The Smithers Skate Park Society presented a detailed plan for a new park at Tuesday night’s regular meeting of council and councillors seem to be on board with the design.
According to the society, this is coming after years of fundraising and advocacy by local residents along with the support of a professional grant writer and with feedback from Town Council and conceptual design and preliminary analysis received from action sports facility design-build professionals.
The Town of Smithers has provided approval in principle for the development of a modern multi-use public concrete skatepark facility.
And things are now rolling along.
“I just echo the thanks for all the hard work to make this happen so far,” said Councillor Greg Brown. “I’m excited to see this project move forward.”
The modern site-built concrete skatepark will be an addition to the existing skatepark on Highway 16 near the Civic Arena.
Brown also wanted to make sure the new design was inclusive for all users because he has heard from some parents of girls, that they feel uncomfortable going to current park because it is so condensed.
Society member Sarah Fitzmaurice assured Brown that she has the girls’ backs.
“Over half of the members of the skate board society are women and our mandate is to make it inclusive for all and promote the sport to women,” she said.
Skateboard park developer Everett Tetz was also on hand to help with the presentation and he also pointed out that the design should allow for more users to feel comfortable at the park.
“We see the trends now, female participation seems to be growing the fastest among new users, looking at that from a development perspective, how do we create safe inclusive space where women or other groups who haven’t historically felt comfortable in those spaces can feel safe,” he said.
Councillor Frank Wray inquired about the amount of trees that will be cut down and how visible it will it be from the highway.
Fitzmaurice didn’t have an exact number at this point but Tetz said removals will remain as minimal as possible.
“From a design and crime prevention point of view, that will be at the community’s discretion,” he explained. “We can heavily remove the bottom parts of trees for sight lines or remove or transplant trees for clearer sight lines. Some will have to be removed with roots in the way but other than that, it will be up to the community.”
Councillor Lorne Benson suggested the committee have a conversation with the town or Office of The Wet’suwet’en to talk about which trees will be removed in case there are culturally modified trees.
The price tag on the plans comes in at just under $900,000. The society has been fundraising and applying for grants to help pay for it.
Technical design of the facility is intended to be completed in 2020 with full completion by Fall of 2021.