The skateboard park in Cobourg, in its present state is done and dusted. In this news flash the Town announced that the skateboard park located in Donegon Park will be closed, because it is unsafe. This has come as a surprise to the users of the Park and has elicited many questions from the public and an online petition has been created to influence Council to keep it open.
What we at the BR would like to know is if monthly inspections were being done why did the decision to shut the place come so fast. It was a known fact that this park was probably five years overdue for a replacement and that structural deficiencies do not jump out of the ground overnight. Also if it was suspected that a new park was necessary why weren’t the monthly inspections tied to the decision to site a new one at the CCC in 2018? We believe that the new park was part of the wish list to gild the lily of the CCC Campus Plan. Surely unsafe conditions were apparent a couple of years ago and if so why wasn’t replacement planning put into the budget of the Parks Department?
Going back to the establishment of the skate park one will remember that Council had to be dragged kicking and screaming into giving the clamouring youth a facility. Finally when they got one it became a popular place proving the wisdom of the decision. Again the fact that despite whatever Council, of any vintage, says youth have always had to fight for something other than a sports field, then perhaps it was the Dads fighting that battle!
But back to the decision to shut this park down without a replacement facility we now see Pols scrambling to paper over the bad planning and hasty decisions. Councillor Rickerby, as the point person for the Council, in her last quote of a recent interview with the media here said “I understand how important the skate park is to Cobourg and everyone who uses it. My goal is to have a modern park that will be more inclusive with more functionality for very young children up to adults.” Do we sniff a whole bunch of undercurrents in this statement, “inclusivity” meaning not just hairyarsed scruffy teenagers, “more functionality” what can you add to a skatepark before it is not a skatepark just a kids playground, “for very young children up to adults” a recipe for a very bad mix!! Obviously somebody has an idea of what the new one should look like, if that is the case then a top-down strategy is bound to fail.
But back to the main point, if the Town recognises it made a very poor job of implementing a safety measure then they now have a chance to redeem themselves – consult with the users, this place must be one of the few activities that doesn’t have a users committee. Do not rely on just the consultant to make all the decisions, surely the idea of remedial repairs has merit. And because the skate park didn’t become unsafe overnight the inspection procedures must be rewritten to be realistic.