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Bankroll skateboard park

It’s good to see that lots of skateboarders in Guelph have been enjoying themselves this month using free access to the Ward Skate Park, a privately owned indoor facility on Victoria Road.
City hall closed its only outdoor skate park in the west end’s Deerpath Park early last year, mostly because of noise problems. This left a gap in the city’s recreation facilities that’s not yet been filled. When city council decided to pay for free access to the Ward Skate Park for a couple of months last summer, 390 different users took advantage of it in a total of 1,339 visits. Anecdotal evidence suggests the free access this summer for five weeks ending Sept. 2 is also drawing good numbers. It wasn’t in the city’s budget for 2011 to do this again. But city hall made the right call in July to take $5,000 from the city’s $14,700 discretionary account – which is used for unforeseen requests or situations – to give skateboarders a spot to do their thing for a few weeks.
Meanwhile, council is expecting a report later this year on the issue of building an outdoor skatepark in a new location, using skateboard equipment that’s been in storage since it was removed from Deerpath. The report from a committee that has been studying the issue is supposed to contain recommendations on a location, design and budget for a new skate park.
Depending on the location chosen and how close it is to homes, it could be a challenge to win the acceptance of neighbours for a new skate park, given what happened at Deerpath. But city hall needs to cater to all parts of the populace, and there’s no denying the ongoing popularity of skateboarding for many teens and young adults.

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