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(20 July 2004)

With thanks to the Mallett family

With Cookham enjoying it’s week of skateboarding courtesy of the Royal Borough starting the 26th July on Alfred Major, we think it would be a good time to highlight the different facilities available to youngsters elsewhere…. Cookham’s correspondent came across this spectacular skateboarding facility in Calgary in Canada. Opened 4 years ago this magnificent site has the backdrop of Calgary’s skyline to show it off. But it’s the fabulous ramps and pits themselves that left us speechless with envy….

The beginners area is spacious and popular, the intermediate area huge and ideal for jumps, but the

expert area is unbelievable. A massive hoop tests the world’s best skateboarders, BMXers, and skaters. The jumps we saw were amazing! The etiquette is remarkable. People watch out for each other, take it in turns on the busiest areas. Where’s the litter? In the bins! There’s even a council employed young cleaner going round sweeping and making sure there’s no debris hazard. Proper drainage mean that rainwater drains away leaving it usable again immediately after the heaviest storm…

What about graffiti? Can you see any? No but there’s a snack and burger bar! We were there at 7 pm and it was still manned! The rubbish went straight in the bins and there are drinking fountains and loos too. The nicest thing was that all ages are using the place from first year secondary age right up to students and adults.

Surely it’s just lads? Yes mostly, but the girls we did see were babes and busy showing the lads how to grind those bars and jump the ramps….

So can we have this in Cookham or the Royal Borough please?

“It’ll only attract undesirables.” Take a look at these photos. These are regular youngsters making great

use of a wonderful world class facility. Treat these youngsters with respect and they’ll respect you.

At a time when we’re encouraged to keep fit, we don’t see these kids sitting around the playstation or

hanging around the streets causing a disturbance. It’s only a matter of time before skateboarding is no longer an extreme sport but a regular fixture on the international sporting calendar. What chance then for Cookham’s kids who have to practice on the station approach or along Peace Lane? We urge the Council to spend the money and give our kids a chance. We would love to take these photos in the Royal Borough. It only takes a bit of courage and vision and look what it can deliver….

If you want more information about the Cookham Youth Project click here

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