Temporary skate park finds a home

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo Jarret Larkin, 13, tries out the new equipment installed behind the Hay River Community Youth Centre on July 28.

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo
Jarret Larkin, 13, tries out the new equipment installed behind the Hay River Community Youth Centre on July 28.

While the days are not as long as they were a few weeks ago, the temporary BMX skate park has been set up in time for many weeks of tricked out fun.

“We’re very excited that it’s up and running,” said Louise Schumann, president of the newly formalized BMX Skate Park Association. “We got the final confirmation from the youth centre July 15 and everything was set up by July 25.”

Schumann said she was pleased with the location of the temporary skate park behind the Hay River Community Youth Centre as it was a more central location than the other proposed site in the 553 neighbourhood. The fact that it was already a designated drug free zone didn’t hurt either.

“It’s all good,” she said. “The youth centre had some equipment that was complementary to ours and everything is all set up now.”

Now, she said, the association can turn its focus to fundraising for the permanent skate park site behind Fields and town hall. The are limits to what can be done right away, however, as the site is currently occupied by the construction crews working on the new fire hall.

“We’re just waiting in the fire hall to be finished,” said Schumann. “But we’re working on what we can in the meantime.”

One of the upcoming events set to raise interest in the project is this year’s Skate Jam. While planning was put off until a temporary site was found, organizers are back in full swing for a tentative date at the beginning of September.

“It’ll be good for volunteers and participants,” said Schumann of the later date. “Everyone will be back in town and it will give the kids some time to practise on the new equipment.”

The youth centre’s Kevin Wallington said while it will take some work to get the event organized by the beginning of September, he was pleased to see the equipment set up at and looks forward to working with the BMX Skate Park Association to make Skate Jam happen.

“We’ll support it,” he said. “But as of right now we don’t have a co-ordinator so we’re a bit limited in what we can do.”

Previous years’ events included a concession stand and live music, as well as the competition itself. The scale of the event may be slightly pared down this year.

“I know Louise has been working really hard to make this happen,” Wallington said. “The youth centre will definitely be involved, but Skate Jam has taken on a life of its own.”

Interim director of recreation Jordan Stackhouse echoed both Schumann and Wallington,.

“We’re really trying to make it happen,” he said. “Now that we have a temporary skate park, we can get to work on getting Skate Jam organized.”

Skate Jam aside, the users of the facility are excited about the new park.

Jarret Larkin, 13, was out taking his bike around the new set up on July 28, rocketing from one end of the lot to the other.

“It’s great to have new and better stuff,” he said.

— Sarah Ladik