Skateboard, BMX facility a go

Dave Bartlett
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Council unanimous in its support for indoor park on Blackmarsh Road

Ward 3 Coun. Bruce Tilley speaks Monday on the reasons why he voted to approve a business proposal by Rob Yetman, owner of Turndown BMX Inc., for an indoor skate park at 77 Blackmarsh Rd. in St. John’s. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

St. John’s city council unanimously approved an indoor skateboard and BMX bike park Monday, despite objections by nearby residents.

The park and retail space proposed for 77 Blackmarsh Rd. by Turndown BMX Inc. was met with opposition when it came before council a few weeks ago.

Although there were 10 letters of objection — as well as a 21-name petition — against the indoor park, there were also 23 letters applauding the business.

Ward 2 Coun. Frank Galgay noted the building which will house the park is in a commercial/industrial zone, which allows council to approve the park at its discretion.

He also noted the business owner, Rob Yetman, operates a similar park on Waterford Bridge Road, which, to his knowledge, hasn’t generated a single complaint from people who live nearby.

Galgay said the people who objected were invited to visit the Waterford Bridge Road site as a way to alleviate fears around such things as noise, drug use and vandalism.

“I don’t want to minimize the concerns of people,” he said. “(But) that was an unfair labelling of (Yetman’s) particular clientele.”

Galgay said Yetman has also said he will continue to meet with local residents near the Blackmarsh Road site to address any future concerns.

“I don’t want to minimize the concerns of people. (But) that was an unfair labelling of (Yetman’s) particular clientele.” Frank Galgay

Ward 3 Coun. Bruce Tilley, who represents the area where the new park will go, said he visited the site.

“I’m convinced that this is a good location for this business, “ he said.

Coun. Tom Hann said he also supported the business directed at providing recreation to young people.

“Youth have it hard enough to find supervised activities,” he said. “The unfortunate thing is, this sport tends to be mislabelled and sometimes the image that’s created is not reality.”

Hann said as a responsible business owner and operator, it would be up to Yetman to make sure the business is safe, supervised and doesn’t interfere with neighbours.

Coun. Sheilagh O’Leary noted the business already has a good track record.

“It was kind of distasteful to me (to hear) the discrimination of youth that was inherent in some of the comments that came out (objecting to the park,)” she said.

“The bottom line is, we need to be supporting more recreation for youth,” she added. ”We know diabetes is on the rise, we know that (childhood) obesity is on the rise in the community.”

Geographic location: Blackmarsh Road, Waterford Bridge Road

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Recent comments

  • California Pete
    May 17, 2011 - 13:22

    Hep Hep Huray finaly somethig besides hocky now the other kids will have somethig to do in a controled inviroment all year round it will lead to good competition and sportsmanship and lots of fun and mabe a club can be in the future to compeat in a proper manner and excitement of the moment I sure hope the best for all the young new competitors Good luck

  • Matt
    May 17, 2011 - 13:00

    K, I'm one of the 23 who wrote a letter to Councillor Galgay in support of the facility. No, I don't own a home in the neighbourhood, or even in the city of St. John's. But I also understand that you can't expect much in the way of peace and quiet if you're living smack dab in the middle of the city, bordering on a commercial area like Blackmarsh Road. You actually probably paid less for your home because of this location. Anyway, if the park exists already in another area with NO complaints from people in the neighbourhood, what will change when it moves to Blackmarsh Road?

  • K
    May 17, 2011 - 10:47

    I see 23 applauding the business. I wonder the ages of them, and if they own a home in that vicinity?. Who many councillors live in the same area? Or if it was in their back yard how they would react. As far as cheerbear goes. I bet he does not own a home or live in the area. Move to a different town cheerbear states.Intelligence was not used in that suggestion.

    • ss
      May 17, 2011 - 18:05

      I am a home owner in the area of Blackmarsh Rd where the indoor skatepark will be and I whole-heartedly applaud this idea. Youth that skateboard have been trying to find decent places to skate for years and started to take over sites such as Colonial Building and the War Memorial on the harbor front. I'd rather these kids have somewhere to go rather then loiter around historic property. Would you be complaining if it was a new hockey rink going up across the street? A sport is a sport right? Whether it be hockey, soccer, baseball or skateboarding. Every kid involved in a sports activity should have a place to go to participate in said activity.

  • CheerBear
    May 17, 2011 - 09:08

    I'm a firm believer that if you don't want certian business or buildings around you, then don't live in the city. You can't have the peace and quiet of a rural setting, but be smack in the middle of the city too. Citys are developed, and if you don't like that, there's plenty of small towns around St. Johns that you can move to and have your peace and quiet. If you like the convenience of being close by to everything in the city, then shut up and deal with the development. It is really unfair to tar all the youth with the same brush, it just makes the complainers sound like old fuddy-duddys who hate everything new and are afraid of anything ever changing. Think about it... would the very small fraction of youth causing trouble want to hang around a building under supervision where they can't smoke or drink or anything? No, they want to be as far away from those conditions as possible to get up to their mischief. The residents have just created a big NIMBY stir over nothing.

    • cathy murphy
      May 17, 2011 - 10:36

      I would lke to know where people get their perceptions from. Skateboarders and BMXers are not the cause of drug problems,noise and vandalism. and its not only youth that do these things, nore often than not its adults who are the cause of the problems. The kids finally have a place that they can go and do their thing safely instead of being on the streets.