Preliminary design work for Harewood skate park recommended

NANAIMO – Plans for a skate park at Harewood Centennial Park could be coming.

Plans for a skate park at Harewood Centennial Park could be coming.

The Howard Avenue park saw a number of improvements unveiled in July, including a new playground and mountain bike area, and the skate park is something requested by the public, according to Kirsty MacDonald, City of Nanaimo parks and open space planner.

A report by MacDonald is going to Nanaimo’s Parks and Recreation Commission on Wednesday (Oct. 28). It recommends the commission support allocating $10,000 from a $60,000 deferred revenue account and a $10,000 private contribution for site analysis and concept design for the skate park.

MacDonald said the $60,000 is a community contribution from a rezoning application in Harewood and the city has been holding it for a project that has value to the Harewood neighbourhood.

At this point, the city has no idea of the scope of the project and it wants to start preliminary design work, said MacDonald.

“The neighbourhood has fundraised about $8,000 or $9,000 as well, so technically, there could be up to $70,000, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the big project and council hasn’t allocated any of that money yet,” MacDonald said.

Peggy Lake, vice-president of the Harewood Neighbourhood Association, said the skate park will be located near the mountain bike trail at Harewood Centennial. She estimates it could cost in excess of $750,000, as the association is looking to add a pump track for BMX enthusiasts.

“It’s for BMXers to ride on, made out of cement … that will be a little bit extra for that, so I’m not sure what the total is going to be right now, but it’s going to be over $750,000,” she said.

If the commission gives approval, it would be forwarded to city council for approval, said MacDonald.

If the plan proceeds, Coun. Ian Thorpe, chairman of the parks and recreation commission, said completion of design plans and costing would among the next steps.

“There is money that has been set aside for that skateboard park and I see that [preliminary design work] as probably the next step in the development of the Harewood Park,” said Thorpe.

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