When Jimmy Miller looks at the grassy knoll at West Shore Parks and Recreation he sees opportunity.
The site, next to the golf course and pro shop and the beach volleyball courts across from The Q Centre, has been selected by the West Shore Parks and Recreation Society as a potential site for a skatepark. But Miller sees more than just the pouring of concrete.
“I see options. I see natural integration into the landscape … I see ways to think creatively,” said Miller, president of the Westshore Skatepark Coalition, an organization dedicated to the creation of new skateparks in the West Shore.
The West Shore Parks and Recreation Society has moved one step closer to bringing a new skatepark to the region. After sending out a request for proposals, the society has selected New Line Skateparks Inc., a design and construction firm that specializes in skateparks and skateable environments, to design the skatepark.
Wade Davies, manager of operations, said New Line was selected because it’s a local company, has expertise in the industry and came in as the lowest of four bids.
For the skateboard, BMX and scooter community, it’s a huge step forward. “I’m excited with any step forward or turning of the wheels, just moving forward is the main thing at this stage,” Miller said. “To get to this phase, it’s rewarding, it’s a chapter marker. Everybody deserves a place to play and right now we’re talking about a demographic that doesn’t have a place to play.”
The West Shore’s only skatepark was located behind the old Belmont school, but was torn down in 2015, leaving skateboarders to travel to other parts of the region such as Vic West and Sidney to continue their passion.
Now, the search is on to find out what elements skateboarders would like to see in their potential park, with public consultation beginning in the new year, followed by a 12-week timeline to have the designs completed, Davies said.
West Shore resident Craig Hanna, whose son skateboards anywhere from four to five times a week, would like to see rails, a snake run and a bowl.
Long-time skateboarder Neal Donegani hopes to see ledges, rails, stairs and banks. “For the user group that lost the West Shore skatepark, it’s going to be somewhere they can go and they don’t have to travel by bus to get to or by car,” Donegani said. “It will just be a place where they can do what they like to do.”
While selecting New Line for the design is a big step forward, the biggest hurdle will be raising the funds needed to build the park.
The coalition will be responsible for raising the funds, though Miller declined to say how much it would cost nor would he give an estimated timeline for completion.