Skateboarders and BMXers in Pitt Meadows have been without a permanent action park to call home for more than three years, but their wait is nearing an end.
With construction almost completed on the new Pitt Meadows skate park at Harris Road Park, local boarders and bikers will be able to hit the concrete as early as the end of September, says parks manager Bruce McLeod.
The $600,000 project was designed to resemble the meadow-like setting of Pitt Meadows, with features that resemble drainages channels and ditches – all of it skate-able.
“It is, in a sense, usable public art,” McLeod said. “But at the end of the day, it’s a skate park.”
Also included in the park’s design is a stage that can be used to host outdoor musical performances at the park.
McLeod said the park’s design is meant encourage a multitude of users to share the facility.
That will help mitigate problems like vandalism and youth drinking, once associated with skate parks, said Tony Cotroneo, youth services coordinator for parks and leisure services.
“Vandalism at youth parks is a thing of the past,” he said. “They used to build these parks at the ends of the earth. It was out of sight, out of mind, and because of that, they attracted that unwanted element.”
By contrast, action parks are now designed to be in high visibility locations, at the centre of neighbourhoods.
“The kids who use the park feel like they are part of the community, because their park is part of the community,” he said.
While the new skate park won’t be supervised by parks staff, Cotroneo said youth mentors will be on hand to make sure parks users are wearing helmets and using the park responsibly.
The mentors, the majority of whom are high school students, are part of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Youth Services youth mentorship program. They are taught conflict resolution techniques, first aid, leadership skills, and are paid a small honorarium for their time at the park.
“They are there to be role models for the younger park users,” Cotroneo said. “They’re there to help keep the park clean and teach park etiquette.”
The program has been successful at the Thomas Haney Youth Action Park, he said, and has helped improve the image of skate parks in general.
“There was a lot of resistance to the Thomas Haney Youth Action Park when it was first built,” Cotroneo notes. “There’s been zero with the Pitt Meadows park, and that’s largely due to the success of Thomas Haney.”
The new park has yet to be named, but parks and leisure services is planning to conduct a contest in October to come up with a name, Cotroneo said.
• Anyone interested in taking part in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Youth Services’ youth mentorship program, contact Richard Bosma at 604-467-7443.