Our Town

Wheels spinning on skatepark expansion

Spectrum Skatepark Creations Ltd. president Jim Barnum watches the action at the Smithers skatepark on Wednesday afternoon.  - Ryan Jensen
Spectrum Skatepark Creations Ltd. president Jim Barnum watches the action at the Smithers skatepark on Wednesday afternoon.
— image credit: Ryan Jensen

The wheels are now spinning on an expansion to Smithers' skatepark.

This morning, a meeting was held with key stakeholders in the project, headed by Rayz Board Shop owner Jason Krauskopf and Spectrum Skatepark Creations Ltd. president Jim Barnum.

The ultimate goal is to add an additional 10,000 square feet to the existing skatepark, at a cost of about $500,000. It would be located adjacent to the current site.

The skatepark was built in 1997 and was one of the first built in the province.

“We've known for years that our skatepark is old, we've outgrown it,” Krauskopf said. “It doesn't have any flow.”

Krauskopf said he hopes to have the new structure in place by the summer of 2015 and plans to begin fundraising for the project immediately.

At the meeting, various design ideas were discussed, including having a covered portion that can be used year-round and also building elements for snowboarders.

One thing is certain, Krauskopf said, and that is the skatepark addition will allow all levels of skateboarders, scooter riders and BMX riders to use it. With pleasing landscaping features, it will be a space the entire community can enjoy, he said.

“It has to be multi-user,” he said. “If we make the park accessible year-round, it's going to get a lot more use and be a better bang for your buck.”

Spectrum Skatepark Creations has a track record of building quality sites across Canada and around the world.

But they're not just coming up with drab, stark, concrete skateparks. Spectrum works with the natural elements in a community and tailors a design to fit the feel of the town, Barnum said.

“How about a skateable alpenhorn?” he said, with a laugh. “The two themes that come to mind right away are the railway and the mountains and there are lots of ways we can incorporate those themes into the park.”

Town of Smithers director of recreation, parks and culture Andrew Hillaby said he also sees the need for the expansion. The summer skateboarding camps run by the town are always well attended, he said, and there are people using the skatepark every day.

The next step for the group, Hillaby said, is to approach council to see if they are willing to part with the land for the skatepark.

“They need to come to council with a clear objective, clear priorities, a clear budget and a clear ask,” he said.

Now that the fundraising drive for the second arena has been completed, Hillaby said he thinks the time is right to begin the push to complete the project.

“I think this group's timing is almost perfect,” he said.

For more information on the project, call Jason Krauskopf at 250-877-9763.


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