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Resident pushes for indoor skatepark

Oshawa resident Kris Handson says the city is in need of an indoor skatepark, and has created a petition which currently sits at around 900 signatures – 100 away from his goal of 1,000. (Photo by Alicia Baggieri)

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

A petition is seeking an indoor home for Oshawa’s skateboarders.

Oshawa resident Kris Handson has posted a petition on change.org asking Oshawa to install an indoor skatepark.

The petition has a goal of 1,000 signatures and currently sits at 886.

Handson tells The Oshawa Express the city needs an indoor skatepark because of how much skateboarding can do for people, despite some common misconceptions.

“Skateboarding does a lot for people. Some people view it differently – like, all people that skateboard are rebels, and they’re trying to break the rules,” he says.

But for Handson, he says skateboarding has been a good way to relieve stress, which is difficult during the winter.

“In the wintertime in Durham Region we have nowhere else to go other than parking garages – which we usually get kicked out of,” he explains.

He notes for other sports, specifically hockey, if it’s indoors or outdoors they can continue playing.

“But for skateboarders like us we have nowhere to go,” he says.

For Handson and other skateboarders, this leaves them out in the cold, despite the positives of skateboarding.

“It’s a good way to hang out with your friends. If you’re having a bad day you can go skate and relieve that stress, and stuff like that,” he says.

Handson says he has spoken with both Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter, as well as Whitby Mayor Don Mitchell.

“From Oshawa… it didn’t really seem like it was too high on the priority list – which I understand that due to the situation going on right now,” he says.

But he points out this isn’t supposed to be a project which just immediately pops out of the ground, but is something for the future.

Handson says Mitchell responded quickly, and also put him in touch with Whitby’s Commissioner of Community Services John Ramno, who wants to set up a meeting with the Oshawa resident.

“They seem like they’re much more interested in looking at this in comparison to Oshawa,” he says.

Ultimately, Handson says he is just trying to “get the ball rolling,” and knows the COVID-19 pandemic is not the time to open an indoor skatepark.

“It would be kind of hard to social distance while skateboarding, and they would require masks, and that’s kind of difficult for people who are skateboarding and breathing a lot,” he says.

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