After years of contemplation and discussion within the community, Vanderhoof will soon have it’s own skate park.
The sign for the skate park is up and construction is scheduled to start end of spring, said Jim Barnum, project manager and senior designer with New Line Skateparks Inc.
This facility will be located on Stewart St. E. The construction and design for the skate park has been done by New Line Skateparks Inc.
“The local skateboarders there [Vanderhoof] are very passionate and they have come out to a number of meetings and really put in their time. They are very knowledgeable and I think they did a great job by going above and beyond what we see a lot of local skateboarders do. These guys really dug in and got involved and did a really good job with it,” said Barnum.
Kenneth Young, Vanderhoof councillor said the total cost of the skate park is $500,000. The recreation facility will be just over 7,000 sq ft.
“It’s not a huge park. It is bigger than some of the other ones around here but is not quite as big as Prince George’s. But it is a decent size and it allows the beginners to go out there. However, it is also going to have technical areas that the expert skaters will have a blast,” Young said.
The park is more rectangular than square, he said, noting that if the District wanted to add something extra to the skate park in the future they would have ample space to do that.
Young said with the pool and arena opposite this new facility, the council is hoping to attract and retain more young families in the community.
“If you want people to move to the community you need to find things that holds people’s interests, their kids interests. Such facilities will keep them engaged and instead of just being online you are out there being active and being a part of the community,” he said.
Travis Marttinen, member of the District’s Skateboard Park Committee said that it has been a long process to get the skate park open but he is excited to be able to skateboard in the district.
“There is a group of us and we all skateboard and a lot of us are married and have our own kids who like coming to the skate parks as well. We found that we were always having to drive to Prince George or Fraser Lake and use their skate parks and it will be just awesome to drop in for a few minutes to skate,” Marttinen said.
The District of Vanderhoof collaborated with the Skateboard Park Committee to get more input in regard to design and layout. Young said they also took input from over 25 high school students about the different features they would like to see in the park.
“Jim Barnum has been aware that we wanted to build something that is for everybody and even kids on those small bikes and scooters can get out there. He has really tried to be inclusive and think about all needs,” he said.
Meanwhile, the District received a grant and had surplus from other projects so there will be no increase in taxes. Young said in order to get the project within their cost they would like to collaborate with other businesses in town.
“We could do some in-kind and do other things and see what kind of deal we can get with the local concrete company. It’s to see what kind of support we can get from the community and I know most people we talk to now support this, in comparison to year’s ago.”
There will be multiple viewing areas where parents can come watch their kids skateboard or have a picnic, Young said.
Marttinen said that $4,85,000 out of the total cost of the project has been raised. He said the committee will be fundraising by approaching some bigger companies and businesses in the area. Moreover, any extra funds they raise will go towards getting a playground in the vicinity for kids and for landscaping, he said.
The District council right now is trying to step back from the project and work with the younger generation, Young said.
“We don’t have a lot left to raise but there is a two-fold purpose there. Yes we need a little bit more money, so we want to go to businesses and industry to get more people involved but the thing is that the more the group that utilizes it the most, or will benefit from it the most are involved, that will make sure they take care of it.”
“They will make sure the graffiti is taken care of and they will have ownership. Sometimes when you build something and you hand it over they don’t have ownership. Somebody who went through the sweat and tears and built those things – now it becomes a prized possession and they don’t want anything to happen to it and they just maintain it,” he said.