Coquitlam council gets wheels rolling on covered skate park idea

Skateboarder Dave Jonsson hits the rails at Hazel Trembath Elementary. photo supplied

It was a board meeting of another kind.

On Monday afternoon, professional skateboarder Dave Jonsson spoke at a Coquitlam council meeting, praising the city for its skate parks while noting: “one significant void.”

The city needs a covered skate park to protect young skaters from the rain while giving elite boarders a place to hone their craft rather than fleeing the Tri-Cities for sunnier climes.


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Jonsson noted spending many hours learning tricks at a grocery store parking lot in his formative years. He also recounted, “countless days confined to parking garages, inhaling carbon dioxide and unintentionally causing property damage while pursuing my passion.”

Touting long-term benefits including increased tourism and an economic boost, Jonsson wrapped up his presentation with a gnarly homage to C.S. Lewis.

“Coquitlam would become like the Narnia of skateboarding,” he said. “Emphasis on the nar.”

While there have been challenges in terms of establishing a covered skate park as a municipal priority, Mayor Richard Stewart seemed receptive to Jonsson’s request.

“The Narnia of boarding; we’re going to get there, I think,” Stewart said.

Given that some residents may harbour less-than-positive sentiments about skateboarding, a new skate park would likely be preceded by a good deal of conversation, “so that the public comes around as well,” Stewart said.

“I assure you, you will get a covered skate park before we get covered bike routes,” the mayor told Jonsson.

Coun. Steve Kim called for: “persistent conversation and collaboration” with Coquitlam city staff.

Kim noted school friends who built half pipes and are now building half pipes for their kids.

“A bit of cover” was always appreciated, Kim noted.

During his presentation, Jonsson suggested adding a small skate spot partially covered by the SkyTrain or a full-fledged skate park under a bridge or an overpass.

A skate park could be incorporated into a development. However, the city has a long list of priorities and a limited amount of money, noted Coun. Brent Asmundson.

If a developer foots the bill on a skate park, the city may have to sacrifice something else, like child care, Asmundson explained.

“There’s some creative ideas that may work but I don’t think they’re going to be exactly everything that you may think it’s going to be,” he said.

The city should find a creative way to deliver a skate park, possibly in a planned community, said Coun. Dennis Marsden.

“To staff: I want to see this happen,” Marsden said.

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