If the District of Port Hardy’s grant funding for a new multiplex is approved, $353,925 will be budgeted toward building a brand new skatepark that will replace the Kyle Scow Memorial (KSM) Skatepark, which has been a popular recreational activity spot in the North Island community since 2003.
The plans for the skatepark came up at a recent Parks and Recreation Committee meeting, with Port Hardy’s Chief Administrative Officer Allison McCarrick making a presentation.
McCarrick briefly broke down the district’s tentative plan for where the new skatepark will be located if they get the grant funding, while including numerous possible examples of up-to-date skatepark designs from a company called New Line Skateparks inside the agenda.
“We are committed to the skatepark in one shape or another,” said Coun. Fred Robertson. “There has been no discussion from this group about eliminating it, perhaps moving it to accommodate the potential for a new building, but never was the discussion around eliminating the park.”
McCarrick said in a subsequent interview that the project “seemed to make sense, because on any given day when you go out there, there’s people using the skatepark,” adding it was also a memorial for Kyle Scow, “and it was something the young people of the community really got together to build.”
The idea of keeping a skatepark in town “resonated with council — they thought it was something the district should take a look at,” McCarrick explained, adding, “We want to keep a variation of activities together — you’ve got your arena, your pool… and then you have the skatepark there.”
According to a 2015 report that was put together by Stephen Ralph, who was one of the main catalysts for the park being built in the first place, “the skatepark was originally built in 2003 thanks to over three years of fundraising from the Port Hardy Skateboard Club, $20,000 dollars from the Port Hardy Rotary Club and donations made from local business owners to help cover the shortfalls.”
Port Hardy Mayor Hank Bood, who was a councillor back in 2003, stated he thinks the district did in fact “contribute some money to the project, maybe through staff hours and things like that. I actually would just about bet you we put some other money in to it, too. When it comes down to it, that’s what towns do, we provide services and we choose which services to provide.”
While the district did in fact ‘donate’ the land for the KSM skatepark, McCarrick confirmed “it is still district land.”
McCarrick also invited people who use the skatepark to come and attend Parks and Recreation meetings in the future, stating, “We will definitely open it up to the public, if they want to attend.”
She added the district will sooner or later, “strike up some sort of skatepark committee… because when it comes down to specifics, sometimes its nice to have people with specific knowledge to give us that knowledge.”
As for whether the new skatepark will still be called the Kyle Scow Memorial Skatepark, McCarrick said she doesn’t think there would be “any reason to change it, but that hasn’t even been discussed yet.”
Bood stated he thinks there is definitely a future for a skatepark in the district of Port Hardy. “It’s a recreational function that’s used by a good part of our community — it’s been an emphasis of this particular council to make sure that we have the necessary infrastructure recreationally to maintain our young families.”
Read more about the district’s multiplex project here: District gives update on multiplex project