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Online petition launched for covered skateboard area in Squamish

The petition has over 900 signatures to date; District invites feedback from the community.

An online petition for the District of Squamish to construct a dry, covered skateboarding spot has been circling the internet for approximately two months now.

The petition, which was started by a local skateboarder, Dan Rebstein, has over 900 signatures so far. The petition states that Squamish “lacks access to a year-round dry/covered skate spot with free access for the public.” 

Shane Nunn, who is the owner of the local skate shop, Stuntwood, is backing the petition alongside Rebstein.

As for the reason to start a petition, Rebstein said that he wants “the consider and know what there’s a need for [this] and how important skating is to Squamish and consider that while they’re moving forward with their plans.”

In terms of what both Rebstein and Nunn said they are looking for, the project would not need to be nearly as large as the skate park located downtown.

“Ideally, what we would want is a big flat area with a covered roof,” said Nunn. “[What] a lot of people have expressed is they just want a flat spot. Cement pavement spot with a roof over it. We can supply the boxes.”

These types of skate parks — flat cement areas with movable, skater-made ramps, boxes and rails — are not new to B.C. Vancouver has one known simply as “The Courts” and even McNaughton Park located behind Westway Village in Valleycliffe has slowly built up a variety of skateboarding objects on its court. 

However, neither of these examples have roofs or a shelter of some sort to keep the objects and the skateboards dry. When skateboards get wet, the wood will deteriorate, and the bearings and trucks can rust, leaving the board useless, hence why the shelter becomes necessary during the fall, winter and spring months in a fickle-weather town like Squamish. 

Nunn said so long as there is a covered space, he will help provide the objects for it and ensure they are made properly.

Nunn pointed to the example of the Tom Binnie skate park in Surrey, B.C., which covered a portion of its skate park for all-weather access.

“If you look at that, it’s not a covered skate park, but the bowl was covered. The bowl has a roof over it,” he said.

Squamish does currently have two options for skateboarding if the weather is poor. 

Airhouse Squamish boasts a mini ramp, though an entry fee is required and there are limited times to go. Additionally, the “Slashiter Cove” bowl was built over five years ago underneath the Mashiter Creek Bridge to Quest University in Garibaldi Highlands. That project, which started without the District’s approval, went through many tribulations before finally finishing construction. However, it is meant for advanced skateboarders and is not a “beginner-friendly” skate park, said Nunn.

“That’s a perfect example of why we want to do a right this time, why we’re going through all the steps to make sure that we don’t just start building a park because that caused a lot of controversy and we don’t want that.” said Nunn of the “Slashiter Cove” bowl. 

“We want to show that we’re trying to be respectful. We’re the skate community; we love our town. This is only going to increase the attention from skateboarding from Vancouver. It’ll bring more people down. And if we have a dry space, that’s huge.”

The District wrote in an email to The Squamish Chief that they had been unaware of the online petition and encouraged those who start petitions to share them with District staff.

The District noted that its Brennan Park Fields and Land Master Plan includes consideration for eventually adding lights and a roof to the skateboarding area outside of Brennan Park Recreation Centre. There's an option to potentially expand and improve the area for beginners, as well. These upgrades could be five or more years down the road.

The District said that new projects fall under the Real Estate and Facilities Master Plan section of the budget. In 2022, that category has a core focus on the “completion of Firehall #1, construction launch of Firehall #2 and the design and initial work to replace the Public Works facility.” They also wrote that they have applied for a grant for use on Brennan Park.

But, staff did note that the BC COVID-19 Restart Grant that helped fund the shelters around town in 2021, also has a budget of $150,000 for 2022. Currently, the options are yet to be determined and the District noted that “council will ensure that consultation takes place with youth and other community groups on the types of covered structures needed, their location, size and costs in order to create a plan for the next three years.”

“The community is invited to provide input by completing our Squamish Public Spaces survey on the Let’s Talk Squamish platform. Input is open through February 10,” reads the email.

Ultimately, consultation and consideration are what both Rebstein and Nunn are looking for from the District.

“Skateboarding should be taken into account when they’re building new stuff. They build stuff with skate stoppers on it. So, they can consider building stuff that is designated for skateboarding as well,” said Rebstein of the District.

“We’re just trying to get the town to recognize that this is a sport that’s blowing up. It’s in the Olympics this year — like it just was in the Olympics — you think that’s going to hurt skateboarding? It’s going to make tons of little kids think they can do it too,” said Nunn. 

“It’s just the right time to just be promoting it and trying to build the scene, the town’s growing, the sport’s growing, we better get on it.”