SKATE AND DESTROY
A neighbour of the new Mount Pleasant Park says the community's skateboard spot has turned out to be the nightmare many residents predicted it would be.
Linda Darling told the Courier the skate park at Ontario and West 17th Avenue has become a magnet for men who dominate the tiny facility to the point where neighbourhood kids can rarely use it. "It depends on the time of day," said Darling. "But it seems like the only times the little ones can use the park is when their fathers are home to defend their territory. Mount Pleasant Park is no longer a welcoming place for children-or old people for that matter."
Darling adds the children's playground is directly beside the skate park. The park board recently voted to allow year-round basketball at Kits Beach based partly on the fact the children's playground was relocated away from the courts.
Complaints about players swearing so close to the Kits playground was one of the reasons that-until recently-the courts were only open certain months of the year. Darling says hearing foul language coming from the skate park is an everyday occurrence.
"These are not older boys I'm talking about," said Darling. "These are adult men."
Darling said broken glass from smashed beer bottles is also becoming so common she and some other residents who live near the skate park have cleaned up garbage on their own.
"Ironically, a sign next to the playground says dogs aren't allowed within 15 metres of the children [playground]," Darling said. "But I have yet to meet any dog that curses, smokes and defaces public property with paint and broken glass. How about a sign saying 'No foul-mouthed slobs within 15 metres of children.'"
Vision Vancouver park board commissioner Sarah Blyth says there are always growing pains when a new skate park opens. She added Vancouver youth don't have a lot of options for recreation. "Remember all of these little kids are going to turn into a youth one day too," Blyth said. "They need a place to go in this world too."
Blyth says the Vancouver Skateboard Coalition, which has been involved with the planning of the park, has worked hard to find solutions for everyone involved. Blyth called the Courier back Monday afternoon to say a meeting is being scheduled for the site, which will give both the skaters and members of the community an opportunity to talk.
But it's not all bad news, according to Darling, who says a small group of skaters are taking the time to teach some of the younger kids how to skateboard. "It's just too bad they're not all like that," she said.
I'll post the date of the meeting in this column once it's been confirmed.
SAILING, TAKE ME AWAY
The annual Jericho Sailing Centre Open House takes place Saturday, May 12, from noon to 4 p.m. at 1300 Discovery St.
Bring your landlubber friends down to see the ocean access opportunities available. Members of Jericho's schools, clubs and fleets will be on hand with sign-up information and there will be plenty of on-water activities. Guests will receive member discounts on purchases at the Galley Restaurant, which I have to say has one of the best summer patios and views in the entire city.
While you're in the neighbourhood check out the work the park board has done to date on the area surrounding what's left of the old Jericho marginal wharf.