Thirty-year-old Highlands resident Nick Swift a skate park committee member executes a rail slide at the newly opened Haliburton Junction Skate Park. The park was opened Friday May 25 and has been used regularly by skateboarders scooter riders and bike riders. There will be an official opening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 21 which coincides with the nationally celebrated Go Skateboarding Day. Swift said Emmerson Lumber will make a donation of two picnic tables at the opening./DARREN LUM Staff

Excitement for grand opening of Haliburton Skate Park

By Olivia Robinson
Published June 5 2018

Although the Haliburton Junction Skate Park is unofficially open to the public an official grand opening is set for June 21 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. to coincide with international Go Skateboarding Day.

“The main goal is to get people out and using it” said Andrea Mueller recreation program co-ordinator for the Municipality of Dysart et al. “We want to keep the positive vibes going.”

The fencing surrounding the park was finally dismantled on May 28 and since then the park has been extremely popular with skateboarders of all ages.

Mueller said many people who had previously given up on skateboards and scooters are now demonstrating a renewed interest in the sport – with some even sharing their passion with their children – and in some cases – grandchildren.

Initially just $75000 was budgeted to revamp Haliburton’s old skate park on Maple Avenue but according to Mueller it just wasn’t viable and would only be a “Band-Aid solution.” Once the skate park project moved to its new location the site of the old ball diamond it turned into a three-year $210000-project. The Skate Park Fundraising Committee is still accepting donations for the skate park.

“It was worth the wait for sure. I’m happy it didn’t happen overnight or it didn’t happen within a year because we wouldn’t have what we have now” Mueller said.

One of the first challenges the municipality faced was the stark contrast in reaction between those who wanted a skate park – and those who didn’t.

“We overcame that. We showed that it’s important. Not everyone can afford to do certain activities. This is something that many people can do and it doesn’t take a lot of planning.”

Mueller added that another benefit of the skate park is that it’s a fairly affordable activity in which young people can partake – especially for those who don’t play basketball or other traditional sports.

“The activity of skateboarding or using a scooter is agility; it’s balance – it sets you up for other activities. It’s something that you see a lot of mentoring of people with different abilities … it creates a sense of belonging and a sense of pride.”

Despite the enthusiasm surrounding the opening of the Haliburton Junction Skate Park the project wasn’t without its hiccups including several weeks ago when some people walked on the wet cement resulting in a delay for the builders.

Another ongoing concern will be litter said Mueller but she’s hopeful that people who use the park will be considerate of the space and dispose of their garbage accordingly.

Although it hasn’t yet been confirmed Mueller said the municipality is considering having a cupboard containing a collection of equipment made available for novice skateboarders under the supervision of a skate park committee member.

The Haliburton Junction Skate Park’s grand opening on June 21 will also feature a performance by Battle of the Bands winner Wescali and refreshments will be served.