Windsor’s waterfront has a little bit more oomph these days.
The much-anticipated Waterfront Skatepark opened the weekend of Oct. 13-14.
Project manager Troy Burgess, a public works employee with the Town of Windsor, says members of the local “Not Just A Skater Kid” Society provided input that led to the design of the aesthetically-pleasing park, and he believes the dedicated involvement of local youth helped the facility quickly become a popular attraction within the town.
“I think it shows that it’s obvious that it was needed,” Burgess said.
“You go by and there’s 20 kids there most of the time.”
Burgess said he was proud to be a part of a project that brought all walks of life together.
“It was a nice community effort. We had a lot of people contribute time and labour and equipment.”
Some of the park features selected by local skaters include rails, ledges, stairs, a hubba wall, china bank and ramps.
“Not Just A Skater Kid” Society spokesperson Jack Kelly says the park was a long time coming.
“We’re just extremely happy that it’s here, and it’s done, and the kids are loving it,” he said in a brief phone interview.
“It’s become the site for the kids to call their own and enjoy themselves.”
Now that Windsor has a site for skateboard, scooter, stunt bike and inline skate users to hone their skills, Kelly says the “Not Just A Skater Kid” Society can focus on promoting safe, enjoyable and respectful skateboarding.
Windsor CAO Louis Coutinhosays determining a location for the skateboard park was a challenge for town council, and the waterfront suggestion was not without opposition, but, he feels, the park has actually encouraged more people to take advantage of the town’s waterfront.
“There was… the fear that this skatepark would take away from the enjoyment of those who walk around the park. Instead it has added to the enjoyment of those who walk around it. Additionally, parents are now walking around the lake while their kids are having fun in the outdoors,” he wrote in an email to the Hants Journal.
Coutinho says the park cost about $145,000 to build. The Town of Windsor donated the parcel of land and contributed $60,000, the Municipality of West Hants added another $60,000 to the pot, the provincial government gave $25,000 and local contractors donated the use of their equipment.
“The new skatepark adds another feature on the town’s waterfront. Council has heard many requests from the community for more recreation activities on the waterfront and they have also heard from our community the desire to see the waterfront utilized better. This is one step towards that,” he wrote.
Coutinho says the Town of Windsor’s Bylaw Enforcement Officer and local RCMP will be enforcing provincial helmet legislation.
Windsor District RCMP Commander Staff Sgt. Dan Austin says it is imperative park users wear helmets.
“We want to work with the kids starting off to educate them and see if they will understand they have to have them because it’s in their best interest,” Austin said.
He says police won’t be reaching for their ticket books right off the bat, but it will happen if park users refuse to comply with laws drafted with their safety in mind.
“We have the authority to seize skateboards and lay charges.”
The Waterfront Skatepark’s grand opening is Oct. 27. Live music and a barbecue starts at 1:15 p.m. and the ribbon cutting is at 2 p.m. There will be a prize for the best Halloween costume.