COLD LAKE - It won't be much longer before skateboarders, BMX riders, and scooter enthusiasts will have a new place to shred.
The Cold Lake Skate Park is expanding and by the end of summer will offer a new space for boarders and riders to show off their moves.
New Line Skateparks Inc. is the Calgary-based company in charge of designing the local park's expansion.
Manager of design operations Rob Eng provided an update to city council on May 18.
“The park will gain an approximate 3,000 sq ft of new terrain and with the exact terrain features to be determined by the users,” explained Eng during the committee meeting. “Through the whole development journey, we are in the phase one area, sort of half-way between wrapping up the concept design options and we’re getting very close to coming together with a final design and three renderings of the expansion."
Their plan is to be in the construction phase by the end of May and into June, with the hopes of wrapping it all up before the end of summer.
“Then that hopefully gives everyone an opportunity through the summer of 2021 to enjoy the expansion to the park,” expressed Eng.
When considering the future of the skate park, Eng said they had to take a look at what's already been done.
“We had a look at the features that were integrated into the whole facility, making sure we understood again what the skill level was, what we already provided, and then trying to make sure we gave a good balance of this expansion and really seeing what was missing, but also addressing some of the concerns from the users,” he outlined.
In order to get a better idea of what users wanted to see, Eng and the city conducted a survey, which received 173 responses.
Those taking part were asked what style of terrain they would like the expansion to take with organic flowing the most popular option.
Coming in close-second was the flowing street terrain.
“These are very popular terrain styles for both skateboarders, BMXers, and scooters, who use this facility all of the time,” noted Eng.
Eng and his team then reached out to 70 skate park users and asked them their preference between the two.
Out of those they asked, 31 responded and, in the end, the flowing street terrain was the more desired style.
“The selected option is the one that is the more flowing street style option. This adds in more street style terrain that is designed by the user group out there, more ledges and ramps, as well as providing a small mini ramp,” detailed Eng. “In the skate park, we noticed a lack of beginner and learning areas, so a lot of the features in this new zone are of a much lower level and give you a more secluded area where you can learn to begin riding in an enclosed mini ramp area, but it also still gives you the opportunity to extend the full-length of this park from the new section through to the old section riding in that long linear line that follows the runway."
When it comes to the specifics on what will be included, Eng said they have yet to iron out the details, however their aim is to lengthen the park out toward the east end.
Coun. Chris Vining was curious whether the park would still be usable as the expansion is underway.
Eng explained how for the most part, it should still be open throughout construction.
“We’re planning very strongly to make sure we build off of the existing skate park and utilize and maximize the usage of that space. That ledge that’s on the edge of the skate park at the moment, we’re actually adding to that feature and putting another feature directly onto the back of that so it functions both within the existing park and the new park,” explained Eng.
One concern Mayor Craig Copeland had was the amount of conflict spots where skateboarders, bike riders, and scooter users were getting pretty close to each other.
"With the new design, do you see that there will be less conflict areas or is that just the nature of the park itself?” he asked.
“It’s a little bit of the nature of the parks and the different styles of usage. We noticed a lot in particularly with the skateboarders versus bike riders versus scooters, they each have their own different style in terms of what they prefer and like to do," detailed Eng. "Many of the conflicts we see nowadays we’re hoping is more dealt with through education or in a programming system, where some municipalities have something similar to a lifeguard, but it’s a skate park host. They can help explain rules and go through what to watch out for and have some sort of park etiquette in the parks."
He added, “It’s a bit of a user-education piece. The other part is we try to minimize as much as possible."
Eng is also hopeful the new small mini-ramp area planned for the expansion will provide an opportunity for those who want to learn a space to do so.
With skateboarding recently being added to the list of official Olympic sports, Eng said a lot of municipalities are following the city's lead and considering skate parks of their own.
“It’s has really become a popular spot," Copeland said, adding he always sees skateboarders, BMX riders, and scooter enthusiasts of all ages at the local park.