Kayla Gilbert and Joseph ‘Joey’ Reichelt are two 100 Mile House teens looking to kickstart the construction of a new skate park in Centennial Park. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Kayla Gilbert and Joseph ‘Joey’ Reichelt are two 100 Mile House teens looking to kickstart the construction of a new skate park in Centennial Park. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

100 Mile teens make pitch for new skate park

The youth would like to see a larger park built in Centennial Park

100 Mile House is in need of a new skatepark.

That’s the message two young skaters, Joseph ‘Joey’ Reichelt and Kayla Gilbert, both 16, put out to the community last week. The pair have grown up using 100 Mile House’s current skate park, by Bridge Creek near Horse Lake Road, but said it’s no longer cutting it for the town’s young people.

“The skate park we have is way across town and little kids go on it with their scooters. When older kids go there there’s not much to do, there’s just a couple of ramps,” said Gilbert, who prefers longboarding.

“So we want to make it bigger and more accessible to the community.”

Although they are still in the early stages, they are proposing a new skate park in Centennial Park, beside the tennis courts and on top of the old parking lot, which is structurally sound and far enough away to avoid potential flooding.

The location is not only more central but would allow them to add more bowls, bars and ramps. They’d also like to install a graffiti wall.

“Obviously, nothing vulgar but it’d take (graffiti) out of the community and into a controlled area where we’d paint over it every so often so people could restart,” Reichelt said. “I have friends all the way from Canim Lake, Lac La Hache and 93 Mile who want a new skate park.”

To fund the project, the two have started a fundraiser on Facebook for $10,000 and are planning on holding a community event in Centennial Park this summer.

Reichelt said they want to hold a drive-in movie night with a concession and a modest entrance fee. Gilbert added she would like to add in some small carnival games and a paper boat race to make it a true community event.

“Our hope is to bring the community together and create a fun space for kids and adults to hang out and express their creativity,” Gilbert said.

READ MORE: Recreation vote top priority in South Cariboo for 2022

The pair has reached out to 100 Mile District Coun. Dave Mingo, as well as Jamie Hughes-Rywaczuk who successfully petitioned council for the construction of Centennial Park’s spray park in 2018.

Hughes-Rywaczuk said she advised the young couple to form a society, so they can apply for grants, and contact communities with similar facilities to get an estimate for the true cost of the project.

“I told them to have all of their ducks in a row as far as dollar figures for build, materials, land use etc., before approaching the district,” Hughes-Rywaczuk said. “It takes hard work. Really hard work and you gotta dig your heels in and be prepared for ups and downs. It’s part of the process, but worth it in the end.”

Mingo said he told the pair to be prepared for a long process, noting their proposal is among a growing list of projects that locals want to see in the South Cariboo.

Starting a petition will help, he said, as well as following the lead of Hughes-Rywaczuk, who did a lot of work on the spray park, including raising funds.

“At the end of the day the community is much better for what she has done,” he said.

Mingo noted that as part of their quest, the youth should also reach out to the Cariboo Regional District, which shares the recreational function with the district.

The CRD is in the midst of planning a referendum for a new South Cariboo Recreation and Culture taxation boundary that would help support existing recreational facilities and fund new projects across the region.

This proposed plan would create a new taxation area that includes the 108 Mile Ranch, Lac La Hache, Forest Grove, Canim Lake, Lone Butte, Interlakes and 100 Mile House. The referendum is scheduled to go ahead this June.



patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

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