South Surrey Athletic Park will be the place to be for longboarders in Surrey starting next month.
City council has approved a temporary longboarding site at the park with the aim of keeping longboarders off city streets and helping young boarders learn how to ride safely from those experienced in the sport.
The pilot project will run from April to September 2014.
“We’re going to have actual lessons from experienced longboarders…teaching safety around longboarding, and trying to get longboarders that have been using public streets to engage in this pilot project within the park,” said Coun. Linda Hepner.
The origin of this pilot project dates back to Oct. 16, 2013, when a delegation of local board riders and Surrey RCMP Const. Troy Derrick spoke to Surrey’s park, recreation and sport tourism committee about the need for a designated area for longboarding in the city.
In the previous months media coverage of longboarding accidents during the summer had sparked debate between the longboarding community, concerned citizens and the local authorities about the safety risks of the sport. Longboarding is banned on the streets of Surrey.
The delegation discussed the rapid growth of the sport and the lack of facilities for younger longboarders to learn the necessary safety basics from more experienced riders. Several parks in the region were identified as being potential sites for longboarding.
“It was clear that there was some enthusiasm from the boarders themselves to make this a success,” Hepner said.
“We’re teaming up with them, and they’re the ones that are going to be helping with those that show up and are interested in the programs.”
A report submitted to city council recommending the approval of the site said RCMP officers often see longboarding happening on the streets of Surrey, and that “having this pilot project will also provide the RCMP with the ability to direct longboarders off the streets to an alternate site.”
Hepner said if the project is successful the park may become a permanent site for the sport and the city may look for other potential locations.