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Skateboarders fill chamber as CNV passes motion to include consultation in rec review

The motion sees the North Vancouver skateboard community involved in long-term planning for skateboarding facilities in the city.
City of North Vancouver Skateboarders
More than 20 skateboarders from the North Vancouver community packed the city's council meeting Monday night (April 4) as they press to be included in any future plans about skateboarding facilities in the city.

City of North Vancouver council affirmed its position to rectify the perceived wrongs of demolishing Lonsdale Skatepark without a replacement, as it unanimously voted Monday night (April 4) to include more consultation in future plans for skate parks around the city.

In an at times colourful meeting, more than 20 people from the North Vancouver skateboard community packed the chamber to share their thoughts ahead of Coun. Tony Valente’s motion to make sure users' input be included in the upcoming North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission and Sport Facility Venue Review.

Ten speakers from the community addressed council in the public input period at the start of the meeting, all pressing for the acknowledgement of the importance of the skateboarding community, and that while the interim solution of Mahon Park is greatly appreciated, more needs to be done to include skateboarding in long-term plans for North Vancouver.

“We would like to say that the proposed solution does not go far enough to address the needs and size of our diverse community. Mahon Park is out of the way and there's a considerable amount of work to be done before it is usable,” Evan Tancredi, Skaters of the North Shore founder and sponsored skateboarder,  said. “It's small in size and has somewhat of an awkward layout. … That said, we do support the development of this location, as well as a more suitable midterm replacement for Lonsdale, and a broader community strategy for skateboarding in North Vancouver.”

In discussions on the motion, Valente said that while the temporary facility at Mahon Park begins to address the needs of the community as the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre skate park is built, “This motion is intended to support skate park users in thinking about the future of safe spaces for skateboarding on the North Shore.”

Valente noted the City of Vancouver’s shift in strategy from “controlling to supporting” skateboard culture.

“I think we need to do more to plan for its future. I think this is a community that is fully aligned with our council strategic plan as a city for people, as a vibrant city. This is an all-ages, genders, and ethnicities activity, it does not discriminate,” he said.

Mayor Linda Buchanan reiterated her thanks to the community for making their voices known by writing in and showing up at the meeting on Monday night.

“The feedback that we receive, the comments that we get, that the input helps us move forward, and do better as we work to provide much needed recreation investment for a variety of different sports across the North Shore,” she said.

Buchanan said she fully understands how beloved the Lonsdale Skatepark was, and recognizes that she and two other councillors fought hard to have the facility retained when the city was looking at developing HJCRC.

“That centre, as you know, is very large, sitting right now at $210 million. And there was a significant amount of balancing that needed to happen for a variety of different uses. In the end, the decision was that because of the aquatics component of the new centre, the skate park had to go,” she explained.

“I again apologize for that misstep, in terms of [not] convening the [skateboard community] again and just making sure that people understood what was happening moving forward. That probably doesn't satisfy a lot of people, but let me tell you that staff’s recommendation to move to Mahon, and I know for some they won't see it as a win, but that park will be ready to go June 1. It'll have some features, and then we'll add features as it moves along,” she said.