Peggy Lake

Peggy Lake

Harewood moves ahead with skate park addition

NANAIMO – The city will flesh out designs for a new skate park at Harewood Centennial Park.

Harewood’s new skate park is ramping up.

Nanaimo city councillors voiced support for a new youth park at Harewood Centennial Park Monday, agreeing to spend $27,000 to flesh out details for project and include it in a 10-year capital plan.

It would be the third skatepark in city boundaries, but the aim is to make this one unique with features and jumps not seen anywhere else on Vancouver Island, according to Kirsty MacDonald, city parks and open space planner, who says it’ll probably draw youth to Nanaimo.

The youth park, open to people with wheels ranging from skateboards to scooters, has been in a park improvement plan since 2011, but work got underway on designs last year with the help of the Harewood Neighbourhood Association, Nanaimo Skateboard Association and youth.

Early designs, presented in a city report this week, show it could be a two-part project estimated to cost more than $628,000, but there could be about $20,000 in savings if it’s all done together. Detailed costs are part of the next phase.

It will feature a concrete street-style plaza with eight features, from rails to banked hips, and a depressed kidney-shaped bowl for riders to dip into. Even the public art slated for the park, youth will be able to skate.

Coun. Diane Brennan said she thinks it’s a stellar example of the city and community working together to achieve something that’s really meaningful to the community.

Coun. Bill Bestwick said he’s 100-per cent in favor of Phase 1 and 2, given there’s savings in doing them together. He called for the city to make a financial commitment to the project in its entirety.

Coun. Gord Fuller said one of the downsides is Harewood is becoming a popular place, pointing out it has one of the best water parks and will have the best skate park and that every neighbourhood is going to want to emulate it.

“So much for the old Scarewood misnomer. Harewood is happening. It’s happening big time,” said Fuller.

The skatepark is very badly wanted, said Peggy Lake, executive member of the youth skate-BMX park for the Harewood Community Association.

“You would not believe how many skateboarders are in Harewood,” she said.

She said the skatebowl, behind the Nanaimo Curling Rink, is not a complete skate park and kids from Harewood can’t get to the skate park in the north end.

The neighbourhood association aims to raise money for the park, but is asking the community for help. The Nanaimo Skateboard Association is also raising money, and has collected more than $16,000 for the project so far, the city report shows.