Feature Story                                                            Tuesday, January 17, 2016


Centripetal Force

Landing Skatepark upgrade moves one step closer

Staff/Voice photos


Webster Skills and Skatepark opens in September 2012. Below, pro boarders discuss plans to upgrade the one at Chilliwack Landing.

kid squats down on his board to get some air and bounces up coping a half-pipe he lands in a bowl, picks up some speed on a roll-in.


Without stopping, he shoves it down a stairset then over a banked ramp, navigates onto a rail and plants on the deck with no grinding.


He pumps his fist victoriously in the air to cheers from his pals. The next one launches and quickly does a 50-50 grind while the others watch. Back up he goes to wait for his turn again.

When most of us were learning to play with yo-yo's, there was a breed of never before seen concrete surfers on four-wheeled boards making their presence known at the first skatepark in the world that opened September 3, 1965, in Tucson, Arizona

At first, the parks were simplistic, with just some plywood ramps. Nowadays, skateboarding is an extreme sport. We're talking spine transfers, handrails, funboxes, vert ramps, pyramids, banked ramps, full pipes, pools, bowls and snakes to name a few tricks.


In fact, skateboarding is so popular now, there are plans to include the sport at the 2020 Summer Olympics, so it is possible the Chilliwack parks will groom a local athlete for the podium.

Chilliwack has three skateparks: Webster Landing and The Chilliwack Landing and another one in Yarrow at Pioneer Park.

Last Saturday, a "Design Workshop" consultation at Evergreen Hall, sponsored by the City of Chilliwack, threw open the doors to people and let them in on plans to upgrade the current Landing Skatepark.

The idea of the consultation gave boarders the opportunity to tweak the City's plan, and while traffic was light at around 25, a group of the best type of users were the "pro skateboarders" (defined as someone who is paid to skate), showed up to provide some expert layout suggestions. Parents also brought in their kids to add their ideas.

At the pro's table, they were hunkered down over drawings pointing and talking amongst themselves and conversing with staff in attendance.

Enlarged photos and artists renderings of other skateparks, such as the ones at Webster Park and in Yarrow, were also on display to get the creative juices flowing.

Not only are skateparks created to help kids stay active, they're also versatile and bring the community together challenging BMX riders, inline skaters, scooters and even wheelchairs.

After rezoning to move the existing skatepark from Tyson Rd. in order to make room for the Sardis Library, the Webster Landing Skate and Skills Park opened August 2012 in Sardis.


That park had to be built from scratch because it was used as a dump in the past, so gravel and soil had to be trucked in to cover it up. Therefore, the cost of the project was $300,000. Telus softened the blow to the coffers with a donation of $40,000.

The opening was a fun event with lots of fanfare. The kids couldn't wait to get at it once the ribbon was snipped.

On the surface, it looks like there's an ample amount of dollars allocated for the Landing Skatepark.

"We've got $200,000 for the project," said Richard Fortin, manager of parks and planning.


Fortin explained the upgrade needs to be done because at present the concrete structure has cracks and other issues, which he says pose no danger but need to be repaired.

The Chilliwack Landing Skatepark has lower budget than the Webster Landing Park because engineers can use elements of the existing park.

Webster Landing went out to tender, and the job was awarded to Van Der Zam and Associates. It's unclear what the City will be doing with regards to revamping the Landing.

Learn more about tricks and terminology here.

Always make sure your kid wears a helmet to avoid concussions, brain damage and problems later in life such as seizures.





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