Having the francophone school board select the site of Riverdale’s skate park for its future high school is serendipitous, according to Skate for Life Alliance’s Simon Gormley.
“It’s fantastic news for us,” he said this morning.
For almost two years, the group has been trying to raise enough money to improve the Second Haven Skatepark.
The park, built in 1995, is outdated and doesn’t cater to the growing number of scooter users, he said.
Last week, the school board announced its preference for a high school on that site. It was the only option offered by the Yukon government that would allow for a standalone school.
Gormley said ministers Doug Graham and Scott Kent contacted him in early April to give him a heads up that skate park might have to move.
“I’ve been mostly in touch with Minister Kent because it’s his riding, and he’s been very helpful and receptive – probably one of the best helps we’ve had so far in this thing,” Gormley said.
Now, the parties are working together with the City of Whitehorse to determine where the perfect location for a new park would be.
Most members of the Skate for Life Alliance want to see a new park downtown, Gormley said.
“Most of the kids who use the park are underprivileged and hang out there all night, so ideally it would be central.”
Rotary Park and the Canada Games Centre have been mentioned as possible locations.
A new park would address a lot of the group’s concerns, such as having up-to-date equipment.
“The bowl is too shallow and steep and there’s no drainage for it,” he said.
“It takes almost until the end of May for the snow to melt in there. If it was covered, kids could use it year-round.
Ideally, the new park would be about 10,000 square feet in size, Gormley said.
Last week, Graham said that a new park would be built before the current one is torn down.
“It’s simply not fair to cut them out of their facility and not have something else for them.”
When the group put a design together in September 2013 it stated that it wanted to see picnic tables, green spaces, washrooms and a water fountain at the facility.
Max Melvin-McNutt, a Skate for Life member and multiple winner at Whitehorse’s Canada Day Skate Comp, said he’d like to see concrete used in the construction of the new park instead of asphalt.
“Asphalt can be really rough when it wears out,” he said.
A new park would probably last 50 to 60 years, Gormley said.
He hopes the group would own the park instead of having to lease it from the city, he added.
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