Jayden Lee

Jayden Lee

Youth add voice to skate park plans

The prospect of the new skate park moving to Webster Road is starting to appeal to some of the local users.

The prospect of the new skate park moving to Webster Road is starting to appeal to some of the local users.

City council decided last week the skate park will not be built at the Twin Rinks site, alongside the new Sardis library, as originally planned.

The Progress headed out to the existing skatepark at Twin Rinks to see what folks had to say about the new location.

Curtis Grann, 18, has been riding BMX at Twin Rinks since he was five years old.

“This one is just basic,” he said.

He lives on the other side of town now, but still returns often to his childhood skate park.

The new site is about two kilometres away from the old one, on a city-owned green space set aside for future parklands, within a development by Canada Lands Company known as the “Webster Block” on Webster Road at Keith Wilson Road.

“You know it’s not too bad,” Grann said about the new location. “I think it’s kind of in a good spot over there.”

What he’d like to see at the new facility is higher “quarter pipe” metal ramps to do tricks on.

Both skateboarders and BMX bike riders will be accommodated in a design-build process starting soon for the project.

Grann was stoked to hear that separate areas and features are being considered for bikers and skaters.

“I think that will make it way better if we each have our own sides,” he said.

Bike riders and skaters have distinctly different needs at a skate park.

“Bikers try to get more air so they like higher ledges, while skateboarders tend to look for lower jumps,” he said.

Chad Mabberley, 15 and recuperating from knee surgery, was watching from the sidelines. The BMXer underlined it’s important to cater to each group in different ways while planning the new park facility.

“Make it suitable for both bikes and boards,” he recommended.

Mabberley said he’d like to see a “vert bowl” or vertical bowl-shaped feature to better defy gravity at the new park.

“The new location is good, too. I live at Garrison Crossing so it’s just an extra five minutes.”

Concerns about size of the proposed new skate park, as well as possible conflicts with neighbours around Twin Rinks, over noise and other issues were the deciding factors in moving it to Webster. So city officials decided quickly over the summer to switch locations, to one that will have more eyes on the skate park, with apartment buildings set to be built in the planned development around the park.

Three design-build teams were chosen to submit skate park construction proposals to the city, and consultations with users and staff will be conducted as part of the process.

Shane Lillies, 30, admitted he’s getting a bit old for skateboarding himself, but emphasized which company is chosen by the city to build the new skate facility.

“Get someone legit to build it,” he commented. “There’s nothing worse than a crappy skate park.”

He heads out to the skate park near the Leisure Centre once in a while.

“But this one is too small and crowded with bikes.”

The two users groups don’t mix too well as it stands at the old park, and he’s looking forward to a new facility that recognizes that fact.

The new park should have “good flow” so users are propelled around the edges without having to push too much, with well-built obstacles and ledges.

“A mellower park design is actually good. If they build it too crazy it will turn kids away.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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