A Qualicum Beach resident has raised concerns about the safety of young skateboarders using the facility at the town’s community park.
Jennah Stavroff wrote to Mayor Brian Wiese and council about an incident involving her seven-year-old son on Sept. 4, when they went to the skate park for exercise and practice. She said her son smashed both his upper front teeth and severely damaged the inside of his lower lip, requiring an emergency visit to Oceanside Health Centre and the dentist.
Stavroff discovered from past PQB News articles that Pacific Board Culture Society had advised council of their safety concerns about the design and maintenance of the skatepark.
“While the sport certainly has an inherent risk of injury, the need for extra focus and care at this park is not clear on site and is only recognizable to already experienced riders,” Stavroff indicated in her letter to council. “I think it prudent for safety and liability that, as with ski runs, users and parents understand the difficulty and amount of risk they are accepting beforehand. A simple sign, while a permanent fix is worked on, should be sufficient.”
Stavroff added that she would have made an educated choice to either insist that her son wear a full-face BMX helmet, drive a bit further to use the City of Parksville’s skate park, choose another activity, or relate the risk in an age appropriate way to her son.
Town council acknowledged the concerns raised by Stavroff and recommended at its meeting on Oct. 7 directing staff to post additional signage at the skateboard park to indicate that the facility is unsupervised and advise that youth 10 years of age and under be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
There are also plans to refurbish the skate park. Council has approved the recommendation of the Select Committee for Parks and Recreation to invite the Pacific Board Culture Society to submit a management and design plan to undertake upgrades. As well, council authorized a lease to be established with PBCS for the upgrade and management of the park.