For Wesley Harding, a skateboard is much more than a plank of wood with wheels; he’s been skating for about seven years, since he was 10 years old.
© Aethne Hinchliffe Photo
Ian Kent, his son Oscar Kent, Wesley Harding, David Gunn and his son Angus Gunn are eager to see a skatepark in Queens County.
And that’s a big reason Ian Kent asked Harding to be a high school representative for the Queens County Skatepark Association.
The idea of a skatepark is still going strong for a group in Queens County.
Kent and David Gunn, members of the Queens County Skatepark Association, are ready to present their research to the Region of Queens Municipality’s new council at 10 a.m. Nov. 19.
Following next week’s presentation, the association is slated to have a community meeting at Queens Place Emera Centre in Liverpool from 2 to 4 p.m. That evening, the group is having a fundraising event from 7 to 10 p.m. at Lane’s Privateer Inn.
The community meeting will include a visit from Jim Barnum from Spectrum Skatepark Creations. According to Spectrum’s website, Barnum is Canada’s “most recognized skatepark designer.”
“We’ve been working with Jim a lot for the initiative to where we are at this point in the planning process and the conceptualization process for this whole idea of how a skatepark is actually going to materialize in Queens County,” says Kent.
Before the Queens County Skatepark Association can get funding from provincial or federal groups, says Kent, it needs council’s approval. The association needs council’s official support and a specific piece of land for the park.
Ideally Kent and other members would like to see the skatepark on Queens Place Emera Centre land.
Kent says he and Gunn will present to council exactly the land the association wants.
“And we’re outlining exactly how … we think the municipality can support our initiative without actually writing us a cheque for $200,000,” he adds.
The community meeting on Nov. 24 will be about getting the momentum going at the community level.
In addition to Barnum’s presentation, Chad Haughn, recreation and parks director for the Municipality of Chester, will be talking about Chester’s skatepark and the positive results that have come out of it. Kent and Gunn will provide an update on what the association has been doing. The meeting will then be open for ideas from the public.
“Our association doesn’t believe that a skatepark in Queens County is ever going to get built by a bunch of students,” says Kent.
“What we need at this community meeting is a broad section of community leaders, and people that are invested in the development of anything for youth.”
He adds the association would like as many people as possible at the meeting.
Kent says the meeting is at Queens Place because the association would like people to think about he skatepark being at that site. Members would also like people to see the park as an addition to the facility.
Kent and Gunn presented the idea of a skatepark to the former council July 16. The majority of councillors responded with positive feedback.
Since that first presentation, the Queens County Skatepark Association launched its public presence with a Facebook group. Additionally the association has developed its strategies for fundraising, established goals to work toward following the presentation to council, and spoken with provincial and federal agencies.
Kent says it’s time for a skatepark in Queens, and Harding agrees.
“It will help it (Queens County) so much,” says Harding. “It’ll bring people together.”
The association became a non-profit organization in the winter of 2012. For information about the Queens County Skatepark Association, visit https://www.facebook.com/QueensSkatepark.