A 10,000-square-foot expansion to the skateboard park in Heritage Park got one step closer to reality Tuesday, July 7.
Proponents for the expansion, Boarding for Brant, along with town council and designer Spectrum Skateparks agreed on a framework for the three entities to work together. However, even if all goes well, work on expanding the park won’t begin until next year, at the earliest.
“We want to build a flagship,” Boarding for Brant spokesperson Jason Krauskopf told council at a committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, July 7. “We have a prime piece of real estate that is under-utilized.”
The proposal will see Spectrum Skateparks design and build the expansion to the existing 5,000 square foot skateboard park, located just off Highway 16. Boarding for Brant, which is currently fund-raising for the project, will finance the cost of the design and construction, after which the park, which is on town land, will become the responsibility of the Town of Smithers.
“Boarding for Brant has raised enough money to proceed to Phase 1,” Krauskopf said.
Phase 1 will include an initial concept design that will then be presented to the town, as well as stakeholders and public, prior to a final design being developed.
The existing park was built in 1995.
“It was designed by a 19-year-old me,” said Rob Maurer of Boarding for Brant. “The sport of skateboarding has definitely changed.”
Because of the nature of the proposal, which sees a community group funding what will become a town-owned facility, council had plenty of questions as to how things will proceed.
“We’re trying to avoid surprises,” Mayor Taylor Bachrach said of the questions. “It’s not for a lack of enthusiasm for the project … We’re really excited about seeing this project get to the next phase. We’re laying out a roadmap to get to the other end.”
Once the skatepark is built, the town will assume costs of maintenance which, according to Jim Barnsum of Spectrum Skateparks, isn’t much more than if the site was in grass. Town staff will be responsible for emptying garbage cans, inspecting, and other maintenance.
Council approved a motion, which will come before council at its next regular meeting July 14, authorizing the town to work with Boarding for Brant to move the project forward.
It’s all Boarding for Brant needs to get started on getting Spectrum Skateparks to develop the initial design, which will involve stakeholder, public, and skateboarder input. Meetings will likely start in the fall. On top of all that, Boarding for Brant will actively be fundraising to pay for the park.