Judging by the amount of skateboarders who gravitate to the Fernwood Community Centre during the warm summer months, my opinion is yes! Though the idea is relatively fresh and there are many hoops to jump through with the City, it is very much a possibility.
A skatepark in Fernwood would greatly benefit our neighbourhood. It would enhance the dynamic and creative environment that identifies Fernwood. A skatepark in Fernwood would provide a safe, all-ages environment to promote outdoor activity in a positive and interactive way. A skatepark would provide a space for kids and adults alike to learn and practice while promoting and encouraging green transportation. A skatepark provides an alternative activity for youth who don’t necessarily feel confident and comfortable with team sports, and will promote peer interaction.
The positives of skateparks in small communities greatly outnumber the negatives. This being said, there are definitely some concerns that cannot be ignored. Issues like graffiti, crime, garbage, and other stigmas that come attached with skateboarding, while important to address, can be controlled.
From experience, 99% of these problems are not caused by the skateboarders but by passersby or lurkers who have nothing better to do and, more importantly, nothing to do with skateboarding. By building pride for our skatepark we can insure a type of self-policing of the area will ensue. These problems will no longer be problems.
Another major concern is that Fernwood is a very dense community with not much ‘free space’ for a skatepark, especially a large concrete mess of a skatepark. Luckily, Victoria already has this—located across the Johnson Street Bridge in Vic West (24,000 square feet). This skatepark happens to be one of the best skateparks in Western Canada. Fernwood needs a small but versatile skatepark.
Cities like Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver are known within the skateboarding community for their volume of skateparks (Vancouver has 20+) and more importantly the amount of smaller parks.
Mt. Pleasant in Vancouver recently built a 3,000 square foot skatepark at their community centre which for its size is very versatile and fun. Vancouver also has parks under 5,000 square feet in the Strathcona and Quilchena neighbourhoods.
Seattle and Portland are incorporating ‘skate safe’ spots into the design of new city parks around their cities. These ‘skate safe’ spots incorporate skateable architecture into the design of parks. They install metal into the concrete ledges to stop the wear from skateboard trucks.
By supporting and embracing the already large skateboarding community that lives in Fernwood, the dream of a safe and sanctioned place for skateboarding can become reality.
Please follow the progress of this project at facebook.com/FernwoodSkateparkAssociation. If you’d like to contact me personally with questions, concerns, or to find out how to get involved, please email me at email@example.com.
Fernwood has an ever growing skateboard community. A group of local residents and a couple of skaters have gotten together because they feel that creating a small established skate park could be a positive community development project.
Matt G, Wallride
Photos: Luke Connor