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Group looking to revamp Ladysmith skatepark

“Not only will it clean it up but the painting will add character to the park”

It’s not often that a group will approach the Town of Ladysmith and say they will improve a public amenity and there will be no cost to the community, but that is what a group of local parents, youth and other participants in the art of skateboarding want to do.

A couple of weeks ago members of the Ladysmith Skatepark Collective approached the Parks, Rec and Culture advisory group with a proposal to enhance the town’s aging skatepark, located beside the Frank Jameson Community Centre. The volunteer group pointed out that in the town’s 2023 Official Community Plan, one action is to expand the existing skatepark and add new amenities such as lighting and bike skills infrastructure. This is listed as a medium-term action (intended to be carried out within four-to-six years). The group acknowledged that things and costs change and and in the meantime their proposal to add art and colour to the existing facility can have a high impact and involve users of all ages.

The advisory committee approved of the initiative and asked town staff to pass along a recommendation to council to approve the plan to paint the skatepark, after consultation with the Public Arts committee. At their June 19 meeting council approved a motion that town staff work with the collective to bring the painting project to fruition.

Jesse Manner told the Chronicle at a meeting at the park recently that, “the goal of this part of the overall project is to bring life to our existing park right now.”

The collective is working on having the entire structure brought up to standards that are common today for safety and increased activity.

“Not only will it clean it up but the painting will add character to the park,” Manners said.

Tyler Mcneil, a local artist and parent of a park user added, “we need to add some colour to the park, to add some vibrancy, because the people that are using it are very vibrant. It will be kinda cool to match the people to the space.”

"We had talked to our collective about the idea and one of the members said it would bring a sense of ownership to the group. The youth using it will feel that they have been involved in making it better,” Manners said. "We think it will help everyone respect the park and area as well."

Manners said some people in town don't even know the skatepark is there.

"If it is colourful it will attract people. It can draw people to the park and it will inspire users," said Mcneil.

Mcneil and Manners said the next step is to line up volunteers and get supplies.

"We’re looking to the community to scrounge their basements, garages, etc. and dig up any left over cans of paint,” Mcneil said.

They also need things like brushes, rollers and cleaners, Manners said.

"We’re applying for a grant in aid from the town but we don’t know how that will go,” he said. "Maybe somebody would go to Home Hardware or Benjamin Moore and buy a gallon of paint to donate, that will be a huge help. We have approached both local stores and they have said that they are willing to help. We don’t want to rely on the rown, we’d like to show that the skaters can do the job. All we’re hoping from the town, besides a grant, is that they spray clean the park and there are some cracks and seams in the concrete, and they will fix those. Those types of things, especially in a skatepark, can be dangerous.”

The group stated that any donated paint, either used or new, should be exterior paint and either acrylic or latex. Colour isn’t a concern, they said.

“Once we’ve gathered all the necessary supplies, and sat down with the users to come up with design, then we can pretty well create the project with what we have,” they said.

Mcneil, who is a professional artist, will be the lead on the project once it’s ready to roll.

"It’s not just a skate board facility anymore. On any given day you’ll see roller blades, scooters, skate boards, BMX or mountain bikes, roller skates — they all use the park.”

"On our Wednesday night skate-ins we’ve had 30-plus folks out and it’s not just kids and the collective has over 170 members,” Manners said.

The group has special drop-ins on Wednesdays, around 4 p.m. at the skatepark, and anyone is welcome to attend. For those who want to help out on the painting project or to donate they can go to or they can go to Facebook to Ladysmith Skatepark Collective. People wanting to donate paint products can drop the supplies off at 409 Baden Powell St., in Ladysmith.

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