Skatepark picks up the pieces Phase one to be complete by July By Paul Andrew An abrupt halt to the construction of the new Whistler street-style skatepark last October forced the community volunteers and municipal workers to salvage whatever they could in the hope that work already completed would remain in place. Last week skatepark co-ordinator Jim Barnum and all the vollies he could muster began the process of re-starting construction on the new addition to the existing skatebowl near Fitzsimmons Creek. Barnum said the winter weather broke apart a few forms and razed a few ramps, but relatively little damage was done and he says everything is back on line. And not a moment too soon, he added. "We cleaned out the skatebowl (April 21) and the next day it was packed. There’s way more skaters in Whistler now. That’s really obvious. So it’s a good thing this new park is going in. I mean, there’s 10 skaters in the bowl right now and it’s still early," Barnum said last week. "I’ve never seen it like this before in Whistler." Barnum said the preparations that started April 26 are for the 12 skateboard obstacles going into phase one of the park. Rails, ramps and ledges will make for a different style of riding than the adjacent skatebowl. Phase two, however, won’t begin until a sponsor is found for the state-of-the-art skatepark. "I can’t really get into the cost of phase two because we are looking for a sponsor. But the muni agreed to a budget for phase one and the mayor said even if it goes over budget, which it will, they are committed to it and that’s a done deal." Barnum didn’t reveal the budget for phase one, but said the total cost will be well below $300,000. Barnum, 25, a skateboarder with 14 years experience, co-ordinates the vollies and contractors daily so everyone stays on the same page. He says this year’s volunteer turn-out is encouraging, so a July 1 completion date is a realistic goal for phase one. "We can’t really start pouring concrete until it stops freezing at night. So the worst that can happen is the Environment Canada forecast coming true, and it says the current weather pattern will continue until June. But with 10 vollies coming out every day, and the weather co-operating a bit more, July 1 is possible." Barnum says the incentives for volunteering at the park are the same as last year, which has vollies receiving a free lunch everyday courtesy of the Village Grocery Store and Nesters Market, beer tickets from Maxx Fish, and a prize pack from several community sponsors going to the top-three vollies who put in the most hours at the park. A party for all volunteers is also planned for the end of the summer.