Hubbas, a large taco, a loveseat and a double set might not mean much to many people in Whistler, but it's music to the ears of the local skateboarding community.
These new technical street and flow features are part of the Phase 3 upgrades to the village skatepark, and with construction set to begin next month, excitement is mounting.
"I like what's going on," said Chris Charlebois, owner of Sk8 Cave, a skateboard shop in Function Junction. "It's tricky for a park builder and designer to please every single skateboarder in the community. But I think what's (proposed) caters to a wide audience and caters to most of the skateboarders that came out and gave their input. It's long overdue and much needed. There are a lot of excited people."
On Tuesday, July 21, council learned the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation had kicked in $100,000 to the project, bumping up the total budget to more than $900,000.
After receiving two compliant bids for the work, council also approved Chilliwack-company EHR Contracting to do the construction work, valued at $791,000 of the budget.
"Phase 3 really reflects the evolution of the sport," said Martin Pardoe, manager of resort parks planning, adding that the earlier two phases of the skatepark are now a little dated.
The perennial issues dogging the park — the lack of introductory features and the lack of separation with Valley Trail users — can now be addressed with this upgrade.
"There's a lot of creativity that's gone into the design of this site," added Pardoe, calling it a very collaborative process with the local skateboarding community.
Staff is also looking at upgrading the existing two phases. This will include asphalt surface replacement, landscaping and general refurbishment of the site. This work will be done through existing maintenance and operation budgets in the coming years.
At the same time, municipal staff is also considering the other amenities in the area — the Valley Trail, the Bike Skills Park, the Bike Jump Park and a pump track.
Some of these areas may need updates to deal with safety, capacity and demand. These could be addressed in the annual budgeting process in a future capital project.
"It's good because it'll bring more skateboarders up this way as well and that will be good for tourism," said Charlebois.
Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden took the opportunity at Tuesday's meeting to challenge the local skating community to keep the site tidy by cleaning up the garbage which tends to gather onsite; that, she said, will help the municipality to reduce its maintenance costs.
The municipality is planning a groundbreaking public event at the skatepark on Tuesday, Aug. 11. Work will carry on throughout the fall with a grand opening slated for the spring. Stay tuned to Pique for more details.
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