By Trevor Busch
Vandalism problems are continuing to be reported at the Taber Skateboard Park, and the Taber Recreation Board is targeting repair options that might help eliminate further issues.
The Taber Skateboard Park was built in 2007 by Newline Skateparks, and according to administration, over the last decade the facility has held up well with staff completing annual preventative maintenance. However, vandalism at the facility has been an escalating problem.
In 2016, it was discovered that individuals were removing the paving bricks used as a decorative feature at the facility, and that Venture Holdings had repaired the damages at no cost to the town. In spring 2017, further vandalism was reported, with numerous paving stones removed with a crowbar, which resulted in a further safety risk for users of the facility.
“We looked at public works just pouring some concrete in there, but we actually don’t want to do that, because the skateboard park is actually made from a specific type of concrete mix,” said recreation director Aline Holmen, speaking at the rec board’s May 4 regular meeting. “Pouring regular concrete in there and binding the two together will cause all kinds of problems.”
Administration contacted Newline Skateparks, who met with town representatives on site to review possible solutions to the problem. At that time, a thorough inspection of the facility was also conducted which identified required repair measures, including concrete cracking and deterioration, which was outside the scope of routine maintenance.
Newline Skateparks prepared a proposal for repairs and possible solutions to the vandalism problem involving paving stones. The company expects the repairs to take roughly four days.
Three options were presented for the problem of deterring vandalism involving paving stones, including removing the loose pavers, sanding them and re-installing, however many have gone missing and the same style is unavailable; removing the pavers and replacing with aggregate stone (estimated cost $18,000); or replacing the entire section of paving stone either partially or entirely with artificial turf.
Holmen reported the town is investigating CCTV security camera systems for the area to help curb the vandalism problem, while the police have been making increased patrols.
“If we spend a little for some cameras or whatever, it’s going to save on the other side, fixing this thing up,” said Coun. Merrill Harris. “We want to maintain a good facility for these kids, but if it’s kids spreading it — I can’t imagine too many adults over there with a pry bar, prying out bricks.”
At their May 4 regular meeting, the recreation board voted unanimously to recommend council authorize repairs required for the Taber Skateboard Park in the amount of $10,200, to be allocated from capital reserves.
“The lighting, leaving the light on just allows the kids to skateboard later, so more lighting gives them… we found that if we shut it down at a decent time, everybody is a little bit happier,” said recreation manager Trent Smith.