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Plans announced for South Surrey longboarding site

A pilot project giving longboarders a place to ride is coming to South Surrey Athletic Park. - Wikimedia Commons photo
A pilot project giving longboarders a place to ride is coming to South Surrey Athletic Park.
— image credit: Wikimedia Commons photo

A designated site for longboarders will be built at South Surrey Athletic Park, the City of Surrey has announced.

The site, part of a pilot project, will be located on the “service access road” that begins near the 20 Avenue parking lot and runs south between the baseball diamonds and running track, which is in the southwest corner of the 14600 20 Ave. park.

Surrey’s manager of parks, Owen Croy, estimated the grade of the pathway to be “about 6.5 per cent,” and especially good for boarders who are new to the sport.

The location’s proximity to public transit is also noted.

The city is to add barriers on either side of the pathway – which is already paved – to ensure it does not intersect with any other walking paths in the area, Croy said. Appropriate signage will also be posted.

He estimated the cost of the project to be “a few thousand dollars” and said he would “like to get it up and running in the next six weeks,” though he added that timeline is not definite.

“It’s a work in progress, but it engages youth, and we think it’s an excellent way to get (young longboarders) off the streets, where there are safety concerns.”

Croy believes the longboarding project would be the first of its kind in B.C.

Longboarding – similar to skateboarding, except the board’s dimensions and wheels are bigger – has become a popular sport on the Peninsula in recent years. And with its growth in popularity has come increased concerns about the safety of boarders, pedestrians and motorists.

“It’s very unfortunate but there have been some tragic incidents in other places in recent years,” he said.

Those include the 2010 death of experienced longboarder Glenna Evans in North Vancouver, who died of injuries suffered when she collided with a van. This past January, separate incidents on Vancouver Island claimed the lives of two teenaged longboarders.

Croy said the impetus for the project came from the local longboarding community, members of which had recently made a presentation to the city’s park and recreation committee.

“We have had a growing interest in longboarding from the community, and we are responding to that interest,” he said.

Vancouver longboarder Graham Collingwood made the first presentation to the committee, and said though he is not a local resident, he was thrilled for the opportunity to speak to civic leaders on behalf of other longboarders.

“This project is a real stepping stone to bigger projects in the future, so it was great,” he said. “This (site) is pretty mellow, and might be more for beginners, but it’s a good start, and it’s better than just banning longboarding altogether.

“Everyone was very (receptive) to our presentation. We have this opportunity to show the city that this is something they should allocate some of their budget for in the future.”

The pilot project will be monitored over the summer, and if deemed a success, the city would be open to creating more sites where the activity would be permitted.

In White Rock, longboarding is prohibited in the city, while skateboarding is banned within an area bounded by Oxford Street to the west, North Bluff Road to the north, Best Street to the east and Buena Vista Avenue to the south.

Last spring, local longboarders asked White Rock council for a review of the bylaw. Consideration of the matter was deferred to this year.

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