Future of Creekside Skatepark in peril 

Graffiti, vandalism a concern for Whistler-Blackcomb, park advocates

The Creekside Skatepark, located in the underground parking garage at Franz’s Trail, is still in its early days after a space was donated by Whistler-Blackcomb, but the future is already uncertain.

Concerned about the amount of graffiti, tagging and vandalism in the parking garage, Whistler-Blackcomb donated the space to the skateboard community. The expectation was that the skateboarders, who were already using the facility, would have an incentive to take care of their area and help police the garage. Now that the number of incidents has increased, some of it related to the park, there’s talk of closing the area.

"The ramp, it’s going to be done by the end of the week –everything is cut, the wood is there ready to be screwed in once we get the coping from professional welders in the city," said Brian Hockenstein. "We have another fundraiser at the Longhorn on June 20 to raise money, we’re going to build other features, we have all this cool stuff going forward, but I’m really just scared it’s going to be taken away from us," he said.

Hockenstein, his friends and his partners at Under Exposed Media, have taken on the project on a volunteer basis with support from the South Side Board Shop.

"People are down there skating every day and having fun, so this is something we need and want. And as cool as it is now, it will be a lot cooler in a year, but we need to get to that point. We want the people that are doing this to get the message that they’re going to ruin this for everybody," he said.

"I don’t even skateboard that much anymore," he added. "I’m just doing this for the community, for the love of it. I used to skateboard every day, and I knew what it was like."

The four-cornered ramp is worth about $3,500, with most of the money coming from a locals' skate jam and a fundraiser at Dusty’s. The ramp set-up, which is located on the P3 level of the garage, only takes up about a quarter of the available space. Hockenstein says that space can be filled with stunts within a year, provided they aren’t asked to leave by Whistler-Blackcomb.

"Some people might roll their eyes and say whatever, it’s just a random park, but come fall and winter, and rainy days, this is going to be the coolest thing to happen in Whistler in a long time. I know a lot of people that would be choked if this was taken away from them. It’s not every community that has its own indoor skatepark; people would kill to have something like this," he added.

"They are literally on the brink of taking the whole park away."

Some of the people guilty of the vandalism are not from Whistler, but youths from the Vancouver area. Still, Hockenstein and his partners believe that local youths are probably responsible for some of the damage.

Whistler-Blackcomb is donating some wood to the facility for the walls, which people will be allowed to graffiti and tag. Signs will also go up asking riders to respect the park and the garage, or risk losing it.

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