Blackfalds residents are worried a proposed skatepark in Pine Crescent Park would attract graffiti and drugs.
Crista Snider, who lives on Pine Crescent, said she enjoys the view from her window, which overlooks the park, goes for her runs along the park’s pathways, and enjoys family time there.
“We like the view from our window and the open area for recreational use,” she said. “With the skatepark we won’t have much space left to do any of those things.”
About 15 people showed up to the recent Blackfalds town meeting to voice their concerns about the project.
Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole said construction of the skatepark was initially planned for June, but is on hold until a decision is made. That’s expected to be at the council meeting on June 12.
The park development plan has been in the works since 2013, and discussions for the skatepark started last fall. He said the skatepark will be a small one, consisting of four to five pieces of equipment from an old skatepark.
He said the skatepark equipment is meant for younger children such as those who would be learning to skateboard.
“We thought that would be ideal for new community who have young children,” he said.
Snider heard about the proposed skatepark from Fortis Alberta employees who wanted access to her electrical box. She surveyed people in the 46 neighbouring houses to get their take on the proposed park. She found out three people were in favour of the skatepark, two were on the fence, and 47 were against it.
She said younger children use the park, and the skatepark would attract older children and teens.
“I have safety concerns for our children and young families that use the park currently like vandalism, bullying, vaping, potential for drug and alcohol,” she said.
Judy Dyck, a resident on Coleman Crescent, said she sits out on her deck every day and watches young children play and families spend time together at the park.
“It’s peaceful and quiet,” the 67-year-old said.
“The skatepark is going to bring vandalism, trouble, especially when cannabis comes in, which will bring more work for everybody in general.”
She said she worries about graffiti and teenagers speeding on the streets in the neighbourhood. Her concerns come from children and teens who use the skating rink at the park, that the town installs during winters.
Dyck said she still hasn’t made her peace with the rink which was installed for the third time this winter. She said in the past, rink users have covered part of her fence in graffiti and left a hole in her fence from a puck.
Both residents were concerned the town did not communicate its skatepark plan with them.
Poole said their concern is “valid” because the town did not have a public meeting about it.
“We didn’t anticipate there would be that much concern over it, because as I said there are only four pieces of equipment,” he said.
“Obviously the residents there feel differently and that’s why we’re re-looking at it at the next council meeting.”