Riley Park: Playground attraction is like a rock

A decade isn't a very long time in geological time, but an artificial boulder in Riley Park located in a playground near the corner of Ontario Street and 33rd Avenue has nonetheless made a name for itself since its construction in 2002.

One of the people responsible for helping to build the free climbing spot, a popular alternative for urban climbers to pricey indoor climbing gyms, says she nonetheless expects the mushroom-shaped boulder will still be there for a very, very long time.

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"It's absolutely indestructible and will be here in the next glacier era," said Tami Knight, an acrobatics instructor for CircusWest and a well-known figure in B.C. climbing circles for pioneering difficult routes in Squamish since the late '70s. "You couldn't even pack that thing full of C4 and blow it up."

Despite its popularity as a (literal) hangout, Knight, 53, doubts the park board will someday build another one elsewhere due to the high cost and liability issues.

"They are trying to trim their budget everywhere and if you could convince them by making an argument that this thing would be fabulous for everyone then you might get another one built, but the fact of the matter is there is a very small user group for quite an expensive item."

She said the budget for the boulder more than doubled during construction, and estimates building a new one could cost as much as $100,000.

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