Hiding away skate park makes no sense

It’s sad that a group of Chemainus residents seem to feel the only appropriate place for a skate park in the community is somewhere hidden away from the public eye.

Which, of course, is one of the main reasons why a spot near the Fuller Lake arena is a terrible place to put it.

The other reason is that Fuller Lake is a place that users would have to drive to, or, more likely, get car rides to. Which makes no sense when situating a facility that is probably going to be used largely by teens.

Actually, we thought the very best spot we ever heard proposed for the skate park was a littleused area in the lower portion of Waterwheel Park, right smack dab in downtown.

But the old elementary school site is a decent compromise.

Neighbours are worried about noise and garbage and drug dealers and general hooliganism. But that’s exactly why a skate park should be situated somewhere public, where people are walking by.

Poor behaviour is generally deterred by the light of day and the gaze of the multiple sets of eyes. It is when it is essentially shunned by the broader community that there is a problem. A skate park can be a positive thing. It can encourage teens to be out in the community, doing physical activity in a fun way. That’s a laudable goal.

As to the noise concern, many public parks are only open for use until dusk, and there’s no reason the skate park can’t have such a restriction placed on it, so that neighbours aren’t bothered at all hours.

Further, the noise the boards themselves make can be addressed to a certain extent through the engineering and construction. But it’s not exactly like they’re talking about putting in a speedway or a dirt bike track anyway. Sadly, fear of the unfamiliar is too often at the heart of the objections to this type of project.

Many adults tend to look at groups of teens as a different breed, something of which to be wary. Integration of generations is not something we’ve traditionally done all that well in our communities.

Instead of looking at a skate park as something alien, look at it as an opportunity. Maybe even get out and try a board. Why not?

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