Estimated $5 million facility would be located next to Laval Senior Academy
In the hopes perhaps of building up voter support in Laval’s central and western districts, mayoralty candidate Michel Poissant’s Laval Citoyens party is pledging to build a new skatepark on land owned by the City of Laval on Souvenir Boulevard just east of Laval Senior Academy.
Noting that skateboarding is now a competitive Summer Olympic Games sporting event, the party says that during the 2020 Tokyo games, they had noted that increasing numbers of girls, boys, men and women were participating actively in the sport.
Would cost $5 million
The proposed skatepark would be 12,000 square metres in size and cost around $5 million. Its design would be based on skatepark concepts produced by the University du Quèbec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) in 2005, in conjunction with the Association québécoise du loisir municipal and other experts and the Quebec Ministry of Sports and Leisure.
“Laval Citoyens is proud to present this major project for our youths, because it is important to offer them sports, leisure and arts infrastructures that allow them to channel their energy in a healthy way while using facilities created for them, but while seeing that our youths aren’t exposed to bad influences,” the party said in a statement.
Near Laval Senior Academy
During a press conference held last week in a parking lot next to Laval Senior Academy, Poissant said it was Laval Citoyens’ hope that the facility’s principal users would be LSA students. “I hope that we’re going to get some students from just close by,” he said, while adding “It’s one of the reasons why it’s here.”
If built (conditional on Laval Citoyens becoming the next administration at Laval city hall), the skatepark would probably be the largest such facility in Quebec, according to Poissant. “However, with the size of our city, it will allow our youth to come on out and have some fun,” he added, noting the steadily rising popularity of skateboarding and similar sports.
A strategic location
Regarding the cost, Poissant said the city would seek subsidies from the provincial and federal governments to help pay the bill. As for the location, he said it was important to choose a place at a considerable distance from residences, as well as near public transit since most of the users will probably be youths who don’t have full and easy access to car transportation.
The proposed skatepark would be 12,000 square metres in size and cost around $5 million
“The location is good,” said Poissant. “And we won’t need to purchase the land. As you may know, land is very expensive in Laval. This will help to minimize the size of the investment, while optimizing the usage of a piece of land that is already owned by the city. It’s a truly great project.”
Growing in popularity
According to Lyne Potvin, the Laval Citoyens candidate in the district of Souvenir-Labelle, there are now more than 500 publicly-supported skatepark facilities across Canada, while in the U.S. there are more than 2,800. Citing statistical information, she maintained that comparable numbers of people are now pursuing skateboarding, compared to baseball and volleyball which also remain popular.
Regarding skateboarding-related injuries, she said that only 12 per cent of injuries are reported to have taken place in skateparks, and most injuries happen where skateboarding is practiced on the street or in a similarly unregulated environment, said Potvin.
An improvised skatepark
While there are currently several smaller-scale skateparks located in neighbourhoods in various parts of Laval, including a skatepark in Laval-Ouest, Laval Citoyens believes the city needs a large and more comprehensive skateboarding facility.
Laval Citoyens party officials noted that some skateboarding enthusiasts from Chomedey set up an improvised skatepark in a vacant lot at the corner of Chomedey Blvd. and Souvenir Rd. They suggested that that this clearly shows there is a demand in Laval for a professionally-constructed skateboard park.