Skateboard enthusiasts holding Park the Park rally this Friday in Chemainus

There will be a mini park, live music, food and skate promotions this Friday from 4-9 p.m. at Waterwheel Park in Chemainus.

This Friday, skateboarding enthusiasts in Chemainus are hoping to “park” the debate about a skatepark during a rally at Waterwheel Park.

The Cowichan Neighbourhood House Association (CNHA) is hosting a Park the Park skateboard park rally Fri., Sept. 7 from 4-9 p.m. at Waterwheel Park.

“It’s to encourage people locally to be more open-minded about having a skatepark,” said Arlene Robinson of CNHA. “North Cowichan has been very co-operative, and they are lending us their indoor ramps for this, so it is a co-operative thing between North Cowichan and Cowichan Neighbourhood House.”

It is approaching a decade since Chemainus Arts and Business Council supported the idea of building a skatepark in Chemainus through an initiative letter to North Cowichan council, and council received petitions of letters supporting the idea, according to CNHA volunteer Lynda Poirier.

Frustrated by the recent debate over where the library is to be built, which has taken focus away from the drive to build a skatepark, Poirier was inspired to initiate a rally to get the town to end  the 10-year-old debate over a location for a skatepark and follow up on a commitment they made to the youth. She feels it is time to “park the park.”

Skate and bike enthusiasts are encouraged to take their “ride” to Waterwheel Park after school on Friday and enjoy the mini park, live music, food and skate promotions.

Murphy’s Flaw will be performing during the rally, and the band features Chemainus’ Rylie Murphy, who was the youth spokesperson for the skatepark project in 2008.

Everyone is invited to enjoy this event.

There is no cost to register, but anyone who is interested in participating in the skateboard rally is asked to e-mail cnhaoffice@shaw.ca. Participation is open to skateboarders up to age 19, and there will be different age groups.

There will be food stands selling corn on the cob, hot dogs and fish burgers, and some skateboard shops have donated prizes, explained Robinson.

There will also be some star celebrity skateboarders, she noted.

Poirier feels a skatepark is needed to provide a safe place to recreate, and she thinks a good skatepark in Chemainus should be part of building an inclusive, diverse community, as well as a tourism drawing card.

Finding a location has been a stumbling block.

“Location has always been an important component to the success of any skatepark,” according to a  2009 report by the Municipality of North Cowichan. “Unfortunately, within Chemainus, a perfect location is not attainable without the purchase of private property to accommodate. Previous councils have budgeted and supported the concept to plan and construct a skatepark, but due to the lack of support for a suitable location, the initiative has been nullified.”

More information about the rally and the efforts to build a skatepark in Chemainus can be found on the Park the Park Facebook group page.

Volunteers are needed to make this event a success. Anyone interested in helping out can contact Cowichan Neighbourhood House at 250-246-2303 or cnhaoffice@shaw.ca.