Skateboarders show concern
Carbonear youth discuss safety and requirements for new skate park
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.
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.
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.