25,000 towards this project), as well as some tables, a few trees, the existing small skateboard area and a little green space.

The promise of a washroom – budget 2013, now bumped to 2014 – still remains as a promise as well. One more budget bump leaves it to the next council to deal with.

If council agrees to CVSA’s application to expand in Kovach Park, then their words of past to the Southside community residents have no value. What a legacy to be remembered by.

Can you not envision this skateboard park being in the Centennial Park area with the Columbia River and our mountains as a backdrop? What an awesome addition to our sports showcase and at no loss to existing ball fields. Council, fulfill your promise to find them a home in Centennial Park.

Bob Melnyk,

Revelstoke

 

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