skateboard ride to nowhere

Rick was all fired-up about bringing a skateboard park to Bells Corners as far back as in 2006, when it was a prominent campaign promise. Nothing happened until shortly before the 2010 election, when Rick become once again an enthusiastic skaterBoy.

He invested a lot of effort and tax dollars into convincing the community that this time he was going to keep his skateboard park promise.

A Facebook group was launched, Bells Corners students were recruited to the cause through RC’s contacts in the Catholic schools and his daughters, and cool posters were disseminated where kids hang out.

A colourful flyer announcing the community meeting was printed by staff and distributed to many residents in selected parts of Bells Corners, along with the glossy eight-page RC magazine that went out to all 55,000 College ward residents.

A large crowd assembled in the Westcliffe community building, maybe 80 people, mostly kids chattering excitedly and keeping an eye on the tables at the back to see if the promised pizza and soft drinks had arrived yet. A costumed RC staff member in silly pseudo-skaterBoy clothes passed out free Team Chiarelli pens and worked the crowd a bit.

The crowd was eating it up as Rick painted a wondrous picture of a world-class facility right here in Bells Corners, planned and managed by the kids themselves.

After all the email addresses and contact info of the crowd had been harvested by the councillor’s staff, there was one last appeal to the kids to fire up their computers and get busy contacting friends to point them to the RC web address that adorned the free pens that everyone got.

In their excitement the kids and parents didn’t notice the fine print:

– the kids themselves would have to raise money by selling tickets to the famous “eat-spaghetti-with-Rick” fundraising event, and by peddling t-shirts and soliciting donations from residents and businesses

– when at least $10,000 had been raised the kids and their parents would have to “lobby the other councillors” to shake the big tax dollars out of Jim Watson’s money tree

When asked about the skateboard park at the last Westcliffe meeting Rick was singing a different tune, laying the blame for the lack of progress on the community: “we just don’t have critical interest in the community” and “the community has to put together a business case.”

Even his most fervent supporters on the WECA executive must have realized that they had been snowed once again by the wily career politician – the skateboard park promise/extravaganza was just to generate some good photo ops going into the election. And it worked! Prior to the election both community papers printed glowing reports of how Rick was galvanizing the community around this project.

Now, even the kids themselves seem to have given up – when the councillor rented a bus with tax dollars to drive them around to other parks and get some free taxpayer-financed swag, Rick reported that “only 8 people showed up.”

So don’t hold your breathe waiting for a skateboard park in Bells Corners – next time you’ll hear of it will be in the lead-up to the 2014 election, when once again Rick will rediscover his enthusiasm for skateboarding and try to fool Bells Corners residents once again.

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3 Responses to skateboard ride to nowhere

  1. wanderer says:

    Yet again our ‘dis’honourable councillor prevaricates and fools the kids, not so much the adults.

    There will never be a skateboard park in BC – maybe we could ask Jan Harder to intercede for us – the one in Centrepointe is quite nice and I’m sure the kids didn’t have to raise $10,000 and lobby the City Council as the BC kids were asked to (even if it was all in the small print).

    When will people learn that we can never ever trust or believe our beloved RC about anything he says or promises. How many times must he fool us before it becomes obvious that when his mouth opens, what comes out is not the truth, but what he thinks or wishes were the truth. Sigh……

    – The kids in Centrepointe did raise some money on their own (more like joint Skatepark-vote-for-Rick fundraising), but the context was very different. Asking the kids to solicit $10,000 from Bells Corners residents and businesses is a convenient out for Rick, as it appears to have no chance of ever happening.

    Meanwhile the kids still don’t have enough opportunities in Bells Corners – one of the best things going for them (the Lynwood outdoor rinks) fell victim to Rick’s dubious ethics. Last year Lynwood was last You can’t blame everything on the councillor, but he’s sure wearing the goat horns on this one!

  2. Charles Dangler says:

    The skateboard park at Centrepointe is within Rick’s riding and he used the “spaghetti dinner” model on that park as well – from what I recall, quite successfully. I have two grandchildren (eight and six-year-old boys) who use that park at Centrepointe quite regularly.

    Now, while I do desire to see a park in Bells Corners, for my grandchildren in particular, the skate park in Councillor Jan Harder’s area is a hapless attempt if I ever did see one. I have heard there may be one similar to the Barrhaven model in Orleans as well. I have concluded that it may be wise to wait and see what comes of this. (After all, it did take me nearly two and a half years to get the chuckhole of the sewer grate near my laneway filled.)


  3. margaret says:

    think bells Corners people have to realize that if they ever do get a skateboard park it will NEVER be another Centrepointe version … that really was a one-off – in effect for the larger region rather than local like the Barrhaven skateboard park …

    did this park get some funding from the Nepean legacy fund established at amalgamation ??

    we – BC- are not big enough for this type of thing
    the city does not have ‘available’ space for it
    the city does not ‘fund’ that kind of thing – or more correctly the city doesn’t have the funds for that kind of thing
    the Centrepointe park has constant observation – there’s control by By-law – unofficial, free supervision … the threat is enough

    where in BC would we get any law-patrol for this kind of thing –
    it would have to be on the main strip for visibility
    so where are the options?
    if the main strip is meant to attract tourists or businesses a grafitti skateboard park isn’t going to be part of the scenario

    when I asked RC about a site – I got a non-answer
    how can you work on that kind of answer ? …. something mysterious in the works ??
    if a site can be provided then there is something concrete (no pun intended) for people to visualise – it becomes theirs …

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