Dennis Lothian and Jonny Barkhouse enjoy a skateboard session on May 28 outside of the Windsor War Memorial Community Centre. On June 21, Thomas Street will be closed to traffic in support of International Go Skateboarding Day. Christy Marsters
By Christy Marsters
An underground skateboard scene in Windsor is becoming a hard-core community effort to change the public’s perception of this extreme sport.
On June 21, International Go Skateboarding Day, the Town of Windsor has agreed to close off Thomas Street and open up the Windsor War Memorial Community Center to skaters, who are out to prove the stereotypes associated with their sport are bogus. “We want be out promoting skateboarding for Windsor,” Jonny Barkhouse, 15, noted. “We want to show people in this town we are good kids, who happen to skateboard.”
Ultimately, the goal is to gain awareness and momentum for a skate park to be built in Windsor, Barkhouse added. “This will give kids around here an extra sport to do.”
To find out what local youth want to see in a skatepark for Windsor, Barkhouse and schoolmate Dennis Lothian have also planned to use a combined class at Hants West Middle School on June 5, to hand out questionnaires to the students.
On June 5, the community is also able to stop at the school (from 9:30 a.m.- 2 p.m.) to buy items sold by the students as part of this school project. Barkhouse and Lothian will sell stickers and bandanas, as the pair also voluntarily decided to donate 10 per cent of all profits to the school’s breakfast program; in an effort to show skaters do want to help.
Dennis Lothian, 14, said skaters want to help out within the community and are really just out there to have a good time. “We are not all bad kids,” he noted.
Skateboarding can be a great way of expression and it is nice to be able to just go out and practice alone sometimes, Lothian added. “It is hard to find a location. Although most people are letting us skate in most places now, we really do need a skatepark.”
Council Liz Galbraith, who also sits on the newly formed Skateboard Committee for Windsor, said she agrees a skateboard park is something important for this area.
The park will have to meet a lot of criteria to be visible and well designed. This is not going to be a project to happen over night, Galbraith said. “But, it is the right thing to do, so we should do it and do it right. We know there’s a market for this in Windsor.”
Bringing a skatepark to Windsor could be a huge draw for the town and the design could grow to create a beautiful urban landscape, Galbraith added. “We’re looking at skateboarding more progressively now. It’s not just a rudimentary form of transport but a bonafide sport. And, it’s fact, people who like to snowboard often like to skate.”
Matt Grant, 20, is a resident of Brooklyn and doesn’t skateboard but likes to ride on a BMX bike and is striving for the same cause. “There are numerous benefits having a skatepark could have on youth. It gives kids of all ages a chance to get out and get some exercise and to socialize with friends. Plus, it is something to do to pass time.” “I think a skatepark here is important because it’ll give kids a place to go, instead of having to travel the minimum of 30 minutes each time they want to get out,” Grant said. “It’ll bring people in from all over the province and may encourage some more kids to pick the sport up. I would like to see a concrete park with many feature in it.”
Recreation director VanEssa Roberts said she is looking forward to seeing the kids do some skate demonstrations during International Go Skateboarding Day on June 21.
The skateboard committee asked to close off Thomas Street for this event and the town is happy to facilitate the request, Roberts added. “Anything to help keep kids active.”
On June 21, Thomas Street will be closed for International Go Skateboarding Day. Members of the public are welcomed to attend. There will be SKATE competitions, demonstrations, movies, entertainment, prizes, lessons and a BBQ going on throughout the day. Those who come out to board and are wearing a helmet will get one free canteen ticket. Bring a board and help rally for a good cause.