A blistering riposte to the CVSA’s comments on CBC Radio

Letter to the editor:

This letter is in response to Karl Jost’s interview with CBC Radio on Nov.26/13.

While I respect Mr. Josts’ right to express his opinions I am taking him to task on his comment – that the reason that there is resistance to Kovach Park as the site of the new skateboard is that 6-8 neighboring people think that skateboarders are just a bunch of punks.

I am totally shocked that as a representative of the CVSA he would stoop to the lowest level and make this issue very personal, so much for integrity.

The residents of South Revelstoke under the generous leadership of C. Pearce who put together public meetings to help CVSA find a home brought much input from South Revelstoke residents and many others. Many options were looked at; some dismissed quickly others requiring more info. In the end it appeared that Centennial Park was the likely front runner.

The foot dragging by the City soon became evident. The questions of ground stability became the flavor of the month.

The world of geo tech was added to the mix, the placement of uncontrolled fill was the next buzz statement and on and on.

While I sense the CVSA’s frustration they are focusing on the wrong group. The City needs to step up and take some heat. Their Director of Engineering is the one making these statements yet tell me why it was okay for the City to spend +/- $250,000 on the new washrooms at Centennial Park on top off the old landfill.

Look at the old pictures of the Rec Center area and you will see a very large ravine. Don’t tell me that the entire fill was a “controlled fill” or why is it when you dig down 12 feet on the back right-hand corner of the Rec Center you will find cedar shavings of an undetermined depth. Why is okay to build a pool on an old uncontrolled fill yet when it comes to the skateboard park all the rules are dragged out?

In the world of high-strength concrete and re-inforcing the skateboard park is like a swimming pool. It may move but if done right it moves as one.

Kovach Park has been evolving over the last decade. It is the entrance to the much used Greenway it houses a small half-court basketball area. It has a young children’s area mostly devoid of any play equipment (anyone good at writing grant applications – contact me). It will soon be home to a seniors’ exercisie area and a little green space to play fetch with Rover and the kids.

The neighborhood welcomed the zoning change to allow Begbie Manor to add an additional 16 homes for seniors. Its time for some other area of town to step up to the plate and provide different venues for the youth of Revelstoke. Kovach Park has more than done its fair share. While it does contain the old outdated skateboard park which serves the little ones well, it is not the site for the new hi-tech park. It seems like Kovach Park is becoming the dumping ground for all good things.

Mr. Jost your comments where totally out of line you owe the 6-8 an apology. I will continue to be supportive of your endeavor because I believe in your cause but will always take you to task on comments like those made on CBC Radio

Bob Melnyk
Revelstoke, BC

Click here to listen to the comments made on CBC Radio.

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Comments

7 Responses to “A blistering riposte to the CVSA’s comments on CBC Radio”
  1. mattrebelo says:

    Bob, you have always been cordial to us and have not been negative to our group or other skateboarders, however the other letters and conversations we’ve had with some of the other 6 people that oppose the renovation to the Youth Park in Kovach have been exactly what Karl has described. Example…

    “I also do not want to stereotype about “skate boarders”. However, the reality is that I do live directly across from the skateboard park and have made some real observations in the relatively short time that we have lived here. In general the biking population that uses the skate board facilities that currently exist act in a much different fashion than the skate boarding population using those same facilities. As a resident that is regularly indirectly affected by the swearing, yelling, dope smoking, and other inappropriate public park behaviour (often late in the evening) that is clearly associated with skate board population I certainly have a hard time getting excited about expanding these facilities to encourage more skate board users.”

    Pat McMechan
    Sent to council for the Oct. 8th agenda

    “My reasons for no expansion are basic. Skateboarding is usually done by teenagers young and old.Foul language, smoking, drinking ,partying and bullying have been some of the behaviours I have witnessed.”

    Bonnie Teed
    Sent to council for the Oct. 8th agenda

    “I do not believe a new larger skateboard park that draws in more of teens and young adults will make the park an inviting place for young families and seniors. The reason I feel this way is that just over a week ago I had the unwanted privilege of listening to very loud music full of profanity over a couple hour period. The screaming, yelling and profanity that comes from the skaters at the park is unwanted. There will only be more if a larger skateboard park is built.”

    Miles Howard
    Sent to council for the Oct. 8th agenda

    As a person who grew up playing hockey, baseball, basketball, volleyball and skateboarded I can tell you that the issues described above are social issues, not skateboard issues. A new park is not going to multiply these behaviors that our neighbors describe, I know first hand. Years ago I was a Youth Facility Manager for the city of Banff managing the local skateboard park. I can tell you from experience, the majority of users of a skateboard park in towns like ours are little ones and families. This demographic will not change, this park is for them. The current park is not little one friendly and discourages the potential for young kids and families to safely have fun there. The asphalt is not smooth; there is no flow and very few features to keep kids interested.

    I can also tell you that skateboard tourists are few and far between. Although a few will come and skate, and spend money they are not going to overtake our park.

    The fear that this new park will bring in a demographic that will “ruin” our neighborhood is simply false. I say “our” because I own a home one block away. Not only will a new design to the current park make Kovach a better place for the youths, families, and elderly people of Revelstoke, it will alleviate the current social problems that have been witnessed there, by responsible users that care about the park and keep the peace and order.

    As for Centennial park, the fact is, the cost of building a Youth Facility there WILL cost the taxpayers of Revelstoke $100 000 or more. The town is looking to spend municipal funds to conduct a geotechnical survey there to get results that are right in front of our faces. The ground is unstable. Once the town spends that money to find out the ground is unstable, it will be up to us as a volunteer group to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars on top of the cost of a Youth Park, and put the project years away from even starting to raise funds. This could squash the project completely.

    I am begging the 7 people that have fought the redevelopment of the Youth Park in Kovach, to visit another town of similar size, that have a new skateboard/youth facility. Ask them what it has done for their community. Visit their facility’s to see the user groups. Ask the police if those facilities have a drug/alcohol or a criminal element. Please make phone calls to these communities, do an internet search to find these answers. I guarantee you will find overwhelmingly positive answers.

    When this community gets the park that it has shown it wants you will see first hand how positive it is, as I have seen in my experience.

    To the community members that have had a positive experience at Kovach Park’s Youth Facility, please show your support for its redevelopment by going to the Columbia Valley Skateboard Association’s Facebook page. Copy and paste the letter we have posted, or better yet, send your own personal feedback and positive experiences to city council. Send it to the email addresses we have listed on facebook.

    Thanks

    Matt Rebelo
    Columbia Valley Skateboard Association

  2. rem says:

    Matt
    You have chosen to use three families who live in close proximity to the park as examples, which is fair, but how are they to portray what they witness over and over? Their names are on public record expressing their observations. They did not name the CVSA directly for a reason. The City has been of no help dealing with the issues they have chosen not to even post a closing time in the park so the RCMP have very little that they can do. The park does not even have washroom facilities and it was bumped from the budget once already and with the current budget fiasco I am not so sure it won’t be bumped again. I feel that the radio time was intended to invoke sympathy for this project. Am I to take from your letter that the CVSA is prepared to offer some sort of commitment to honor a code of conduct? The comment about Centennial Park being unstable may hold some truth, but I would not bet the bank on Kovach Park. Is the City Engineer going to sign off on the ground stability when he has no idea how large the excavations were in the park during the construction of the South Revelstoke sewer or how they were backfilled? I still stand by my original letter. I continue to try and be supportive of the cause but Kovach with the little kids’ area the new seniors’ areas as well as the gateway to the Greenway is enough for a small park.

  3. Jeff says:

    Even as a BMXer, all these sly comments about skateboarders are a total joke and make me very upset! …Im not even a skateboarder and I can tell you they’re false. I ride my bike with my friends almost everyday in Kovach park. A lot of times it is only us bikers there. What no one is saying is that the actual skateboard population in Revelstoke is much smaller than us on bikes. We are the ones that use the park more than the skateboarders! …I can’t thank the CVSA enough for being the ones to get organized and work their asses off for us. Everyone always loves to single out the skateboarders and focus on them as a “problem” …The fact of the matter is that Kovach is used by more of us on bikes than skateboards. Wake up Kovach neighbors!! and stop picking on the skateboarders, the rest of us suffer …I wish that the people against the park would just look across the street sometime and notice that it is used more by us than skateboarders ….Everyone in my school is so excited about getting a new park. Believe me when I say that I can speak for all the bikers in town, we thank the CVSA for trying to build a park for all of us to enjoy! Keep up the good work.

  4. mattrebelo says:

    Rem, what I expect from the neighbors of Kovach is to portray a realistic picture of the parks users. One thing we can all agree on is that we love Kovach Park, it is the reason we’re all fighting so hard for it. Most of the people that are opposed to the Youth Park redevelopment have stated that they like the current Youth Park. It is to stay in place as part of the new development in Kovach that the neighbors worked on with the seniors’ equipment and picnic table upgrades.

    What is being overlooked is that the current Youth Park and its users are part of what makes Kovach a great place. As a homeowner in that area for the last 8 years I know, and you know that the majority of the Youth Park users right now are an enjoyable bunch of kids that have a lot of good clean fun there. I have never seen anything at Kovach that I felt disturbing or required a police presence.

    The behavior that has been mentioned by some neighbors has been cherry picked from rare incidents that happen occasionally at all city parks. To me this is painting an unrealistic picture of Kovach Park’s users.

    The misconception is that this user group is going to change for the worse with a better Youth Park. It is not. To answer your question to whether the CVSA is going to offer some sort of commitment to honor a code of conduct? Absolutely we will. As individuals using the park we will take appropriate action if we witness unwanted behaviors, as should every user of Kovach Park. This is how we keep it the park we all know and love today.

    We all agree that washroom facilities are a must for Kovach whether there’s a redeveloped Youth Park or not. As for the city, we have expressed our frustration with the process in our latest letter to council. We can all agree on this point. But spending the money on Centennial is not what we feel is best for the community or this project. Our original plan was always Kovach for this redevelopment. However after our meeting with the Southside Neighborhood Group years ago we all agreed that there needed to be washroom facilities. Now there are washroom facilities in the budget, and with the ground stability issues at Centennial, simply redeveloping the already existing park makes perfect sense.

    Sure the city has made this process frustrating, however if not for the 7 people that oppose this park in Kovach they would be in a much easier position to approve it and move on.

    Jeff, I thank you very much for joining in on the conversation. You are very well spoken and make a great point that this park has a diverse user group. We look forward to hearing you and your friends input when it comes to the design phase. Thanks!

    Matt Rebelo
    Columbia Valley Skateboard Association

  5. Miles says:

    Matt

    Your a right to call me on singling out the skaters as the ones responsible for the behaviour I have had to deal with and I apologizes for it. I should have related this behaviour to users of the Kovach Park Skatepark.

    I would also like to thank you for publicly naming those of us who have stated our concerns with the redevelopment of the newly named youth park (less controversial than skatepark). I believe there are others who are also not in favour of the CVSA redevelopment plans.

    As you indicated we should do, I did a bit of research on “youth parks” and found the vast majority (all but maybe two) were not anywhere near residential neighbourhoods. I do agree this type of development does have its benefits but also has negatives. As a person who has Kovach Park as a neighbour, I get to witness both. I may just be being selfish, but I agree with the SNG and would prefer to go with the Site plan developed for Kovach park.

    Miles

  6. fred mayert says:

    I sorta have to wonder out loud on this..with all the mountain trails and openness surrounding the city..why are bikers wasting their time on a man made area..and for skate boarders..why don’t they start a club and themselves police the area with their own set of rules for use..maybe organize tournaments if that is right word..get them involved more..with a little responsibility thrown at them..I am sure things would be fine..

  7. karl jost says:

    sorry for my late response as i was out of town for a couple days…

    The truth is there was negative comments towards skateboarders as a group in letters sent to council as Matt has shown examples. I was being honest in my comments and i will always be honest. I am disappointed Bob, in you questioning my integrity. I am not one to hold back information. If anyone wrote a letter without siting negative comments towards skateboarders i will definitely apologize. To anyone who did, i would love to discuss this in person to hopefully show you this is not the case with skateboarders. We are people like anyone else pursuing a sport we love. I mean no offense to anyone with this next comment, but the reality is there are people who act improperly in all walks of life and in all sports. Why is it skateboarders are singled out? A couple “misbehaviour’s” does not define an entire sport.

    I will get straight to the point here. We have done years of leg work looking at locations and trying to find the best suitable place for the new youth park (as it should have always been called as the user groups range from skateboarders, rollerbladers, scooterers, bmx and mountain bikers, even to young children who like to run around in the park as a younger parent recently told me).

    Centennial had become an option but due to newly arising factors, may not work at all. Spending tax payers money on geo-tech surveys that will at the very least delay this project for a minimum of a couple years (to several) seems to make no sense on a “maybe” location. If the ground shifts, sure the concrete will be strong but these types of parks are very dependent on the proper angles to function correctly. Shifting may cause the park to become “sub par” due to changing angles. This is one example of what can go wrong, creating a huge liability and waste of money.

    Kovach park has housed a skate park for many many years. This park (with the addition of washrooms now slated in the budget) will be for the entire city of Revelstoke to enjoy. I have people ask me daily why the park is not off the ground yet. There is huge support for this project and will be such a positive thing for the youth of this city. The fact of the matter is if Kovach is not the chosen location for the park, it may squash the project completely, depriving many people and kids of an amazing piece of infrastructure that exists in almost every little town to big city in B.C. If kovach is chosen it may also solve the location problem for the pump track/dirt jumps as the centennial park area would work great for it. Because it will be made of dirt, ground shifting is not an issue and a geo-tech survey should not be required.

    Jeff i appreciate your comments and really hope to have this built sooner than later so you and your friends have a great place to spend your time biking. I have watched the skateboard population grow in town over the last seven years i have been here. It’s great as well to watch guys like Taylor Roberts skate the park, then hop on a bike and send some airs over the bank. Revelstoke has such a high population of active kids who participate in a few of these sports rather than one. this park will be a benefit to all user groups. Keep shredding it Jeff and we’ll keep working hard until a new park is a reality.

    Rem, i just wanted to touch quickly on your worry of a “code of conduct” for the park. With the construction of a new park, signage is very important. parks these days are almost always accompanied by signs outlying the park code of conduct, requirements and hours of operation (usually 7am-dusk). We as an association, but more importantly as skateboarders ourselves will do our very best to watch over the park, it’s users, and teach the proper ethics that go with it.

    I have posted a link to the CVSA facebook page where i will be putting up a couple pictures I took of the Peachland skate park that backs directly onto houses and their sign. You can see examples for yourself and also how nice, clean and cool new skate parks look these days.

    I think Matt has done a great job with his writing and covered the issues very well. Matt thanks for responding.

    Karl Jost

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/columbia-valley-skateboard-association/121294377896177