Ashton Slydell couldn’t wait for school to end on May 3 so he could head to the newly expanded and improved X-Treme Skate Park, located on James Street.
The young skate boarder said he boards almost every day, and the upgrades at the X-Treme Skate Park, located on James Street and officially opened on Friday, have made it his favourite place to try out new acrobatic tricks.
“It’s really great here,” he said while assisting his younger sister Yanisa, who was also honing her boarding skills at the park.
“It’s challenging and a lot of fun.”
The original X-Treme Skate Park, which is co-owned by the City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan, was built in 1997 and has been a central recreation spot for youth for more than 20 years.
The approximately $200,000 expansion project, which began construction in January, added about 6,000 square feet of new creatively designed hills and twists and turns to the park.
The park is considered a key recreational facility in the region and is well-used by boarders, scooters and bikers.
In a report to North Cowichan’s council in 2016 when the expansion project was first envisioned, Ernie Mansueti, North Cowichan’s general manager of community services, said users have continuously requested that the park be upgraded or expanded to meet the numerous advances in skate-park designs.
The expansion has been designed with the users in mind, as the Municipality of North Cowichan invited the community to the table on numerous occasions last year gathering feedback from those that use the park the most — park users and Cowichan Secondary School students — to use in its design.
“We saw skaters and boarders on the new portion of the skate park as soon as the concrete was dry,” said North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring.
“Their eagerness to test out the skate park’s new features is a great sign that everyone involved has designed something that will be very well-used and well-liked.”
New Line Skate Parks designed the expansion, while Vancouver Island’s Radius Construction built the skate park.
Thanks were also offered to Area 51 Skateshop, which handed out a ton of prizes to kids and youth at the opening event on Friday.
Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples said “let the shredding begin”.
“The skaters are already grinding, and jumping the new additions, and it is a great enhancement to the original park,” she said.
“The park is definitely for new and old skaters, maybe not as old as me, but it does offer a large footprint to fulfill the needs of all ages and abilities.”