Rylan Brotherston competes in a skateboarding event at the since demolished skate park in Langford. A local group is working to find a new site or multiple smaller locations on the West Shore.

West Shore skate park conversation turns to the political

Advocacy group seeking support from municipal councils for new location

With renewed energy and enthusiasm, proponents of a new skateboard park for the West Shore are making their rounds to the five councils in hopes of garnering support at the municipal level.

The first presentation, to View Royal council last week, elicited positive comments from Mayor David Screech and his fellow councillors, winding up with an agreement to send a letter of support to West Shore Parks and Recreation and the other municipalities.

“Culturally, this isn’t the battle of skate park creation that happened in the early to mid-90s,” said Westshore Skatepark Coalition spokesperson Jimmy Miller, a skater himself and a longtime advocate who once lobbied Victoria council to loosen skateboarding rules downtown, in an interview later.

“Skateboarding … is something that is ever present. We have people such as ourselves that are parents of future users, but also, grandparents are out there skateboarding.”

With much of the mystery around skate park activities such as boarding, BMX biking and inline skating a thing of the past, he said, this campaign comes down to finding people keen on “helping this user group be facilitated, it’s as simple as that.”

Miller said a recent progress update and information session, held for potential park users and other supporters, went well and elicited some new ideas. Part of the session saw attendees encouraged to write their dream vision for a new park on a large sheet of paper.

“I think when you gather people in a situation where there may not be hope, you’re battle-ready to pump up everybody’s morale. But everybody had open ears, and although slightly deflated they were not defeated,” he said of the Jan. 17 meeting. “Everybody was ready to accept where we’re at now and move forward with the consultation with the municipalities.”

The previous skate park off Jenkins Road on the Belmont secondary lands was removed some months ago. Its fate was confirmed not long after Sobey’s purchased the property from the Sooke School District.

While progress may appear to have been rather slow toward finding a new site, West Shore Parks and Recreation has been active in working with Miller and other skateboarders and advocates.

Addressing councils and securing land is one of the next steps in the process, he told View Royal council at their Jan. 19 meeting.

Coun. John Rogers encouraged Miller and his compatriots to bring their ideas to View Royal’s parks master plan workshop, scheduled for Feb. 3. As well, he suggested that an area at Watkiss Way and West Burnside Road, near the archery range, might be a suitable location for a skate park.

Screech said West Shore Parks and Recreation in Colwood would be the most ideal from View Royal’s perspective, since the Town is already paying into the organization.

Bobbi Neal, community development co-ordinator for West Shore Parks and Recreation, said a report would be created for the municipalities once the group has presented its plan to all of them.

Coun. Heidi Rast suggested the Town may be willing to donate toward a future skate park. She also questioned whether several smaller skate parks, each accommodating the varying skill levels, might be an answer to the land issue.

Miller pointed out that the skate community doesn’t necessarily separate people by skill level, but sounded open to the idea. He expanded on that concept later in an interview.

“It doesn’t have to be this humongous skate park meant to meet every single skill level and every type of obstacle dynamic,” he said. “Hey, that’d be great if we could, but financially that’s (not necessarily feasible) … Why not do little satellite skate parks in addition to more of a centralized hub? We’re game for any type of idea.”

Fellow park proponent and skater Daniel Opdendries echoed that sentiment.

“Right now we need to start with land,” he said. “Once we have land, I believe we can get the fundraising in gear,. We can look for municipal dollars and start applying for grants more readily, and we can get the community group fundraising money directed toward these projects as well.”

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

WATCH: Our Place Therapeutic Recovery Community turns into a ‘place of healing’

500 volunteers, 120 businesses worked to transform View Royal community

A party for 11 pups and their adoptive families in Beckwith Park in Saanich

The coonhound siblings reunited at a barbeque on Saturday

HarbourCats bats hot in home return

Victoria squad downs Yakima Valley Pippins 17-2

Victoria veteran receives French Legion of Honour, becoming knight of France

Ted Vaughan was a pilot in the 408 “Goose” Squadron in WW2

Witness the passion and fire of flamenco in Victoria this July

Seventh annual Victoria Flamenco Festival features free and ticketed performances downtown

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

Most Read