The site that will become a new skate park in Whitehorse is seen April 27, 2021. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

The site that will become a new skate park in Whitehorse is seen April 27, 2021. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

More work required before skate park can open

COVID has delayed the project

Spring is here. Bikes, skateboards and scooters are out in full-force, but it will be some time before riders can access the new skate park in Riverdale.

Construction on the new skate park to replace the aging facility that was there began in May 2020 with the park anticipated to open this summer.

While construction last year saw a number of features put in place, there is still the surrounding concrete to be poured and other work to be done before it can open.

As Breagha Fraser, a spokesperson with the territory’s Department of Community Services, explained in an emailed statement, “Completion of the new skate park was delayed last year due to several factors, including labour shortages as a result of the pandemic. The contractor will determine when to get back on site in order to complete the project this summer.”

The project for the $3.5-million accessible park had originally been anticipated to take six months with Castle Rock Enterprises awarded the work.

A precise completion date will depend on when the contractor can get back on site, Fraser said, also noting that once finished the City of Whitehorse is set to take over operations of the park and will determine when it will open.

In an April 26 interview, Landon Kulych, the city’s manager of parks and community development, said that while the city will have to wait until construction is complete, there will likely be an event (that would meet any required COVID-19 protocols) to mark the opening of the new park.

The project comes after years of work by the Skate for Life Alliance, pushing for a new park to replace the more than 20-year-old Second Haven Skateboard Park amid ongoing safety concerns.

Initially it was not clear whether the city or territory was responsible for the park with the eventual decision that the territory would rebuild the park (which is on territorial land) with the city (which is generally responsible for park maintenance in Whitehorse) then taking over the site.

The federal government is putting $2.6 million toward the project from the Investing In Canada Fund, with the territory funding the remainder.

The park is designed to be fully accessible and a place that will allow all levels of skateboarders, BMXers, those who ride scooters and wheelchair MX athletes to learn and master their skills.

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