Municipal officials aim to keep momentum rolling on construction of a skateboard bowl, despite the ad hoc nature of the initial work on the project.
Last week, District of Squamish officials were alerted to the development of a skate bowl on district property under the Quest University bridge. While officials have nothing against skateboarding, the project’s creators didn’t have their paperwork in order, Mayor Rob Kirkham told council on Jan. 21. As a result, they were ordered to put down their shovels.
Besides the structural integrity of the bridge and a look into environmental impacts, the district would be responsible for the park’s insurance because it’s on district property, warned Linda Glenday, general manager of development services and public works.
Glenday, though, said district officials plan to work with the group to make the skatebowl a reality.
The project has rolled ahead of itself, Coun. Ron Sander said. Its proponents need to jump through the same hoops as Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association’s members did to develop the new mountain bike skills park at Brennan Park, he noted. There was no public consultation, Sander said, adding not all neighbours may put out the welcome mat.
A group of skateboarders pooled together to make the professionally built facility a reality, said Mike Quesnel, owner of Stuntwood skateboard shop. He said he’s optimistic skateboarders and municipal staff can work through the red tape. Once built, the bowl would be the only covered skateboard park in Squamish.
“We can’t afford a warehouse,” Quesnel noted.
In 2011, the Sea to Sky Corridor skateboarders suffered a setback when the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations closed down ramps built in “The Barn” — an old building beside Britannia Beach on government-owned land. The wooden building had been used by boarders for more than 20 years, Quesnel told The Chief at the time. It gave kids a place to go when it rained, he noted.
The new bowl under construction is 22 feet by 45 feet. The area is already a hangout for teens, Quesnel added, noting with the new addition, the site can be better controlled and monitored.
“It adds another constructive activity for people to do in the Highlands,” Quesnel said, noting that if done commercially, the bowl would cost approximately $100,000 — work that is being done for free.
The group intends to work with district officials, he said. The structure is a good distance away from Mashiter Creek and already has a safe access path, he said.
“We just have to figure out the liability issue,” Quesnel said.