Cedar skate park closer to reality

NANAIMO – A license of use agreement between the RDN and Nanaimo school district means a much-anticipated skateboard park will go ahead

An artist’s rendition details the site plan for a new skate and bike park in the Cedar area

An artist’s rendition details the site plan for a new skate and bike park in the Cedar area

After more than a decade of up and down hills, the Cedar Skateboard and Bike Park project is rolling full-speed ahead this spring.

The Regional District of Nanaimo has reached a 10-year licence of use agreement with Nanaimo school district which authorizes construction of a 3,100 square-metre skateboard and bike park on Cedar Community Secondary School property.

With all of the required funding already in place, construction is expected to begin in August, with completion in October.

The news brings a huge sigh of relief for Vicki Suddaby, chairwoman of the Cedar Skate Park Association, who has been leading the rally for a park since 2002.

“We’re very excited that this is finally going to go through and the kids will be ecstatic to hear it,” she said, shortly after receiving the news. “It’s huge – there is no other land in Cedar so if we lost that piece, we’d have to start all over again.”

Under the agreement, the regional district will provide a $12,000 annual licence fee through the Electoral Area A Community Parks Operational Budget.

The cost of the $625,000 skateboard and bike park project is being paid for by a $439,410 grant from the province’s Community Recreation Program, which was announced last March, as well as $46,590 raised by the Cedar Skate Park Association.

The remaining $139,000 will be paid for through the RDN’s electoral area community parks budget reserves, which has been accounted for in this year’s budget, along with the annual lease.

The skatepark will be a street plaza style park, surrounded with grassy areas and park benches to encourage families to visit the facility.

In a news release, school board chairman Jamie Brennan said the park will provide much-needed recreation opportunities to youth in the Cedar area as well as spin-off benefits for the district.

“It is our hope that some of the proceeds of the licence agreement can now be used to improve the playing fields at Cedar secondary,” he said.

Suddaby said she is looking forward to being able to hold a grand opening once the park is complete, although many of the kids who were part of the initial push for the project have grown up and are having children of their own.

Regardless, the announcement is good news for the Cedar community, she said.

“Now that it’s getting warmer again, you can see the kids out boarding, and [now] they’ll have a place to hang out, to go and burn off some of that energy they have and hopefully stay out of trouble.”