New Sidney skate park is ready to roll

Sidney approves new design and $300,000 to build in Tulista Park.

The chosen design of Sidney’s new skate park will be built at the north end of Tulista Park along Lochside Drive.

A new skateboard park will be built at the north end of Sidney’s Tulista Park.

The Town has approved the use of that portion of the green space for a skateboard facility that will replace the town’s existing one south of the Mary Winspear Centre, next to the Pat Bay Highway. Park users, however, will have to wait until the spring of 2017 — the anticipated date of completion.

Sidney will spend an estimated $300,000 on a design provided by consulting firm New Line Skateparks. The new facility was created after a pair of public open houses, during which users provided feedback on what they’d like to see built. Tim Tanton, Sidney’s director of development services, engineering, parks and works, says council chose New Line’s first option, which better reflected what people said they wanted in the new park. Full design details are available from the Town of Sidney.

Tanton confirmed Sidney has set aside $150,000 this year and the same amount next year for the project. Staff will also be looking for grant money.

“I think this is a great contender for grants,” Tanton said.

Some of that money will be used for pre-construction costs, Tanton said. Council approved a plan to preload the Tulista Park site. What that means, Tanton said, is a pile of rocks and earth to help compress the soil at the site.

“We conducted a foundation and geotechnical assessment of the area and found two meters of compressible soil there, or soft clay.”

Tanton said there are two options: either remove the clay or pile weight upon it (preloading) to compress it and allow water to drain. The latter option is less expensive, he added, noting that all cost and work estimates at this point are tentative.

Sidney is still working on final design drawings and costs with the consultant.

If the preloading option goes ahead, Tanton said the site would see a one to two-meter pile of rock and earth for six months, starting this summer.

“You have a new skateboard park guys,” said a pleased Mayor Steve Price during a recent council meeting, addressing a small group of park users.

The Town decided to replace its skate park once they decided to proceed with plans for two major projects on the land south of the Winspear Centre — a large parking lot and a replacement fire hall. Residents and park users pushed the Town to look at replacing it, before they tore it down.

Tulista Park was chosen as the site, according to the Town, based on location, access to services and available space.

The choice to use the north portion of Tulista did, however, not go by unchallenged. Some nearby residents opposed the move.

Councillor Barbara Fallot acknowledged those concerns and said she listened to people who were opposed to the move.

“Now, I don’t see any real conflict there,” she said. “The skate park does not use up the entire north block of Tulista.”

Fallot added she feels it will enhance the site.

“There’s a desire in this community to be welcoming and have as wide a range of activities for as many people as possible.”

Coun. Mervyn Lougher-Goodey noted there was a worry expressed about conflict between pedestrians and skateboarders on nearby sidewalks. Tanton noted during the meeting that it’s currently illegal to skateboard on sidewalks in Sidney.

‘Yet, I have found there to be a polite situation right now,” he said.

He noted options council could explore include ticketing skateboarders on sidewalks, or widening the sidewalks around Tulista Park to prevent conflicts.

The new park will also be a graffiti-free zone. How to enforce that, Coun. Tim Chad noted, will be part of future council policy discussions.