One site off the list, for now, for new Central Saanich skate park

Central Saanich drops Orchard Park Meadow as top pick.

One proposed location within Centennial Park for a new skate park in Central Saanich is now off the table.

However, it will still be considered by council as it works through ideas for the facility.

The proposed location for the new skate park was within Centennial Park at a spot called Orchard Park Meadow.

The original resolution was passed in June of last year and, in principle, was endorsed to look at using that portion of Centennial Park for the skate park.

While the site was discussed, council did not pick or make a formal decision on location. The District made grant applications at the time. In order to submit them, staff had to identify the approximate size, cost and location. It was on that basis that Orchard Park Meadow was listed.

The grant applications were not successful.

Central Saanich resident Daniel Shnitka attended last Monday’s council meeting to oppose the use of Orchard Park Meadow.  He gathered a petition of more than 200 signatures, set up in conjunction with Centennial Park Community Association.

He said this all began when there was broad support to deal with the park being threatened years ago.

He and others got together and as a neighbourhood, worked to stop the park’s destruction. He said they met together on a weekly basis discussing ways to preserve the park.

Shnitka told the PNR he feels no one was informed and that council jumped to the decision to have a skate park within Centennial Park.

Councillor Carl Jensen, who sits on the District’s skatepark committee, said he was open to taking the site at Orchard Park off the table as a gesture that they are open to engage with the public.

Council agreed to that, pending further community engagement and discussion.

Shnitka said he is happy Orchard Park was taken off the table but wants council to look closely at a possible location to the southeast corner of the soccer area and greenfield near Stelly’s Secondary School. He feels this would be a better location as there are no neighbours, it’s close for kids to go on their lunch break and there are no trees to cut down.

Councillors Bob Thompson and Alicia Holman both said they are going into the upcoming skate park committee with an open mind and hope to hear various suggestions from the community.

Thompson also asked that staff consider including an insert in the community newsletter to help promote the skate park open house.

Staff are looking at the end of May or beginning of June for the open house for the new skate park.ktu 6