Representatives from the District of Sparwood, volunteer groups and businesses who donated cut the ribbon signifying the opening of the new Sparwood Skatepark on Monday. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Representatives from the District of Sparwood, volunteer groups and businesses who donated cut the ribbon signifying the opening of the new Sparwood Skatepark on Monday. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Sparwood Skatepark officially opened

Locals call new skatepark a ‘priceless addition’ to Sparwood

Young and old gathered at the Sparwood Skatepark on Monday night to celebrate its grand opening.

This project, which has been in the works for over 20 years, finally came to fruition, and the excitement of locals was evident.

Born and raised in Sparwood, 20-year-old Jacen Richards says the skate park is a priceless addition to the community.

“I think it’s a huge step forward for the youth here, it’s something that we’ve always needed and never had,” he said.

Richards says that at a young age, if youth don’t have anywhere to go, they can easily end up in a bad place or get into trouble. He says a skate park is a good, positive place for youth to spend their time.

Sparwood’s Jacen Richards tests out the new skate park. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

From six-year-olds on scooters, to 20-year-olds using BMX bikes, and even 45-year-old skateboarders, the demographic of people taking advantage of the new attraction is diverse. Asked if these groups can co-exist in the same park, Richards says he believes they can.

“I’ve never seen a negative vibe here, it’s very positive, everybody’s out here just to have fun and have a good time. Just come out and ride, enjoy the day,” he said.

President of the Sparwood Skatepark Society, Nicole Latka addressed those attending before cutting the ribbon and officially opening the park.

She started by thanking all members and volunteers who helped make the skatepark a reality. Then, she paused to thank a special group that was instrumental in the development of it: the Sparwood Futures Society.

“The future society is a non-profit group of futurists and future thinkers,” said Latka.

She also thanked Katrin Taylor of the Elk Valley Thrift Shop, the District of Sparwood mayor and council, Columbia Basin Trust, and Teck Coal for their support, and funding.

“And to the community, you made this happen for the town of Sparwood,” she said.

Engraved on a sign at the front of the skatepark are the names of individuals and organizations who helped make the project possible.

Mayor Cal McDougall remembers back in 1995, when several youth came into council and asked if the district would build them a skatepark. In response, McDougall said to go collect bottles, and cans, and come back to council when they’ve finished. Eighteen years later they returned, still as ambitious as they were when they were young.

“It took probably 18 years for them to get back to us, but then this great, ambitious group got together and they proved to this community that community sticks together, and when the community sticks together, council comes and does what they can for that community,” said McDougall.

“I think this group deserves a huge round of applause for the work that they’ve done over the past couple of years.”

The park, designed by New Line Skateparks Ltd., measures just under 10,000 square feet. It is almost 190 feet long and 60 feet at its widest point. It contains 18 independent features including a large bowl with pool coping in the deep end. It cost over $630,000.



editor@thefreepress.ca

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Roger Bruinsma of Lethbridge test out the new Sparwood Skatepark.                                 Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Roger Bruinsma of Lethbridge test out the new Sparwood Skatepark. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press