Local skateboarders are enthusiastic about the district’s plans to build a new skateboard park, with many saying it can’t come soon enough.
Twenty-four-year-old Shayne agreed a new park is “badly” needed, but noted a lot of the older boarders will not be here in two years.
“Mostly high school kids come here,” said 16-year-old Grayam, who was at the skateboard park outside the Leisure Centre Tuesday afternoon. “I usually come in the morning and after school … I live here.”
Cameron, 18, said skateboarding was a way for him to connect with his mom’s boyfriend.
“I started when I was eight. My mom’s boyfriend was a boarder and he started teaching me. I caught on.”
Mission’s skate park was built more than 20 years ago by volunteers and has “deteriorated significantly,” according to a report to council. There are cracks, dips, and chips all over the park.
The sport has grown over the years and is now the third largest participant sport in North America for the 10-18 age group. Designs for parks have also evolved from ramps and rails to more sophisticated structures, like bowls and half pipes.
Grayam, who suggested Griner Park would be a suitable location, envisions the new park to be a big plaza with a small bowl and a big bowl. Cameron asked for ramps, half pipes, quarter pipes, boxes, and rails.
The district’s plan is to establish a project team by the end of February and seek community consultation beginning in May and June.
A new site and the final budget is expected to be approved by council in the fall. Construction is slated to begin in spring 2016 and finished in June 2016.
Coun. Rhett Nicholson, who used to skateboard as a teenager, tested the park in Mission this week and understands why the demand for a new facility is there.
“There are cracks everywhere,” said Nicholson, who is proud the council he is a part of is working to improve amenities for youth and families. “It’s dangerous and painful for skateboarders when they fall.”
Nicholson said he enjoyed the camaraderie and challenges of the sport that brings youth together.
“The older boards love to teach the younger ones because they know how hard it is,” said Nicholson, who recently bought a new board and plans to introduce the sport to his children.
Nicholson also wants to look into building a pump track alongside the new skate park to give young mountain bikers a facility to practice on.
“Mission has world-class mountain bike trails, but there is no succession to use them.”
“If we combine it with a skateboard park, maybe it won’t cost us as much.”