Put in lights at Ellesmere Skate Park
Put in lights at Ellesmere Skate Park
The Ellesmere Skatepark located at Ellesmere Rd and Warden Ave. in Scarborough has become a highly populated space for skaters, and other recreational athletes over the last 15 years of its existence. However, the challenge that the locals at this park have had is dealing with the lack of proper lighting to allow longer periods of enjoyment of this wonderful facility.
The Skatepark has played a highly beneficial role as a safe space for the Scarborough Community. All through the year, it is a safe hub for many people. Whether it be skate youth having a place wait for their parents to get off work and pick them up, local adolescents having a place to meet and develop lifelong connections with likeminded individuals, or even an outdoor gym for adults trying to stay fit. It has also been a spot for local events and annual summer skateboard camps.
With poor to almost no lighting of the park passed sunset, that very safety and security of the locals is at stake.
This is why we HAVE to put the lights on. Over the years, there has always been talk about a “Phase 2” for the park that would expand the space substantially and subsequently, adding to the safety. There would be more skate space added which would allow skaters to remain more distant and crowd obstacles less which would help with social distancing that is very important during this pandemic.
The Phase 2 plans, should it come to actualization, would include lighting only to the "key" areas of the park. At this point, adding onto the park wouldn’t make much sense, as the space once available to do so has been converted to a basketball court, that now gets used as often as the skatepark.
That being said, there is now even more reason for lights to be placed in the skate park.
The most obvious would be lights to help skaters see their skateboards clearly once the sun goes down. I’m sure one can imagine the difficulty of seeing black grip tape on a spinning board when there is little to no light; this creates a high risk for skaters that are constantly practicing.
Sure, they can come earlier, but this forces everyone of all ages to show up at the same time, causing crowding. Not to mention, some adults who work day shifts aren’t able to come until it’s night, removing this park as an option.
The basketball court can also benefit as well, as it has become a spot for families to take their kids in the evening, considering there is a community center that (usually) has events/workshops for the public, a playground, and a Costco super store in the immediate area. This would provide more patronage in all of these locations.
The last reason, but arguably most important one would be the safety it brings for the general community. There are a lot of people that will travel home late at night that will often cut through the skatepark to cut down the time it takes to walk home.
The lack of lights in the park means two things: It means that specific areas in the park are left in complete total darkness where even surrounding street lights can’t illuminate them. And it also means there are less people at the skate parks at night.
The ironic part about this is that it’s usually argued that the park doesn’t have lights to deter criminal mischief. But the lack of lighting means skateparks are empty and rarely have any witnesses. Making it the perfect location for anything from a misdemeanour to a felony to occur.
Many would suggest even three well placed lights on the surrounding hills in the area would be more than enough to illuminate the entire park, and potentially the basketball court as well.
There was a story brought to our attention through social media that spoke of a woman being followed by a suspicious man. Being alone and too far from the safety of her home, she desperately looked for people to sit with. She had spotted a skatepark with lights full of skaters and explained her situation. The skaters immediately surrounded her in their group for protection as a few others chased the stalker away.
Skateparks have long been a crime deterrent, despite what the public eye may think, and it’s for reasons like this that we need more of them and for more of them to be safer.
Adding lights at Ellesmere skatepark would likely bring more opportunity for people to enjoy these spaces safely, to grow as people and athletes, and overall make one less spot the Scarborough community would view as dangerous or problematic.
Join us and help us bring this change to life by signing the petition today!