Stittsville skateboard park doesn’t do the trick, says local dad (with video)

(ABOVE: Stittsville dad John Hughes wants to see an upgrade or an entirely new skatepark in Stittsville. And sooner rather than later. Photo by Jordan Mady.)

John Hughes, 47, looked around at the skateboard park next to the Goulbourn Recreation Complex (GRC) as three young girls used one of its drop-in ramps as a slide.

There wasn’t a skateboarder in sight. Hughes said his kids, 13 and 10, don’t use the park, either.

“I was attending my son’s baseball practice and my youngest son was here waiting with me and he didn’t want to take part in the park here. He said it wasn’t big enough and they didn’t have enough places to tricks,” Hughes said.

“And I know so because I’m always taking them to the Kanata  skatepark where it’s full of kids. And they seem to enjoy it there, but I can’t keep them here in Stittsville because they don’t want to come here. ”

Hughes says he thinks the current Stittsville skatepark should be at least relocated closer to stores where kids would have access to restaurants and shelter.

“As a parent who lives in Stittsville, I pay my taxes here and I like to keep my kids in Stittsville. Nothing wrong with Kanata, but I don’t want to have to drive there and wait for two to three hours before they’re finished,” he said. “There’s not enough for them to do around here and while it’s nice that they have this here, it’s not being utilized the way it should be because it’s not big enough.”

Infographic
According to the City, there are 14 different skateparks around Ottawa. (infographic by Jordan Mady)

 

The Stittsville skatepark used to be bigger. When the City added another ice pad to the GRC in 2011, the adjacent parking lot was moved over and the skateboard surface was reduced to compensate for the update.

“(City) staff at that time was not even recommending putting the skatepark back in. But I insisted that we were losing the two skateparks we had,” councillor Shad Qadri said.

Around two years prior to GRC expansion, a summer-only indoor skatepark at Johnny Leroux Arena was discontinued due to declining usage, leaving the community with one less recreational amenity.

The one option the City considered was building a skateboard junction next to Alexander Grove ballpark. Qadri and City staff later decided against this because it would’ve involved the removal of several large pine trees.

But Qadri said there’s an investigation process under way for a brand new skateboard park in the Fernbank area. There’s also discussion to include a BMX track in the same space.

“Stittsville is a growing community. It’s getting even younger as a community,” he said. “But with skateboard parks, they don’t get used properly unless they get the right equipment and the right size. And there’s where we’re at is trying to get that right sizing.”

There’s also a significant cost associated with installing new skateparks. According to Dan Chenier, general manager of parks, recreation and cultural services, city council implemented a community development initiative called the Interim Skateboard Strategy in 2012. Within this initiative, costs range from local skateparks at $150,000 to city-wide skateparks at over $400,000. Stittsville’s current skatepark falls within the local skatepark threshold.

The price tag on the recently-opened Innovation Skate Park, part of the Richcraft Recreation Complex in Kanata was $450,000.

Considering this, any plans for another Stittsville skatepark will take time and money to execute. But Hughes would still like to see the process accelerated.

“Keep (children) here and give them something to do,” he said. “At least we know where the kids are rather than wandering the neighbourhoods causing trouble.”

“I’d like to keep them here in Stittsville for sure.”


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5 thoughts on “Stittsville skateboard park doesn’t do the trick, says local dad (with video)”

  1. I’m not an expert, but I see the kids at Kanata regularly . There is a vibe there. The kids are in the zone, with rituals of control, display, advance. I love seeing them.

    I would hate to deprive this from the Stittsville kids. A serious effort should be made to also provide Stittsville with one of those curvy concrete parks. None of that hollow sounding woody straight ramp stuff.

    What about private companies sponsoring this, like what they do with the Kanata stadium.
    Call it something like “The Zone”. “TD Zone”, “Canadian Tire Zone”…
    Also, the kids should be involved in helping to make the design decisions. Make them part of the process.
    Location is also key. In Kanata they’re a bit on display right next to the community center and parking lot, and I think they love that. Tugging them away on the side/back of a building won’t vibe as much.

    1. I absolutely agree that we need a proper skateboard park in Stittsville, one made from concrete, not wood. The kids who skateboard are mostly nice, well behaved kids and they should be encouraged. Not every kid wants to or can afford to play hockey and other competitive games. Non combative, cheap. great exercise, etc. And I agree with Joe that it shouldn’t be tucked in some back yard, as this only encourages anyone who sells or uses drugs, etc., to hang around. It seems to be a fairly clean sport,so let’s try to keep it that way.

  2. Please make a new skatepark for the kids. I hear my sons and his complaining that the skatepark is not fun, and eventually get bored enough to take a bus to go to a better skatepark (Richcraft, Lansdowne, Charlie Bowins Mcnabb ect. ) I also do not feel comfortable letting my sons and his friends taking public transport to far/ dangerous areas. Please build a large concrete skatepark in stittsville. A great spot is across the street from giant tiger

  3. Why did the first two fail? The previous one in Johnny Leroux Arena would of been in an even better location with shelter and surrounding businesses then the current GRC park. You gotta figure out what in the past didn’t work for kids, to build something new.

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