Vancouver skateboarders won’t miss out on shred sessions when the Vancouver Skate Plaza gets demolished along with the Georgia Viaducts in early 2019.
The city has identified the corner of West Second Avenue and Cambie Street as the temporary location for the popular skate spot, which will be shut down and rebuilt as part of the Northeast False Creek redevelopment plan. The interim park will occupy the graveled area beneath Cambie Street Bridge and is a collaboration by van der Zalm Landscape Architects, New Line Skateparks and skate park architect Daniel Yabar, who has designed a number of parks in the U.S. and his native country Spain.
On March 8, the city held an open house at the new location for skaters and the public to get more information on the project and to chime in with suggestions. The completion date of the interim park is projected for mid-2019, at the same time as the Northeast False Creek reconstruction is set to begin.
Alexandre Man-Bourdon, project manager of park development with the Vancouver Park Board, credited the input from the Vancouver Skate Coalition for getting the project onto the city’s radar. He anticipates the size of the park will be between 10,000 and 12,000 square feet, depending on the final designs.
“Having an organized group that advocates for high quality and safe skateboard locations resulted in the park board and the [Northeast False Creek] design team recognizing the need for the interim location and placing a priority on this project,” Man-Bourdon said in an email.
Jeff Cole, president of the Vancouver Skateboard Coalition, hopes the city will keep the interim park in addition to the brand-new one included in the plans for Northeast False Creek. As for the design of the Cambie location, Cole said the new park should emulate its predecessor, focusing more on a street-style of skating with handrails and ledges as opposed to bowls and transitions.
“The Vancouver Skateboard Plaza as it is right now is a world-renowned location, arguably the first skateboard plaza in the world. Very few people in Vancouver realize this historical significance of that space,” Cole said.
“We don’t have very many spaces to go, in terms of looking at other cities such as… Calgary and how many skateboard parks they’ve developed over the last bit. But right now, the demand of the user group isn’t met by the spaces we have.”
Justin Paul frequents the current Vancouver Skate Plaza and said it is unfortunate the skate park will move next year because that means he and his fellow skaters will have to travel further. He likes the proximity of the park to his house and to the city core, but said he will still come to the new park when it opens.
“I think it would kind of bother people for the travel costs because some skaters can’t afford to take the bus or SkyTrain,” Paul said. “It’s really convenient for guys like myself and other guys who live in this area.”
There are no details on how much the new park will cost or what will happen to it once the Northeast False Creek project is completed.