Skate­board­ers show con­cern

Car­bon­ear youth dis­cuss safety and re­quire­ments for new skate park

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BYMELISSA JENK­INS

Grab­bing his new skate­board and head­ing into the sun, a lively teenage boy hits the streets of Car­bon­ear show­ing off some skate­board­ing skills.

This con­fi­dent teen heads to a pop­u­lar lo­cal hangout — the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion Square shop­ping cen­tre — to meet with other skate­board­ers to demon­strate their tricks and so­cial­ize with those who share their pas­sion.

The group of guys watch a car drive by while ob­serv­ing one of their own com­plet­ing a trick.

The driver of the car clips the boy on the cor­ner of his hood, leans on his horn then drives away scream­ing pro­fan­i­ties out the win­dow.

As the boy picks him­self up off the ground, he won­ders how that could hap­pen when he was out in the open on a park­ing lot in broad day­light, and very vis­i­ble to traf­fic.

This is an ex­am­ple of ex­pe­ri­ences dis­cussed by seven male youths dur­ing a meet­ing June 19 with Car­bon­ear recre­ation di­rec­tor Rob But­ton and five mem­bers of the lo­cal Lion’s Club. They were meet­ing to de­ter­mine the needs and wants for lo­cal skate­board­ers for a new skate park be­ing con­structed in the town.

User friendly

The boys — ages 16 to 23 — ar­rived at the Car­bon­ear Swim­ming Pool ex­cited, chatty and ready to give their in­put. The con­cern for safety be­came very real as they were sift­ing through the mock lay­outs done by Cana­dian Ramp Com­pany in On­tario.

El­e­va­tion on the plot where the park is be­ing built — in front of the ten­nis courts in the recre­ation com­plex — was a sig­nif­i­cant con­cern for ev­ery boarder in at­ten­dance. A cor­ner of the land has a sig­nif­i­cant in­cline, which is dif­fi­cult for them to push through on their boards, but even harder for younger kids.

Kris Crane, the old­est skate­boarder of the group, was very vo­cal about many is­sues, in­clud­ing el­e­va­tion and his con­cern for the younger chil­dren.

“The el­e­va­tion could pose an is­sue for kids on scoot­ers,” he stated. “If there’s a nine-yearold with a lit­tle rinky-dink scooter and he drops in (on the ramp), he’s go­ing to crash.”

But­ton said he would have the lo­ca­tion looked at again to see if there’s any­thing that can be done to al­le­vi­ate the con­cern.

Nip it in the bud

The guys ques­tioned what the town was go­ing to do to avoid hav­ing a sim­i­lar prob­lem that took place at the Bay Roberts skate park a cou­ple weeks ago.

The doors to the newly minted fa­cil­ity in Bay Roberts were locked af­ter drug para­pher­na­lia was found in the area.

Cpl. Brent Hil­lier with the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion RCMP said there have been some drug re­lated prob­lems in the Bay Roberts park, but hopes Car­bon­ear does not have the same fate.

But­ton was very in­sis­tent ev­ery­thing would be done to pre­vent that sit­u­a­tion from hap­pen­ing.

“We’re hop­ing to nip it in the bud be­fore any­thing hap­pens,” he said.

An­other one of the skate­board­ers, Tyler Gra­ham, said he would do what he could to stop a prob­lem from start­ing, adding he has “great pride” in the youth of Car­bon­ear.

But­ton was elated to hear the boys were will­ing to step up to the plate and ini­ti­ate a polic­ing ef­fort if is­sues did arise.

Nowhere to go

When asked where they skate­board, all the boys said the same thing — park­ing lots and on the street.

Crane said he has ex­pe­ri­ence skat­ing at many dif­fer­ent fa­cil­i­ties across North Amer­ica, and be­lieves it is time for them to have a place in their town to call their own.

Hil­lier said there are oc­ca­sions where phone calls are made to them to re­move skate­board­ers off properties, but on his shift it is more preva­lent in Bay Roberts than Car­bon­ear.

Skaters say they just hope to have a safe place so no one can get in­jured or hit by a car, which a hand­ful have al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced.

Old ver­sus new

In 2010 there was a skate park in the same lo­ca­tion the new one is be­ing built, but was in­ex­pen­sive and not suit­able.

“It was very slight and couldn’t hold up to us­age,” But­ton de­scribed

The cost of the first park was only $5,000 and was bro­ken up pretty quickly. The new de­sign, which should to­tal around $55,000, will be made of heavy steel, and will hold up for skate­board, BMX and scooter use.

The dis­cus­sion with the skate­board­ers was help­ful and nec­es­sary, said But­ton, who ad­mit­ted he knows very lit­tle about skate­board­ing.

“This park is for you guys and for those who want to learn to skate,” he said.

Crane told But­ton the im­por­tance of hav­ing cer­tain equip­ment so ev­ery­one can have ac­cess.

But­ton said there will also be a curb, and pos­si­bly a side­walk, in the park.

Crane sug­gested a red paint that is used to paint curbs in Cal­i­for­nia for their own lo­ca­tion so board­ers would eas­ily be able to use them for tricks.

“There’s a type of red paint you can paint on so you can grind any curb, no need of wax or any­thing,” he ex­plained. “Then younger kids could learn more eas­ily.”

But­ton said the equip­ment would take 30 to 60 days to ar­rive, but worse case it will be open be­fore the next school year be­gins.

Photo by Melissa Jenk­ins

Kris Crane (left), Mor­gan Squibb (mid­dle) and RJ Thoms are three of seven skate­board­ers who dis­cussed the fea­tures they would like to see in the new skate park in Car­bon­ear dur­ing a meet­ing on June 19. Other skate­board­ers in at­ten­dance were Ja­son LaForge, Chris Peck­ham, Justin Butt and Tyler Gra­ham.

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