The Town of Blackfalds has wrapped up a successful summer at a second skatepark that recently opened at the east end of the community— but not everyone is a fan.
Resident Dennis Dyck has been expressing concerns about disturbances from the skatepark ever since it was proposed at Pines Crescent Park. Now, he feels his fears are justified.
Ever since the mobile ramps were moved onto the skatepark’s cement pad in July, Dyck says he and his wife have been bothered by noise, swearing and marijuana smoke.
The skatepark is about 36.5 metres from their elevated backyard patio. Dyck says skateboarders and BMX-ers have been practising jumps until 10 p.m. on some evenings — and “banging” has continued until 11:30 p.m. the odd night.
He notes the park receives enough illumination from streetlights for skateboarding to continue after dark.
While use of the skatepark has declined since school started, and the weather cooled, he’s concerned about being bothered again next summer during the height of the backyard season.
The jolting sound of metal hitting cement makes it hard to enjoy sitting outdoors, said Dyck.
He wants the Town of Blackfalds to look at padding the bottom of the metal ramps to try to reduce the noise level.
“If they put spacers under the ramps,” it might muffle the sound, he suggests.
Dyck wonders why the park had to be installed so close to residences.
The town’s community services director, Sean Barnes, says his staff studied various noise-reduction options and didn’t feel Dyck’s idea would help, as they believe the noise is caused by skateboards riding on metal rails.
At this point, “it is what it is,” says Barnes, who notes the town has made several attempts to appease Dyck, including moving the skatepark 50 to 60 feet further away from his house than was proposed.
Some of the ramps were levelled off to prevent shifting, and trees were planted to eventually grow into a noise-mitigating berm.
This second skatepark was added to the town’s east side because residents complained in the last election there weren’t enough close-by recreational amenities for their children, says Barnes.
A playground and outdoor ice rink were also added to Pines Crescent Park.
He credits town officials for following through on promises made to east-side kids.
So far, the skatepark has been well used and enjoyed by families in the area, says Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole.
“A number of citizens have commented on how pleased they are to have the facility available. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback” — and only one complaint, he adds.