Saskatoon has seen a growing popularity of skateboarding, and advocates have taken to city hall demanding an indoor skate park in the city.
“Skateboarding is such a powerful tool for positivity. It’s a great outlet for creativity,” said Sarah Kelly, one of the advocates and also director of Right to Skate.
A petition was drafted over the summer and garnered over 200 signatures in favor of an indoor facility.
Bruce Tucker runs the Saskatoon Skateboard Museum and said he would like to see an indoor facility that not only meets the needs of skateboarders, but also has space for basketball courts and other recreational activities.
The subject was discussed on Wednesday during the meeting of the planning, development and community services committee.
James McKnight, another skateboarding advocate in Saskatoon, said this potential facility would include roller skates, BMX bikes and scooters, but also potentially other sports like basketball and other recreational activities.
He said the petition was primarily aimed at members of the skateboarding community showing their support.
“This does not fully reflect the true demand for quality skateboarding facilities and an indoor skatepark in Saskatoon and by skaters across Saskatchewan,” McKnight said.
He said Saskatoon being a winter city, skaters have been asking for indoor space for decades.
McKnight pointed out that as part of the city’s parks and recreation master plan, 86 percent of respondents favored an indoor skatepark.
He said the skateboarding community has found seasonal spaces, but it’s heavily dependent on the given spaces.
McKnight pointed to Regina’s Heritage Skatepark, saying many skaters from Saskatoon will travel to Queen City just to use these facilities.
Advice. Cynthia Block wanted to know more about how Regina ran her indoor skatepark.
Tucker says he’s been in contact with the people who helped create Regina’s Heritage Skatepark.
“It has a positive impact on the community in many ways, takes young people off the streets and brings the community together because they can partner with different organizations. »
McKnight said the Regina Skateboard Coalition partnered with the City of Regina and the Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) to create the space by securing a low-cost, year-round lease.
He said the city recognizes that volleyball players, basketball players and skateboarders all need a place to pursue their sports during the winter months.
Advice. Mairin Loewen wanted more details on what the defenders were looking for.
“It’s all about an invitation to collaborate,” Kelly said.
Kelly said Right to Skate has been a nonprofit that has been in the community since 2012 and played a major role in the creation and operation of the former indoor skatepark which operated from 2017 to 2019.
“We do all kinds of things in the community, we work with LGBTQ2 groups for meetups, we did a lot of programming this year with immigrant and refugee youth. We support indigenous youth and give them materials to use.
Kelly said they would be willing to work with the city or other organizations to help provide programs and potential donations.
She said it was always good to get more young people involved in sport, adding that it was something kids who didn’t identify with certain team sports could learn about.
“Skateboarding is something you can do alone, challenge yourself, learn to persevere.”
Mayor Charlie Clark asked if any of the defenders had a location in mind.
McKnight said he sees several areas as opportunities for interior space.
He pointed to the future Holmwood YMCA Recreation Center, the potential downtown arena, as well as the city’s bus station.
Clark asked how many people they plan to use an indoor skating facility.
Kelly said with the current lineup, they have about 200 skaters this summer thanks to Right to Skate.
She said the skateboard retail business in Saskatoon is doing very well.
“Since 2020, skateboarding has really taken off in the retail sector. »
She said the number of girls taking up skateboarding in the past few years has tripled, adding that the number of skateboards sold in the past three years has doubled, and maybe even tripled.
Loewen asked the administration if the recreation and leisure a**lysis the city had in its game plan matched what was requested during the committee meeting.
It was found that skate parks weren’t at the top of the list, but they were there. The last time community needs were a*sessed for the recreation and leisure action plan was in 2018, but it was noted that every two or three years a needs check for City recreation takes place.
Clark said it wasn’t easy for a project like this to get started with the city, but he hoped they could come up with something through a partnership, adding that he used to skateboard when he was older. young and that it had a lot of positive impacts for him. .
Loewen made a motion for more information on whether an indoor skatepark would make sense with some of the other leisure developments going on or if other spaces could be used, which was pa*sed.
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