An indoor skateboard park being built in North Surrey is a labour of love for Dan Pageau.
The former pro skateboarder is the executive director of One Love International Society, which hopes to soon complete a year-long project to create the skatepark in a former market at 10681 King George Boulevard, not far from Gateway SkyTrain station.
The original plan to open the One Love facility last January was delayed by COVID-19, said Pageau, who now pins August as more realistic.
“Construction is ongoing,” Pageau told the Now-Leader, “and we had to have a full building permit, with plumbing and electric and all that, so that takes time, and building all the ramps is very intricate.
“We’re testing everything and making sure the speed is right, all the angles,” Pageau added. “It’s not something you just build and hope it’s right. We’re maximizing the space as well, close to 4,000 square feet, and it’s a two-minute skate from the Chuck Bailey park, the outdoor skate park there. But ours is indoors, which is really needed in the Lower Mainland.”
Some of the money for the $55,000 project has been raised in an online fundraiser launched by the Burnaby-based One Love organization, a faith-based non-profit that helps the homeless with a mentorship program, and more.
“We’re very hands-on, helping people get jobs and back on their feet,” Pageau said. “We’ve helped a lot of young people who’ve stopped using drugs, things like that. Skateboarding, it’s all tied in with that, because it’s an attraction. We meet a lot of young people through skateboarding and try to be a positive influence on them.”
The One Love facility in North Surrey will build on the group’s Burnaby hub, home to a skateboard shop and some camps and lessons, but no indoor ramps. Details are posted to skateboardingschool.ca.
With skateboarding now featured in the Olympics, Pageau said interest in the sport is on the rise.
“We plan on renting the whole park to groups, have after-school programs, birthday parties, lessons and camps,” he explained. “I assume it will be around $15 for free skate. We started grinding the floor about one year ago. We hope to facilitate training for Olympic athletes, first-timers and kids of all skill levels.”
On danpageau.com, Pageau’s bio describes him as a skateboard shop owner and one of the first Canadian skateboarders from Quebec to make it into the pro ranks. “He has travelled the world and participated in many contests like X-Games, Vans Triple Crown and Gravity Games,” the bio says. “He is known for inventing new tricks and being consistent on his board. In the year of 2000, Dan was ranked 5th in the overall World Rankings (WCS).”
A post on the Gofundme campaign page elaborates on the need for an indoor skatepark in rainy Vancouver.
“Vancouver has been a breeding ground for amazing skateboarders,” the website says. “With skateboarding being featured in the Olympics and a growing desire to see our young people engage in this sport, we know that an accessible indoor skateboard facility is urgently needed in the Greater Vancouver area.
“We have seen indoor skateparks like RDS, Dryspot, and Woody’s take a hit with high operating costs and zoning problems which led them to close their doors. We are excited to have secured a space that is properly zoned and that will be affordable and suitable for skateboarding. We are fully aware that starting and running an indoor skateboard park will be a challenge and that it will require a lot of finances, sacrifice, energy, and discernment. We need your help to make this happen!”