Wellesley ponders plan to enlarge skateboard half pipe outside village
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Wellesley ponders plan to enlarge skateboard half pipe outside village arena

Wellesley ponders plan to enlarge skateboard half pipe outside village arena

A half pipe behind the Wellesley arena has become a hub for young skateboarders in the area. Now pondering a request to enlarge the piece of sports equipment, township councillors want more information before making a decision.

The expansion was discussed as part of council’s first meeting since the summer break. Though staff recommended turning down the request, councillors weren’t onboard with a quick dismissal.

The structure was initially put behind the arena on a temporary basis, but seems to have made a home for now, with no imminent plans for a larger skate park facility in the area.

Mayor Joe Nowak didn’t know why staff was against the ramp add-on.

Director of recreation Brad Voisin cited financial and logistical reasons.

“It requires ongoing regular inspections, maintenance, which we paid a bunch of money to fix it up and make it CSA-approved last year,” he said. “The location is not ideal, in my opinion. My idea is I would like to see the groups fundraise for a proper skateboard park in a new location someday in the future.”

He also pointed out that the gas meter on the side of the building could be inaccessible.

Coun. Peter van der Maas didn’t agree, saying it was just a matter of a few feet.

“There is at least 10 feet between the face of the gas meter and the edge of the half pipe. It seems to me extending it six to eight feet wouldn’t put any restriction at all to gaining access to the meter,” he said. “As far as I know, there is no predictable future for a similar or equivalent apparatus for these kids to use, so seems to me this is a relatively minor issue that would create a lot of goodwill among the younger residents in the village.”

The high cost of a skate park, similar to the one in Elmira, made a new facility out of reach for the near future, costing up to $500,000.

The repairs and maintenance on the ramp was never questioned, and Jeff Quint from the Wellesley recreation service board pushed for approval to expand.

“First is maintaining, and then expanding it to make better use of it. Its wood is limiting, and if it is a bit wider, I know six and a half feet doesn’t sound like much, but I am told it makes a difference, but I am not a skater.”

Coun. Carl Smit suggested a delegation to council in support, gauging the project’s level of interest.

“I wonder how adamant the kids are about spending this money and actually doing this,” he asked. “I think that maybe we should just have them come and tell us what they want.”

Council passed a motion approving the repairs to the half pipe, while putting the expansion question on the backburner until a group came to speak to council.

The next Wellesley council meeting is on Sept. 6 at 6:45 p.m.

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