Just got word from Shane @ crazyskateboarding.com that Ashley Escott got the front page on the Trail Daily Times News Paper. This is great news for the Trail youth as they have been working hard at lobbying for a skatepark in Trail, BC. Check out the article below! Thanks to TDT
Teen gathers support for skate park
Ashley Escott collected 1,100 signatures in favour of Trail park
Trail Daily Times
Fri Jul 24 2009
Byline: Valerie Schillaci
Source: The Daily Times
A 19-year-old Trail resident is pushing for a skateboard park and the wheels are turning.
Ashley Escott handed out petitions to Greater Trail businesses about a month ago and has collected a whopping 1,100 signatures, not counting Rossland’s total, for the implementation of a park in Trail.
“I’ve been hoping for it, not really doing anything about it,” he said Wednesday, before he met with Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs and Mike Kent, a community development leader for Greater Trail.
“People are always saying, ‘We need a skate park’ but nobody does anything about it, so that’s why I did.”
There has been a tremendous response from residents, including the mayor.
“Like I told council, you know where my heart lays,” he said Wednesday. But Bogs said this kind of idea has to be supported by local youth, a well-established youth organization and a sponsor.
“He’s determined and dedicated but how much support will he have from young people? I don’t know,” said Bogs. “We need Trail youth attached to a Trail youth committee,” he said, referencing the value of having Kent on board.
“In cooperation with youth coordinators at the Columbia Youth Community Development Centre, Mike Kent will look at bringing the skateboard park idea to the youth advisory committee,” explained Bogs.
This committee already looks at several different aspects of Trail’s youth community and could potentially take the park under its wing.
Last year, the B.C. Healthy Living Alliance devoted funding to a provincewide initiative, which sought to improve youth communities across the province.
The $10,000 was granted to the Greater Trail youth advisory committee, which is supported by the Greater Trail youth action team, made up of community stakeholders – including Bogs.
Kent will bring the skatepark idea back to Tasha Henderson, YCDC coordinator, who will introduce the project to the 10 teens on the advisory committee. If there isn’t enough interest, then the group would have to recruit those willing to take it on, he explained.
Kent said it’s not his role to decide whether the project will move forward, it’s up to those on the committee and “not every youth will be keen on the skate park.”
Bogs has his fingers crossed that the group will support this project.
“They are an integral and important part of it. If that group doesn’t see the value . . . it will be disappointing and we’ll have to revisit the whole structure.”
Such a project will also need a signature sponsor, said Bogs, adding that he has contacted the Kinsmen and Rotary clubs.
Larry Plotnikoff, director of parks and recreation, and Trisha Davison, deputy director of parks and recreation also sat in on Escott’s meeting, as they’d be responsible for surveying a potential location if the skate park was given the green light.
An ideal site would be on the Columbia River bank, between Gyro and the boat launch, said Bogs.
The spot is close to washrooms and the Gyro concession, but is far enough from residents. It is also monitored by a surveillance camera and security.
A Trail skate park was an initiative four years ago, but Sunningdale residents shot down the potential location between Gyro Park and Sunningdale.
“There was quite the uproar from residents,” said Bogs. “We do not wish to revisit that location.”
Over the years, residents have argued that a skateboard park would cause loitering, vandalism, and drug dealing, while some have said such a park would benefit area youth.
Escott believes people attach stereotypes to these parks and to those who’d be using it.
“Obviously there are going to be people there after curfew but that’s what security at Gyro is for. This location has everything, we don’t need to build anything but a skate park.”
With nowhere to grind his wheels legally, Escott and other boarders must either stop skateboarding all together or break city laws.
“I skateboard downtown, pretty much where you see ‘No skateboard’ signs,” he said, adding that he also hits the Castlegar skate park whenever he has the opportunity.
“People get scared, they think we don’t have control and that we’re going to hit them,” he says, for those who shake their fists as he rolls by.
Escott has been skateboarding for nearly a decade. He started because “it looked cool” and he thought it would be fun.
He continues today because “it’s fun, keeps you active and keeps you outside.”
“I’ve gotten to know a lot of people because of it. To tell you the truth, I probably wouldn’t have started snowboarding and then I probably wouldn’t have the career I have, as a ski patrol,” he said.
Escott has mastered many tricks, including “heel-flips, front-slides, 180s, 360s, nose-slides” and the most challenging, a 360-flip, when the skateboarder kicks the board to initiate a kick-flip and spins the board backside in a “360 shove-it.”
Escott is keen to work with the city and Kent to get the park in motion.
It’s time well worth it, said Escott, who is finishing high school at Trail Middle School and working part time.
Once he’s done school, he hopes to pursue a career in first aid, perhaps as a paramedic.
Bogs hopes to see Escott’s vision played out, but the city will not take the project seriously without a well-organized presentation and structured approach, he said, adding that a pitch can be made to council in October.
The youth committee will meet next week, where they’ll learn of the potential project.
Youth interested in joining the committee can contact Tasha Henderson, coordinator at the Columbia Youth Community Development Centre, at 364-3322 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2009 Trail Daily Times