Abbotsford could soon be home to one of the province’s first downhill longboarding parks.
Such a park – which would provide a space for longboarders to test their downhill skills without having to worry about vehicles or pedestrians – is included in the draft parks, recreation and culture plan seen by council last month.
Staff say a youth park identified in the plan would be located somewhere in east Abbotsford, although a specific location has yet to be determined, and the type of amenities would also be shaped by engagement with the community and stakeholders. The plan cites a desire for parks with space for skateboarding, basketball and bike skills.
The creation of such a park would be subject to the whims of the next council, but the longboarding site is being eyed for 2021, according to the plan. The opportunity for such a facility was identified two years ago. The McKee Peak area is expected to experience significant development over the coming years, and the city is working on a neighbourhood plan for the area that could include more details about a precise location for such a park.
In 2014, the first such park in the world opened in Kamloops, with a beginner run and one for more-advanced longboarders.
Abbotsford’s draft parks plan notes that such a park could serve a regional population and recommends collaborating with other communities.
The plan also notes Abbotsford still doesn’t have a disc golf course, and that they are frequently developed and maintained by user groups. One had been proposed last year.
Other short-term priorities include:
n the development of sports fields;
n neighbourhood parks off of Timberlane Drive in east Abbotsford and near Townline Road in the west;
n upgrades at the Civic Precinct around city hall to accommodate special events and be more pedestrian-friendly;
n another dog off-leash park;
n a new location for the Abbotsford Grind.
The draft plan also revisits the hope of expanding the Matsqui Recreation Centre to add a fieldhouse and other amenities. The city had floated the proposal in 2016, but the $9.75 million plan would require funding from senior levels of government, and an application for federal gas tax money at the time didn’t succeed. A summary of projected capital costs suggests that project could be undertaken within the next five years.
The plan also suggests the city look at creating a “multisport indoor tournament centre” over the long term. It notes ice demand has grown thanks to a larger population and increasing popularity of hockey among girls. That’s expected to lead to demand for more ice time by women’s hockey players. The plan also suggests an indoor facility could provide room for other groups, including soccer and lacrosse. Before anything is built, a feasibility study and location analysis would be conducted, the plan says.
The need for more baseball fields is also mentioned several times, with the city adding two new diamonds this year at Grant Park.
The community will be able to provide input on the draft plan at several upcoming events and open houses. Residents can see the plan and offer feedback on May 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Abbotsford Recreation Centre and from 4 to 7 p.m. at Matsqui Recreation Centre, on May 11 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Clearbrook Library, and on May 5 and 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Farmers Market.