There are a number of safety concerns surrounding the current skatepark. Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press

There are a number of safety concerns surrounding the current skatepark. Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press

Fernie applies for new skatepark grant

Required renovations seek to solve current maintenance and safety issues

At a special meeting of council held on July 9 in Fernie, mayor Ange Qualizza and councillor Morgan Pulsifer put forward a motion asking for council’s support for a grant application to help build a new skatepark in Fernie.

The funding would be derived from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s Community, Culture and Recreation stream. With the provincial and federal governments having committed over $100 million to the program, projects eligible for funding must increase the quality and access of recreational, cultural, and community spaces.

As stated in the notice, the current skatepark facility requires upgrades to meet the safety standards exhibited by modern skateparks. Despite previous efforts, further required repairs remain extensive, with significant safety concerns pertaining to the uncontrolled cracking and gaps in the cement. Should the cracks not be tended to, the facility will likely be decommissioned in the future. Due to the costliness of a replacement facility, the notice points to the importance of grant funding to alleviate costs for such an undertaking.

The notice of motion went on to suggest that the City of Fernie would benefit from a renovated skatepark as they reduce illicit behaviour, draw skateboarders away from less appropriate areas, and offer significant mental and physical health benefits for those who partake in the activity. The notice also states that municipal skateparks support youth with nowhere else to go, while providing a social support network for children in situations where school, family, and traditional sports clubs do not suffice. The notice went on to claim that safe and well designed skateparks also attract a variety of visitors, ultimately providing economic benefits to the communities that implement them.

“The growing culture of skateboarding has made a positive impact in communities across British Columbia,” read the notice of motion. “Young people need things to do and places where they are free to be themselves in Fernie. This includes not only our facilities that cater to more traditional sport, but also a space for skateboarding as a healthy form of recreational and social activity. A well built and properly sited skatepark that reflects the needs of local skateboarders is a hub of creative physical activity, a place where kids and adults come together and are focused on their sport in a positive environment.”

Following the presentation of the notice of motion, council unanimously voted in favour of supporting the grant application. For more information, visit the City of Fernie’s website at Fernie.com.



reporter@thefreepress.ca

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