Turns out new West Kelowna city hall is good news for skateboarders | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Turns out new West Kelowna city hall is good news for skateboarders

Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Westiside Skateboard Society
March 08, 2021 - 4:05 PM

Initial concern over the possible loss of their West Kelowna skateboard park has turned to praise as plans move forward.

The popular skateboard park required a big community push and government grants to get it built in 2016. Now, West Kelowna plans to demolish it to make room for the city’s first purpose-built city hall.

READ MORE: Proposal to move West Kelowna's skatepark for new city hall ticks off skateboarders

“They are going to be building a new and improved version of the existing skateboard park so all the problems that people had with the skateboard park, they’re going to do their best to address when they build the new one, while maintaining all the same features that made the skateboard park so popular,” Mason Barzilay, with the Westside Skatepark Society and one of the skaters behind getting the existing park built, told iNFOnews.ca today, March 8.

The good features include very deep bowls that are “arguably some of the best in B.C.,” that will be replicated and are to be just as deep as the existing bowls, she said.

Improvements include adding a “rollover lip” to one of the bowls so it is more accessible to less experienced boarders. The flat, or “street” part of the park, has rails and other features that will be redesigned to improve the flow.

A staff report going to West Kelowna city council tomorrow commits to having the new park open before demolishing the old one.

The new park will also be next to the Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre so there’s not much change in location or access.

A small part of the land needed to build the park is in the Agricultural Land Reserve so the city applied at the end of February to the land commission, asking it to allow non-farm use on that land.

READ MORE: West Kelowna looks to build a combo City Hall and library

From what Barzilay understands, after meeting with city staff, is that will be a straightforward and simple process.

The city has already put out a call for contractors who are qualified to build such a park so the tendering process can be shortened.

The goal is to have the park open by mid to late summer, Barzilay said.

The only disruption to park use will be for a couple of days when construction crews will be doing drilling that would make it unsafe to use the new park.

“I believe, in the long run, that a couple of days lost is good (in exchange) for a new and improved skateboard park,” Barzilay said.

The goal is to have the new city hall, along with a relocated Okanagan Regional Library branch, open before the end of 2022.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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