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The death of a skatepark



Skateboard park, homes, dreams destroyed by locals

Skateboarders have often had to fight for their right to skate, routinely getting escorted off properties by security guards and police.

Through it all the skaters stuck it out. They learned their rights, lobbied municipal governments, and generally kept the pressure on until many cities and towns finally built designated skateboard parks.

But nothing could have braced skater Bubba Shaw for what has turned into the fight of all fights.

Returning to his home in Bralorne on June 26 from his summer construction job on Cortes Island, Shaw discovered that Castle Greyskull, the skatepark he had built in the community recreation centre, was completely destroyed.

"They went crazy, and just wrecked everything," said Shaw. His wooden ramps and obstacles, which he estimated would cost up to $10,000 to fix with parts and labour, had been chainsawed into little pieces and dumped behind the local recreation centre.

His home was also ransacked and he said $2,000 worth of tools were stolen from the centre.

Another small home, which was built by Pat Keller – the organizer of the three-day Kalediescope Music Festival in Bralorne – had a chain thrown around its footings and was pulled over the edge of a small cliff, with all his belongings in it. That happened about three weeks earlier, but Keller did not find out until Shaw came back to town.

The Lillooet RCMP were called the moment Shaw saw the damage. The police came to investigate the incident two days later and told Shaw there was nothing that could be done.

"The RCMP officers actually laughed," said Shaw. "The minute I got into town and saw what they had done, I called (the police) and said, ‘there’s $15,000 in wood lying around in pieces, as well as a year of my labour, and if you don’t get there soon, I was going to lose it.’

"It still took them two days."

Shaw did not have any insurance.

He believes he and Keller were unpopular among some of the older members of the small community of about 50 full-time resident. But most, he said, were supportive of their efforts to bring people to town.

Now Shaw is attempting to find out if any members of the Bralorne Bridge River Community Association approved the destruction of his skatepark, as some locals have claimed.

Although his lease to the centre may not have been approved, the ramps were still his property.

"Under the Landlord Tenant Act, the landlord can’t take a chainsaw to someone’s couch, even if you evict them," said Shaw.

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