Liability concerns force closure of skateboard park

The ball’s in your court, skateboarders, BMXers and your families and supporters.

The Skateboard and BMX Park at the south end of the Lillooet REC Centre is being temporarily closed because of concerns that the site is dangerous and the District of Lillooet could be liable if anyone was injured while using the park.

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“The structures in there are not safe anymore,” Recreation Manager Bain Gair told the News last week. “The wooden structures in there have been exposed to moisture for too long, they’re not safe any more and we have to be concerned about the integrity of the structures and whether it’s safe to be on those structures anymore.”

“The material that’s on the surface is called Skatelite and it’s actually a very specialized substance that was very expensive to install and if we’re lucky we might be able to salvage some of that rather than have to replace that,” continued Gair. “But my fear is that we’re probably looking at having to basically rebuild a large number of those pieces because of the lack of integrity in the wooden structures.”

He added that a rebuild at the site would be a “big undertaking.”

When the skateboard park was built in the early 2000s, the understanding was that the District of Lillooet agreed to have the skateboard park at its current location, which is District property, but the District would not be responsible for the upkeep or liability. A Skateboard and BMX Society was active at that time, but is now dormant.

“The time has come now when we have to have a serious look at the park,” continued Gair. “At this point, from the District’s point of view, that skateboard park represents a liability. So we’re going to close the park or attempt to close the park. The people who use it have been quite resourceful about finding their way in there; I’m assuming in the colder weather, the use of it will be minimal. We’re going to try to restrict access in the winter, the gates will be locked and we’ll put up a sign saying it’s closed.”

In the meantime, he suggests it would be a good idea to see if there are people in the community who would be interested in forming a group to revitalize the skateboard park to make it a safe structure again.

“We need a champion or a group of champions to come together to rebuild that. It will take a concerted effort and some serious dollars,” added Gair.

He said the alternative would be to dismantle all the structures. “That’s not what we want to do. That’s not the preferred option,” he explained. “The preferred option is to either salvage what’s there or to re-build.”

During discussion of Gair’s report at council’s Nov. 19 meeting, Councillor Jen Leach suggested that School Trustee Orra Storkan and local PACs (Parent Advisory Councils) be contacted about the skateboard park situation. Councillor Leach also suggested that LORCA (Lillooet Off Road Cycling Association) might be a source of support.

 

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