Hope for the South Vancouver Skateboarders
CitySkate skateboard amenities strategy adopted by Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
By Milica Anic
Although South Vancouver has no skateparks despite skateboarding’s increasing popularity, skateboarders are hopeful that a city strategy will encourage new skateparks and indoor facilities.
South Vancouver had an indoor skate facility for nearly nine years. Located in an industrial area on Ontario Street near the Fraser River, the Dryspot Indoor Sk8 Park operated from 2009 to 2018.
Operated by Ben Chibber, the owner of Monké Skateboards in South Vancouver, it was the only indoor facility in the city. But since Chibber was not licensed to run an indoor skatepark, the city told him to shut down the indoor facility.
“It was such a big deal, people loved my spot,” Chibber said. “I was servicing the community.”
Chibber said it was the best he could do for South Vancouver and does not believe indoor facility is feasible.
But as of 2022, the city has a long-term plan to increase skateparks throughout Vancouver in a fair and equally distributed manner, said David Harrison, senior communications specialist at Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, in an email to the Voice. The CitySkate skateboard amenities strategy, adopted by the board in 2022, seeks to create “well-connected network of welcoming skate amenities and addresses the significant service gaps throughout the city,” Harrison said.
The CitySkate plan identified the South Vancouver area as a priority location for a new skatepark. The plan includes the establishment of new skatepark in the Cambie Corridor district as well as a new park in either in Marine Gateway or East Fraser Lands, as those areas become more densely populated, Harrison said.
“Regarding indoor skate facilities, during engagement on the CitySkate strategy, we heard from the public that an indoor skate space is a high priority for Vancouver’s skateboarding community, and we intend to prioritize this piece as we work to implement the identified actions,” Harrison said.
Chibber said if the skateboard community wants an indoor facility in South Vancouver it needs to find an unused building.
The Courts skatepark, an extremely popular spot in East Vancouver, was made into a do-it-yourself outdoor skatepark from an unused tennis court and is now maintained by members of the skating community.
“DIY skateparks are unique because the design of them and the management of them is rooted in the community for more of a grassroots initiative,” said Oliver Tennant, a volunteer with Britannia Skateboard Committee.
DIY skateparks can be reconfigured by moving wooden ramps and obstacles to create either more advanced or beginner friendly spaces, said Tennant. The skaters can move ramps, boxes and ledges to create a new park each time.
“So that ever-changing ability is something that keeps [the park] fresh,” said Tennant.
“We were teaching skateboarding … Because there’s so much activity going on in skateboarding, a lot of creative people like to skateboard and express themselves that way,” said Chibber.