A local group has set up an online funding campaign to bring a skatepark back to the West Shore, three years after the Belmont park was sold off and removed for redevelopment.
The West Shore Skatepark Coalition has provided a finalized design and is asking for the community’s help to reach its $25,000 goal.
“With the Belmont skatepark’s removal, there’s no such amenity for anybody in the western communities,” said Jimmy Miller, one of the group’s members. Skateparks in the region require a drive out to Sooke, Mill Bay, Victoria West or Gordon Head.
The new skatepark would have proper facilitation that the Belmont one lacked, Miller said. “We want something that can be of benefit for kids of all ages, with washrooms nearby, a helping hand if need be, and first aid.” BMX riders, inline skaters and scooter kids are also welcome to the new park, he added.
The money raised would cover some of the costs needed to build the park from scratch, next to the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre volleyball courts. The recreation organization has supported the idea, providing the space and being involved with the group since the project began, Miller said.
“I think they understand that this is something that makes complete sense within their portfolio of activities for youth and families.”
Without a dedicated skatepark in the West Shore for the past three years, riders have lost time and opportunity to derive value from these sports. “These are kids that would normally have a place to roll and express themselves and learn more about themselves and confidence,” Miller said.
The project – requiring concrete work, rebarring, excavation and drainage systems – would easily reach six figures. The group has opened an account at Williams Scrap Iron & Metals on 2690 Munn Rd. and is accepting scrap as donations.
The facility will accept donations of any kind of metal besides propane tanks and fridges, said the company’s office manager Bruce Klette. This includes “old cars, appliances, aluminum and copper piping, electrical wire, steel products and car batteries as well.”
West Shore Skatepark Coalition members are happy to do pickups for donations.
The group includes skateboarders, parents of skateboarders and “well-intentioned individuals who want to see people looked after in the West Shore,” Miller said.
The “delayed response” in replacing the skatepark was painful as well as personal to some skaters, Miller added. “If a community’s sole basketball court were removed it would be a no brainer to replace it.”
He added, “Skateboarding is in the 2020 Olympics and it’s a for sure thing, and we have local talent that would likely be featured in the 2020 Olympics. The western communities see themselves as an area where people can push themselves further in this recreational or physical sense with other sports, why can’t we look at it like that with skateboarding and a skate park? I think it fits perfectly.”