Skip to content

City of North Van council apologizes, plans temporary skate park at Mahon Park

North Van city staff have been directed by council to look into a temporary skate park facility at Mahon Park while the new Harry Jerome rec centre is under construction.

City of North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan and council apologized to the skateboarding community Monday night (March 28), while directing staff to look into a temporary skate park located at Mahon Park.

The vote and apology comes as demolition of the Lonsdale Skatepark began Monday, to make way for the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. Work on the building will continue through 2025, and until now, the City of North Vancouver was to go without a skate park replacement until the build was finished.

A late addition to the agenda, the report recommended that staff look at the temporary solution, while also engaging the North Van skateboard community to develop design options for the temporary facility.

The temporary facility’s budget of $175,000 is to be allocated from the almost completed Centennial Theatre power modification project, which came in way under budget, at only $163,000 of the budgeted $338,172.

The temporary location will be next to the basketball and pickle ball courts, and is deep enough into the park to buffer skate park noise for neighbouring residents, the city said.

Coun. Tony Valente said that while he did not initially understand skateboarding, he has spent the last weeks learning that the closure of the skate park “has a huge impact,” as it’s the only street-style skate park on the North Shore, with the exception of Ambleside in West Vancouver.

“There are also not that many forms of recreation that reach across multiple age groups. I spent some time at the park and I was surprised that there were folks that were older than me skating at the park, and I think that's when we can try to support the city, in terms of being a vibrant city, in terms of being a city for people,” he said.

Valente noted this has been a learning opportunity for council, and highlighted that it is important to hear from the public on what the city is doing or planning to do.

“It's important for us to listen to the folks in our community, understand and react to what they have to say, and this has been a great learning experience. Honestly, that's one of things that I enjoy most about being a councillor, is the opportunity to learn from people in our community.”

Coun. Tina Hu said she was happy to see an interim solution moving forward, noting the sport is now a part of the Olympic Games.

“It is a sport for youth and younger adults to participate in, and to get training, and to get exercise as well. And then most importantly, I think some of the comments sent in by emails mention about the mental support, to have that social place for gatherings is important for youth and for younger kids and for younger adults in the city,” she said.

Meanwhile, Coun. Holly Back apologized, saying that while many years ago council did have a lot of conversations with the skateboarding community, “we did lose some sight of that over the last few years.”

“And we haven't communicated very well. So, certainly my apologies for that. But I'm really, really happy that we're back on board, no pun intended there, with getting their feedback, and that we have been able to find a temporary place to put a temporary skateboard [park],” she said.

Buchanan also apologized, and acknowledged that the closure of the park came as a surprise to many in the community.

“I can speak on behalf of council … you know, in terms of apologizing … people felt like this was a sudden move that was being made, but there had been conversations. But nonetheless, it has been a couple of years, many things happening around the Harry Jerome project and many other things happening in the context of what's been going on, and so if we miss-stepped in terms of that communication, I do apologize for that,” she said.

“The city has long been committed to ensuring the recreation needs of all are met as we deliver the new state-of-the-art Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. We recognize the importance of this sport as well as access to skateboarding infrastructure. I’m pleased to say that staff are working with members of the community on the design of a temporary skate park.”

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks