Scott Reynolds practices his moves at the skateboard park on Monday. Council has taken over the completion of the skateboard project. Photo: John Boivin

Exhausted Rossland skateboard volunteers pass torch to city council

Organization asks council to take over project

The Rossland Skateboard Association says it can’t go on anymore, and has asked city council to take over the completion of the community’s skateboard park.

“[T]he opportunities for the RSA to raise more funds are very limited,” organizers wrote to council. “Coupled with our own volunteer burnout, we have already asked every thinkable donor, vendor/supplier and contractor for support multiple times.

“To be open and honest, the RSA is nearing the end of their ability to effectively work on this project.”

Work began on the $350,000 project in 2017, and was only expected to last a few months. While the Skateboard Association was able to bring it right up to completion, some detail work and surrounding landscaping remains.

And while community involvement has been a success, getting that last 10 per cent of the project completed has proven too much.

“[T]he approach taken to complete this build has presented a number of unique challenges to the management of the project. Namely, the project schedule has continuously been in flux while reliant on volunteers to find the time within their own busy schedules to help out,” the association notes.

“Similarly, budgeting and cost estimating/projecting is exceptionally difficult as the various suppliers and volunteers do their best to provide a deal but can’t always make commitments up-front, or sometimes aren’t able to keep commitments.”

Still, the association says it’s proud of what it’s contributed to the community.

“The park is currently open and very well used,” they wrote to council. “The park has been recognized internationally for its unique design and is attracting users from well beyond our neighboring communities.”

The RSA plans to shut down its organization this September, it noted.

‘Knew this was coming’

“My concern is if we don’t take it on, it won’t get done,” recreation manager Kristi Calder told council.

“We knew from the beginning, volunteerism was good, the grants were good, when both of those were run out everything would be absorbed by the city,” added Rossland CAO Bryan Teasdale. “So that’s why in our financial plan, in our long-term plan, the skateboard park was an asset of the city.

“We knew this was coming, we just were expecting this to happen 10, 15, or 20 years down the road, not before the finalized project.”

City staff recommended the local government take over the project and see it to completion.

City assumes cost of finishing project

Taking over the project means the city will also pay for the last of the work to be finished.

The RSA will give the city what’s left in its bank account — about $20,000. It owes the city about $33,000, but that includes a contingency fund the city provided the group at the start of the project. What’s left in that — about $13,000 — will be used as leverage to apply for grants to complete the project.

However, officials admit they don’t know what the final cost of the project will be.

Among the jobs that need to be completed include:

• The addition of more obstacles in the ‘street’ section of the park.

• Addressing the overland flow of water which is running off and into the park from outside of the park boundaries

• The addition of permanent signage for users and to recognize donors

• Completion of landscaping and integration into the surroundings

• The addition of a main entrance to the park

In the end, council voted unanimously to take over the project. It will approach a provincial tourism fund, the Municipal Resort Initiative, for funds to complete the project.

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