Skaters ramp up park plan

Initial meeting draws skaters with plan to revamp park.

Port Hardy’s Municipal Hall was the setting for a meeting last Saturday, tentatively relaunching the Kyle Scow Memorial Skate Club.

Around 20 participants, from elementary school-age skaters to parents, attended the Recreate Port Hardy event to support an update to the town’s skate facilities.

The meeting’s chair, KSM member Stephen Ralph, is no stranger to the process. The club was instrumental in bring the current park to fruition.

After a Facebook group was launched by a new crop of skaters urging a modernization of the park, Ralph and fellow KSM veteran Catlin Robichaud agreed to step up and help kickstart the process.

Saturday’s meeting was an attempt to gauge interest in a revamp, and in addition to the 20 in attendance, several others sent apologies.

The group was joined by Coun, Jessie Hemphill, as council liaison, and Coun. John Tidbury as Ralph outlined the history of the park before opening the floor to ask the skaters what they wanted to see in the park.

The younger generation had no shortage of ideas or enthusiasm, expressing interest in emulating some of the fundraising drives of former members, such as skate demos, barbecues and the sponsored skate from Port McNeill to Port Hardy.

The councillors suggested the possibility of the District partnering with a club for grant applications, while group members suggested contacting local service organizations like the Rotary and the Kinsmen for support.

But as Ralph cautioned, “It’s not going to happen overnight.”

The next step for the process is to form a club, elect board members and set up finances, tasks that will be examined in the groups next meeting. “This is your opportunity to step up and have a voice and we’re here to give guidance,” Ralph told the younger group. “We’ve got a great foundation here.”

In the short-term the group made plans for a field trip, going as a group to skate Alert Bay’s new skatepark. The date is weather-dependent and has not yet been finalized.

For more information on the club or to get involved with the trip to Alert Bay send a friend request to KSM Skatepark on Facebook.