The Vancouver Park Board has postponed a controversial decision to demolish Mount Pleasant Skate Park and replace it by building another nearby facility.
According to Park Board general manager Malcolm Bromley, noise complaints began almost immediately after the skate park opened to the public in the spring of 2012. The noise complaints were also from residents living directly across the street.
But only a small fraction of the skate park’s users have been deemed problematic.
“99 per cent of the skateboarders are not a problem,” said Bromley. “The daytime use is completely acceptable, it’s wonderful to see young children and ages of all abilities using it. It seems to be the ‘very late night after the bars close’ small group of people that have caused a chronic problem that continues.”
Bromley adds that the skate park cost $80,000 to build and not $200,000 as stated by previous reports. However, Park Rangers have spent $14,000 a year in Park Board rangers staffing costs to patrol the area as well as manually unlock and lock the fence gate at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. each day.
Another $26,000 was also spent in 2013 to construct a 10-foot high chain link fence around the perimeter of the skate park.
Park Board staff noted in last night’s meeting that the number of police call-outs over late night skate park noise fell drastically after the fence and locked gate were installed. Fifteen calls were received in 2012 and 16 calls were made in 2013, but just four calls were made in 2014.
To date, close to $80,000 in both capital and staffing costs have been spent to mitigate late night skate park noise for nearby residents.
At the end of the night, commissioners voted to postpone the motion on tearing down the skate park to allow Park Board staff to explore other options, including the possibility of a transparent sound barrier, and consult with affected groups. The NPA commissioners voted for the motion while the three Vision Vancouver and Green Party commissioners voted against.
“I think it’s really clear that the skateboard community would like to see his facility stay as is,” said NPA commissioner Casey Crawford to a room packed with young skateboarders. “Your voice has been heard… so I would appreciate the opportunity to ask staff for more time to work with the community and develop a plan that the local neighbourhood, skateboard community and Park Board thinks resolves the issues.”