Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Summer roller discos kick off at Sunset Beach despite 'far from ideal' redevelopment plan

"It's more important than ever this year to show support for the outdoor skating community," says one local.

A series of free roller skating disco nights is wheeling into Vancouver this summer.

The Roller Jam at Sunset Beach, organized by local groups of impassioned skaters via Sunset 54 and Roller Skate BC, is a regular evening groove session complete with DJs, chalk street art and fantastic fashion.

The paved rink at 1204 Beach Ave, where the evening skating party always takes place, is set to be another whirlwind of bright colours, shiny fabrics, and other '70s fashion as the event returns this summer. 

The weekly disco night starts back up on June 22 with events every second Thursday at 7 p.m. The free meet-up is open to all skating levels, and rentals won't be available so don't forget to bring your own pair of rollerblades or skates. 

While fans of the sport and event are excited for another summer of skating, it also may also be one of its last due to the looming redevelopment of the West End waterfront. 

What will happen to Sunset Beach Park skating rink?

The Imagine West End Waterfront project aims to revitalize and accommodate the neighbourhood to rising sea levels. 

"This area is experiencing the impact of climate change and sea level rise, increased demand on the park due to population rise, and facilities that are reaching the end of their life," says the City of Vancouver. 

The affected waterfront parks include Sunset Beach Park where the beloved rink is situated. 

The project has come up with three designs for the revised area; "Weave," which incorporates diverse activities throughout the waterfront, "Carve," which integrates ways for people to experience fresh and salt water, and "Seed," which prioritizes ecology and biodiversity. 

All three designs involve replacing the rink with a festival lawn and placing it under the Burrard Bridge, with the exception of "Carve" which removes the rink entirely. 

'Losing it would be a huge blow'

One resident started a petition in an attempt to save the beloved outdoor feature.

"All year round, the rink finds ways to make everyone happy," the petition reads. "There is no other outdoor rink like it within the community or area, and as it brings so many people together in sports and enjoyment it would be a sad loss to see it go."

Although the rink is home to the bi-weekly Roller Jam at Sunset Beach, it's also enjoyed by locals who skate, rollerblade, play ball hockey, soccer, and other sports. 

"It's more important than ever this year to show support for the outdoor skating community," says DJ Funky Beak, a regular fixture at the roller skating disco sessions, on Instagram.

The Vancouver local shares with V.I.A. that plans to place the rink under Burrard Bridge are "far from ideal" and would most likely be a huge downgrade, citing the lack of sunlight and conflict with nearby residences over the noise, which the bridge would only amplify.

He notes that there is also the possibility of the new skating surface not being flat, which is a requirement for an inclusive skating space.

"The rink has been a perfect gathering space for such a great event, and losing it would be a huge blow to both the West End and Vancouver skating community," the DJ says.