The first shovel hit the ground at the future site of the Sparwood Skate Park, last week. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

First shovel hits ground at Sparwood Skate Park

It was an exciting day on Wednesday, November 8, when the first shovel hit the ground at the future site of the Sparwood Skate Park.

To many in the mountain town of 4200, this has been a long time coming.

“It’s been something that’s been needed for years and years and years,” said Nicole Latka with the Sparwood Skate Park Society.

Including Latka, the society is made up of Kristy Cytko, Bev McNaughton, Sue Hawley and Joni LaBerge.

With many ‘no skateboarding’ signs around business areas in Sparwood, this park will give many youth an area to practice the sport of skateboarding. The elementary school hosts over 300, and the high-school is just under 300 youth strong.

“It’s a skill and a hobby that needs to be noticed more in a community, so I feel that it’s going to be a great thing,” said Latka, who also believes this will bring communities together when it becomes a popular spot.

Funding started for this project in 2014, and since then the Sparwood Skate Park Society has raised $630,000. Up until last week, they had raised under $600,000, but within a few days Blacktop Concrete, Rayco Steel and Teck came through to help the society meet their goal and avoid downscaling. Throughout the past four years, the society has been blown away by the generosity of local businesses.

Once completed, the Sparwood Skate Park will measure just under 10,000 sq ft and utilize 6,319 metres of rebar, over 9180 cubic feet of concrete. Once complete the park will be almost 190 ft long and 60 feet in width at its widest point. The park will contain 18 independent features including a 3’ quarter pipe, open bowl, stair sets, rails, slappy features, ledges, bars, up gaps and hubbas, bank hips and pump bumps.

Nicole Latka spoke before the first shovel was planted in the ground, and thanked everyone who attended. She especially thanked Sparwood Mayor and Council, as well as the Sparwood Futures Society, whom she considers instrumental in the success of this project. This skate park was identified in the District’s Leisure Services Master Plan as a priority. They were able to give the society a large amount of funding, $160,000 which allowed them to keep the $150,000 grant from the Columbia Basin Trust.

“We went to council twice in the summer, and with huge support, they made this happen. They funded us to a place where CBT was happy,” said Latka.

Commit Snow and Skate in Fernie recently hosted a Ramp Jam competition, which raised $2500. Scotiabank matched this, and $5000 was given to the society. Asked if they will use the future Sparwood Skate Park to host competitions, Commit’s Morgan Pulsifer said, “Oh we’ll be here every day.”

Pulsifer added that he and his friends would regularly drive over an hour in the lower mainland to skate a good spot, so 20 minutes down the highway to skate a brand new skate park is a no-brainer.

“It’s a new park for us too, it’s good for everybody. We’re super excited for sure,” he said.

Sawyer and Piper Lowe attended the first shovel celebration. In memory of their father, Shane, they donated over $4,000 to the skate park.

To Latka, Wednesday signified lots of hard work and dedication, “…from five women that haven’t ceased to amaze me for the time they’ve donated to this.”

“It’s been a long road to do it, but it’s definitely worth it,” she said.

Crews will start construction on the skate park in late May of 2018. Construction is predicted to take 12 to 14 weeks.

“End of August, beginning of September, we should be skateboarding,” said Latka.

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