Brent Burridge and Brandon Bonke saw a long-time dream realized with the official opening of Crofton’s Gerry Hurst Skate Park on June 22.
The men, both 22, have been members of the Crofton Extreme Skate Park Association, which has been actively working towards building a permanent skate park in the community, since 2002 when they were just seven years old.
The pair, along with other members of the association and the community, have been fundraising for the new 5,500-square-foot, approximately $200,000 facility on Chaplin Street for years.
“It feels good,” said Bonke as young children excitedly used skateboards and bikes to fly around the new park’s many concrete curves Thursday afternoon.
“It’s nice to see children using the space and not having to travel all the way to Chemainus or Duncan to have fun in a skate park. We used to have to skateboard on the street and this is a much safer way for the kids to gain skills and have fun.”
Constructed by the Vancouver Island-based Radius Construction, the new skate park can accommodate different skill levels for boarders, bikes and scooters.
Jon Lefebure, the mayor of the Municipality of North Cowichan, which contributed the bulk of the funding for the new facility, said the skate park is just one phase of further park and revitalization plans for Crofton.
He said plans also call for upgrades to the adjacent boat launch and parking areas, and nearby streets.
“But the first step is the opening of this skate park and I believe that we started this project the right way, by completing a facility for the youth of the community,” Lefebure said.
“It’s all part of the community vision for Crofton, but there is still lots of work to be done. The skate park idea started with Gerry Hurst who understood the need for a recreational facility like this, and it turned into a real community effort.”
Hurst died on April 12.