Cloverdale skate park needs an overhaul

It’s time to renovate – if not completely overhaul – Cloverdale’s skate park, says the owner of a local board shop.

Shawn Jafarnejad of Ollie North Skate Shop in Cloverdale.

Calling Extreme Makeover, Skate Park Edition.

It’s time to renovate – if not completely overhaul – Cloverdale’s skate park, says the owner of a local board shop.

The decade-old facility has so many cracks and bumps it’s impossible for newbies to skate safely, says Shawn Jafarnejad, an Ontario native who came west to work at the 2010 Winter Olympics and stayed, opening Ollie North Skate Shop in Cloverdale last year.

“Cloverdale’s one of the most busiest parks in the Lower Mainland,” he says, “because we’ve got the best vibe.”

But the vibe here is a lot harsher on inexperienced skaters, whom he says are getting hurt due to sharp ramp angles and transitions at the park.

There are other issues: the snake run was never built, and the bowl has a bump in the centre. It’s as if the builders had some dirt left over and put it there, he says.

Jafarnejad is hoping to convince the City of Surrey to revamp the park, or demolish it entirely and rebuild it from scratch.

Located at the youth park at 17848 64 Avenue, the facility is lagging behind contemporary skate parks, which can be constructed to look more like a plaza, and are places where families would feel comfortable walking with their children and “not know it’s a skate park,” he says.

Jafarnejad is trying to garner support for turning the park into more family and visitor-friendly spot, with better lighting, an art wall, attractive landscaping with benches, planters, fountains and walking paths, even a community garden.

“I’m trying to get the 95 per cent of the community involved, not just the skateboarders. The parents, the teachers, the everyday traffic that walks by there.”

He’s hopeful after talking to skate park companies and after a conversation with Mayor Dianne Watts at the official opening of the state-of-the-art Chuck Bailey Youth Park. “We all know it all comes down to money and budgeting,” he added.

His vision is to turn the Cloverdale Youth Park into a Skate-Spot Safe-Spot, a 24-hour skate spot with an emergency call system and a city map pointing out nearby amenities and bus routes.

“It’s a spot where all the community can hang out,” he said. “So it’s always safe, because there’s always eyes, there’s always ears.”

This week, Jafarnejad is seeking online votes for the proposal, which has made it to round two of the Aviva Community Fund competition. If successful, the project would gain $100,000 to $150,000 in grant money to get off the ground.

As of Tuesday, the proposal had garnered 324 online votes and 229 ‘likes’ on Facebook. Round two voting ends Nov. 9 at noon ET.

He’s also gathering signatures on a petition seeking support for rebuilding Cloverdale’s skate park.

He says the final result would help bring the community together – and add another attraction to Cloverdale.

To vote or view the idea, go to www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/view/12609, or visit www.ollienorth.ca and follow the link to the Aviva Community Fund website.

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