“Skateparks are terrific assets for healthy communities. They offer free recreation for a wide range of users of varying ages who may not be involved in or can’t afford organized sports,” says Barriere resident Dustin Doherty in his presentation to District of Barriere mayor and council last Monday’s regular council meeting, “Skateparks are suitable for use with scooters, rollerblades, skateboards and bikes. Most kids will have at least one of those.”
“Skateparks will also attract out of town visitors to stop and spend time and money in the community,” tells Doherty in a Facebook posting, “Skateparks also make a community appear invested in youth and active lifestyles which will attract new residences. They also open an opportunity for local businesses to sell skateboards, elbow and knee pads, scooters, etc.”
He says the myth surrounding skateparks is that they are a breeding ground for crime and other illicit activities, but Doherty notes, “While there will be an occasional “bad seed”, providing designated spaces for positive activities is the best way to curb unlawful behavior among youth.”
His proposal asked to have the skatepark located in the north west corner of Fadear Park, which he says is right in the centre of town and can be an ideal location for youth to spend their free time.
Doherty says bad behaviour is more likely when youth have nothing to do or nowhere to go, and the most common reason for drug use is boredom.
“If there is a concern about graffiti we have choices if it happens,” tells Doherty, “We can accept it and allow it, or it can easily be painted over. There are certainly more serious crimes that occur in the community without a skatepark.”
Doherty, employed by the District of Barriere as Parks and Road Maintenance Coordinator, says his plan is to fund the skatepark project from monies raised by youth and individual supporters of the project.
The first fundraiser will be an all ages dance on Jan. 21, 2017, called “The Mid Winter Bash” at the Seniors Centre in Barriere.
Live music will be provided by the band Lunafix, and will be broadcast live on “The Bear” radio the night of the event. Tickets are $10 each and will include a slice of pizza and a pop or hot chocolate.
Doherty has also launched a Facebook page (Barriere Skatepark Supporters Group) and is actively promoting his vision for Barriere.
At the Monday night council meeting Doherty and the Barriere Skatepark Supporters group asked council to approve the proposed location of the skatepark and to allow the district to hold any funds raised for the project.
Their request was approved.,