Totally rad dude! Finally something for kids to do

Iqaluit recreation department buys skate parks



Skateboarders, BMX bikers, rollerbladers and in-line skaters of Iqaluit unite. A super-cool, ultra-rad skate park is coming to town.

The city’s recreation department has purchased two portable skate parks scheduled to arrive in August. Fully equipped with a launch ramp, flat bank, quarter pipe, table top middle, two table ends, a two-by-eight fun box and large and small rails, these movable recreation areas are suited for the beginner as well as the skilled.

After four months of research, the recreation department stumbled across the mini portable parks, which are stored in trailers and easily assembled. City staff said they were pleased and fortunate to find a design suitable to their needs at a relatively cheap price, compared with many American products on the market which are expensive and high-tech.

The design is the result of similar frustrations felt by staff at the Caledon Centre For Recreation and Wellness in the town of Bolton, Ontario. Inundated by pricey American products, local staff decided to design their own skate park, and went into the business of selling and renting their innovative new product as well.

The city of Iqaluit purchased two 24-foot roadmaster trailers each containing nine pieces of equipment for $76,850, including the cost of freight. The simplicity of the design allows for quick and easy set up anywhere around town where concrete exists. The pieces can be assembled by a couple of kids, who the recreation department plans to hire as summer students.

But it’s the versatility of the design that really caught the eye of Simon Adams, the city’s recreation facility and operations manager.

“They are especially good for us because the weather in Iqaluit is so unpredictable that we can set up half of it on the ice pad in the Arctic Winter Games arena and still use the other half of the rink space for sports like ball hockey,” Adams said.

When the weather is nice, the park can be set up outside, either in front of the new arena or in a more central area such as the basketball courts in front of Nakasuk School.

“I’ve seen some of the kids out in front of the fire department skateboarding – not the most appropriate or safest place for them to play,” Adams added.

Adams, a retired skateboarder who now prefers in-line skating, began tossing around the idea of a skate park about four years ago. But it wasn’t until the city started laying pavement in some areas that the possibility became real.

“Once we got concrete out in front of the new Arctic Winter Games arena I started seriously looking into it,” Adams said.

“You’ve got to be careful and not give away the farm when buying equipment, because things like skateboarding can sometimes be a fad. But there are quite a few kids around here that skateboard, and there’ll probably be more once the parks arrive.”

And more skateboarders could translate into more business for local stores carrying sporting equipment. Kids using the parks will be required to wear proper gear, such as knee and elbow pads Adams said he plans to approach a few of the local businesses about adding this kind of equipment to their shelves.

The recreation department will also be hiring several students with first aid certification to supervise the parks.

“There are a lot of liability issues so we’ll need trained supervisors, which we will make a part of our program,” he added.

The recreation department also plans to rent the equipment out to groups around town.

City councillors voted unanimously in favour of purchasing the equipment at its July 8 meeting. A lack of youth activities has been a concern for councillors, recreation staff and RCMP for many years.

It’s commonly thought that a lack of youth activities leads to an increase in problems like youth-related crime. Although the skate park won’t solve all these problems, Adams said he does believe any kind of organized activities for youth helps reduce negative incidents involving young people.

And with this project well under way, Adams said the next thing his department will look into is creating a BMX trail, possibly out in Apex near the old metal dump.

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