Skateboard park considered

Penny Lane proposes site for new skateboard park on school property

The Summerland Charity Shop Society – Penny Lane has proposed a skateboard park for the northeast corner of the Summerland Secondary School property.

School trustees are expected to vote next week on a skateboard park plan, which would be located on the northeast corner of the Summerland Secondary School field near the roundabout at Jubilee Road and Rosedale Avenue, and could welcome skaters as early as next summer, according to Mayor Janice Perrino.

You don’t want to get anybody excited, but it’s one of those things where you go to these companies and they pretty well have the layout, so they can do it really quick. It’s a matter of laying the cement and it’s done,” she explained. “We’re trying to bring youth into the community, and this is one more way to do it.”

Perrino and colleagues from district council and the Summerland Charity Shop Society approached the school board last week to pitch a three-way partnership to build and operate the park.

The school board has been asked to lease the land to the district for $1 a year. The district would then cover the ongoing cost of insurance and maintenance at the site, which would be constructed by a grant from the society.

Orv Robson, a district councillor and society board member, said up to $280,000 is budgeted for the skate park, which would be far more visible than the current version behind the Harold Simpson Memorial Youth Centre, which was constructed in the mid-1990s.

That location is hidden away,” said Robson, adding a more prominent spot would be easier to police and allow skateboarders to show off their skills to the community.

The society considered several locations for a new skateboard park before approaching the school board.

The partnership with the school district is by far the number one location,” he said.

School board chairman Bruce Johnson said his group “appreciated” the presentation on the proposal and is “looking forward to discussing” the skate park at its next regularly scheduled board meeting Sept. 8.

It’s pretty hard for me to predict what our board of seven will vote, but the comments that were made in the question period (last week) indicated there is a very favourable response,” he said.

There were a few concerns of course: liability is huge and also further down the road what plans could be made if it doesn’t work out or in 20 years if people aren’t skateboarding?” Johnson continued, noting, however, that Perrino and Robson had answers for those problems.

The Summerland Charity Shop Society operated the Penny Lane Bargain Outlet on Victoria Road North from 2002 to 2013, with a second outlet later added on Main Street.

After the store was closed, the Penny Lane board of directors looked for a way to continue a legacy in the community, and in the spring put out a request for projects. Proposals were to have budgets of between $100,000 and $400,000 and result in a physical presence, like a skateboard park.

Since 2003, the society and its latest incarnation have provided more than $2 million for a variety of youth projects.