Skateboarder Alexander Kotanko was a regular at the West Shore Skatepark back when it was located behind the old Belmont school. The skatepark was demolished last year and no replacement site has been found.

Wheels continue turning on skatepark efforts

Nothing imminent for skateboarders on the West Shore

It was October of last year when West Shore skaters regretfully said goodbye to the region’s only skatepark, located on the grounds of the former Belmont secondary, which will soon be a major Langford town centre.

Thirteen months later, the president of the Westshore Skatepark Coalition said the immediate situation remains bleak.

“Thankfully we’re moving into the winter season where the pressure is less,” said Jimmy Miller, who has been involved with the Coalition since the old skatepark was demolished.

The loss of a skate park doesn’t necessarily mean lower participation in skateboarding on the West Shore. Miller explained that it simply means skaters are seeking other places to pull off their favourite jumps and tricks.

“It’s going to keep on going,” he said. “You can skateboard anywhere, but the allowance of that is low. You’re always going to be on private property if you’re not in a skatepark.”

West Shore skaters – Miller is among them – have been frequenting the skate parks in Vic West and Sooke to get their fix, but parking lots, school yards and parking garages remain popular places as well, a practice that isn’t always tolerated.

One of the Coalition’s platforms is that skateparks should be community-based, allowing kids – and their parents – easy access.

“One of the hopes we have is that we can sell the idea of satellite skate parks,” Miller said. “You can take the pressure off of a municipality by offering something smaller. But the real sell, or the real pitch, is to do it in more than one municipality.”

The Coalition recently gained non-profit status and has been a more cohesive group in response to the removal of the Belmont skate park, according to Miller.

“We’ve done some fundraising, done some events, done user consultation groups and we’ve presented to each of the municipalities,” he said.

While each West Shore municipality has shown support in principle for the skatepark, Miller wonders if the situation is a bit of a “hot potato” for local governments, referring to the responsibility in setting up a skatepark, including the cost, land, risk and liability.

Miller sent a letter to Colwood council early last month and the item was discussed at their Oct. 24 meeting.

“As of right now, Colwood feels very hopeful to us, but it’s at the initiation stages,” he said.

During a five-minute discussion of the item, Coun. Cynthia Day said she believes the best avenue towards making a skatepark happen remains a partnership with West Shore Parks and Recreation. She added that finding a proper space could be a problem.

“The stumbling block appears to be that the grounds at Westshore Parks and Recreation are pretty much full. There’s not really a lot of locations left there,” Day said.

She agreed with Miller that a satellite home needs to be found, but a more concrete plan from the users is needed, she said, to give council a better idea of which sites might work and which are unsuitable.

Mayor Carol Hamilton suggested the Coalition hold meetings in the near future in order to engage users in the area.

For now, it appears that patience will be required from the skateboarding community.

But for West Shore youth simply looking for a convenient place to hone their craft, that can be a struggle.

“When you’re describing this patience game to kids that are between (the ages) of six and 26, it’s a tough sell,” Miller said. “People aren’t really stoked on the waiting game.”

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Province overrules View Royal; plans to build handyDART facility

View Royal Mayor calls province’s actions “heavy handed” and “unusual”

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Oak Bay father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

Residents say Monday’s fatal crash in Saanich wasn’t unexpected

Speed has long been a concern for neighbours in the Cumberland and Union roads area

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

Victoria Conservatory of Music bursary fund reaches $1M mark

The Eric and Shirley Charman Bursary Fund launched in 2017

WATCH: United Way #Drive4Five event launches campaign to raise $5 million

More than 80,000 lives changed last year by the United Way

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Majore Jackson, 34, sentenced to two more years in jail in provincial court in Nanaimo

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Most Read