Trail skate park designer gathering ideas

A vision for a skate park is becoming more of a reality after a design consultant visited Trail to gather input from the community.

A vision for a skate park is becoming more of a reality after a design consultant visited Trail to gather input from the community.

About 30 residents rolled into the Trail Memorial Centre Thursday to hear from Trevor Morgan of New Line Skate Parks.

“If you don’t have a skate park, the city becomes a skate park, inevitably, and that leads to conflict, whether it’s intended or not, between the public and skateboarders or businesses struggling to repair granite that is chipped and so forth,” said Morgan, who’s been boarding himself for over 20 years.

Considered a “wheel park,” the 8,000-square-foot recreational facility on Rossland Avenue will be open to skateboarders, roller skaters, inline skaters, scooter riders and BMX bike riders to develop their technique on a site that is also welcoming to other community members.

Beyond park elements like rails, ramps and ledges, workshop participants touched on overall themes from Italian heritage to industry and even a nod to the community’s mining history.

“A lot of people think of Trail as an industrial waste zone anyways so really do we have to bring more of that element into Trail?” asked Justin Cure. “I think we should try and stay away from that. If people come here and want to see something industrial, all they have to do is look up and see the giant smelter overhead.”

Trail councillors Robert Cacchioni and Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson are sold on the “urban” aspect of the park, which will also tout showers, a playground, a sitting area and year-round washrooms.

Twenty-one-year-old Ashley Escott, who initially campaigned to see if there was community support, was impressed with the artistic consideration given to designs the consultants have tackled.

“They’re New Line and New Line has made some really awesome parks, we gave them some suggestions but we should probably let them do what they do,” he said, pointing to innovative designs like the Kristopher Campbell Skate Plaza in Brandon, Manitoba, that highlights the former King Edward Hotel that once stood.

“I think a unique park will bring people there and if it fits within the other parks the way they’ve been built then it’s going to compliment the skate parks in the Kootenays,” added Ty Smith, cofounder of bcskateboarding.org, which hosts the Kootenay Skateboard Series. “If there was a covered area that doubled as shade in the summer and covered from snow in the winter, it would make it unique.”

In addition to creating a park for all levels of skaters, Salmo resident Hailey Jones asked that the park be kid friendly.

“They’re selling it as a family park but really that takes a little bit more effort than just saying this is a family location, you can sit on a bench,” she said. “I want a place where we can go, (my boyfriend) can skate and we (her and her daughter) can do our thing and at any point in time she can look and go ‘there’s daddy skating.’”

Though skateboarding goes back to 1959, the first year a commercially produced board was made, it was in the 1970s thaturethane wheels put the sport on the map.

ìNow all of a sudden it took it from a toy to more of a respected activity or almost what people would call a sport because all of a sudden you have achieved great agility and speed on the board,î said Morgan. ìAt that point we saw the first representation or incarnation of a skate park but again it was very experimental, almost like a concrete amusement park.î

New Line will use community input from the workshop toward the $25,000 design expected to be complete by November.