Skateboarders and trials bikers jostle for space at city hall as Port Moody council looks to keep both groups rolling

Rotary Bike Trials Park and Rotary PoMo Sk8 Park on Murray Street were both built by the Port Moody Rotary Club. Cail Smith image.

Skateboarders and trials bikers clashed at city council over who would win the future turf rights to the stomping grounds under the Moody Street Overpass.

Port Moody council mediated the territorial scuffle on July 25, stating both groups should have their own covered parks.

“One thing I didn’t like was the idea that there was one group against another,” said Mayor Meghan Lahti. “I think we can do both.”


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Council voted unanimously to have staff report back on opportunities for a covered park as part of its master planning initiatives for parks, which is currently underway.

The battle between the two groups began when a 36-year-old professionally ranked skateboarder, Dave Jonsson, presented an impassioned delegation to council on July 11, asking for a new covered skate park.

His idea was simple: swap the locations of the Rotary Bike Trials Park and Rotary PoMo Sk8 Park on Murray Street, so the latter would be covered by the overpass. 

Jonsson said that growing up in Port Moody, he spent half his skating time in the underground parkade at Newport Village because there is no covered skatepark during the Lower Mainland’s rainy season.

He said he’s been presenting to different cities pleading for someone to build a covered park.

“Whoever does will become the Narnia of skateboarding. Emphasis on the gnar,” Jonsson said. “Port Moody youth shouldn’t have to spend their winters in a parking lot.”

The current skatepark is in “really rough shape” from saltwater air and power washing damage to its concrete, according to Jonhson. 

Staff confirmed the skatepark was reaching the end of its usable life.

Jonsson said while skateboarding is a growing sport, trials biking is niche. He added the trials park is underutilized, and mostly used by brewery goers looking to escape the rain.

“How many trials bikers do you know? Do you know one? Does anybody here know a trials biker?” Jonsson said. “It’s about numbers.”

But his callout received a response when the city was exploring his swap suggestion on July 25.

Over a dozen people spoke on the topic during public input period – the majority were trials bikers geared up to defend their park.

No one from the group denied trial biking was a niche sport, but they pointed out that Port Moody’s trials bike park was the only such park in Canada, and one of only two in North America.

The biking advocates emphasized that people travel from all over Canada, and even internationally, to come to the park.

One biker called in from Edmonton and said he’d travelled many times to Port Moody just for the park.

Jeff Anderson, six-time North American champion, wrote into council stating he often trained at the park. 

Several of the bikers said pushing out the more niche sport in favour of skateboarding was unfair.

Brian Hong of Port Moody said they want to work with Jonsson on a vision for the future of both sports in the city, but not at the expense of their undercover area.

“A larger group ousting a smaller minority group . . . seems like bullying,” said Brian Hong of Port Moody. “(Jonhson has) mentioned discrimination against skaters before, so it just feels like there is a bit of double standard and irony.”

Sam Song said he had met some of his closest friends at the trials park in his 14 years of riding, and it has taken many years to improve the park to its current state.

“Trials being a niche sport is a reason to support it more so that it can grow, not a reason to displace it,” Song said. “You have a very special place here.”

Many Port Moody councillors expressed surprise at the uniqueness of their trials park.

Lahti and Coun. Kyla Knowles both suggested the city could leverage the park’s renown into an economic development and tourism opportunity.

“Could we have tournaments here? Could we invite people from all over? This could be a massive tourism boom for our city,” Knowles said. “It’s been sitting under our nose this whole time.”

Staff said they had already identified the need for a replacement skatepark in the Rocky Point Master Plan, and the idea of a covered park as part of an expanded youth zone was floated.

Coun. Callan Morrison said staff should also be looking at improvements to the trials parks, suggesting adding features that could cater to different age groups and skill levels.

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