A proposal to allow kids to skateboard under a bridge in Port Coquitlam met with resistance from politicians Tuesday (June 6).
But several other options were floated at the council-in-committee, so youth don’t have to skateboard, rollerblade or scooter in the rain.
Dave Jonsson, who is leading an initiative called Skate Undercover to get dry spaces for skateboarding, presented a proposal for a patch of ground under the Pitt River Bridge for these activities.
However, Jonsson admitted the temporary solution is just asking for “crumbs.”
What he would like is the “whole turkey.”
“Right now we got nothing,” said Jonsson, who does skateboarding activities as an inspirational presentation and also organizes events in the undercover parking lot at Real Canadian Superstore on Lougheed Highway.
He told council he’d like to see a permanent structure — possibly shared by Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.
“In the meantime, is there a way for us to work together to create something?” he asked.
Several councillors said a space under the Pitt River Bridge in PoCo would be too dangerous, but solutions were offered, including finding time for skateboard nights at Hyde Creek Recreation Centre.
Roof over Railside Park
Another suggestion was putting a roof over Railside Skatepark in the city.
Coun. Steve Darling said he spent time with American professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, who told him that that finding a location was one of the biggest challenges of the sport.
Darling said that while the space under the Pitt River Bridge is “too small and accessibility there is dangerous” partnering with PoCo’s recreation department might be a way to find space.
Coun. Paige Petriw said it’s worth exploring the idea of creating covered spaces for youth to skateboard because of its popularity and recognition as a sport.
Talking to Ministry of Transportation
She recommended that Jonsson formalize the Skate Undercover group and possibly work with the PoCo Sport Alliance to bring the project to fruition.
“Definitely we want to continue the conversation in finding a solution,” she said.
Mayor Brad West said he has already contacted TransLink and the B.C. Ministry of Transportation to see if there are places for undercover activities but acknowledged it will take awhile to get a response.
Meanwhile, the mayor said all three cities in the Tri-Cities should work together to come up with a location for undercover skateboarding.
“Persistence is the key,” West said.
Jonsson has already spoken to Coquitlam council on the initiative and plans to talk to Port Moody council on July 11.