DIY Skatepark Rattles District

Ka'ee kass

Ten-year-old Ka’eo Kass works on the skatepark project in Garibaldi Highlands. A group of skateboarders have built a skatepark under the Quest University bridge.

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Jan. 25, 2014

A DIY skatepark built without district permits under Quest University Bridge in Garibaldi Highlands was issued a stop work order and fined $1000 by the District of Squamish.

But the local government hopes to find common ground with skateboarders who say the project will be a positive influence on youth and give them a chance to skateboard safely during the rainy season.

Mike Quesnel is the owner of Stuntwood, a local skateboard shop in Garibaldi Estates. He also represents a fluid group of skateboarders who built the subterranean park.

Quesnel said the skateboarders may have proceeded without a building permit, but the project will only benefit the youth.

“This will give our kids something constructive to do,” he said.

Quesnel and other skateboarders started working on the skatepark in October last year.

At first, they were only going to build a mini ramp, about 15 by 20 feet, an insignificant structure that they thought wouldn’t registar on any radars.

“This will give our kids something constructive to do.” Mike Quesnel.

The area under the Quest bridge seemed ideal: The ground was flat, and the bridge didn’t run up against the river.  

“We knew it was far enough from the river to not affect fisheries,” Quesnel said.

But the project expanded when they received and accepted an offer of free concrete from another project in the city.

“We all know the steps weren’t followed, sorry,” said Quesnel.

“This has happened many times in Squamish before resulting in many great additions and failed builds.”

It was good intentions that brought Luke Kass and his ten-year-old son, Ka’eo Kass, to help with the project.

Kass said the skatepark is another skateboarding option for kids like his son  in the winter months when it’s raining.

“My family is not a hockey family. We skateboard and to us the winter months seem to last forever,” he said.

“We were simply trying to provide a outlet for those kids who can’t afford the more expensive hobbies such as hockey, snowboarding and almost all other winter activities.”

Kass said the area has been cleaned by skateboarders and they will also police it.

“We have a put a lot of work in this and it will be a shame to let it fall apart,” he added.

David Johnston, a Garibaldi Highland resident, said he was quite surprised to learn about the skatepark.

“To our knowledge, there has been no consultation or public discussion about the merits of the project,” he said.

Johnston said his concerns are about parking or how the foot traffic will affect the forested area.

“We hope that some further consultation will take place,” he added.

Area resident Margo Dent supports the project.

Dent said the area under the bridge had been a party spot for years, and she would prefer an organized activity there.

“It sounds like they (skateboarders) will look after and police the area themselves,” she said.

The district, meanwhile, said it wants to work with the skateboarding community, but also address all concerns with the project.

District spokesperson Christina Moore said there are several question about engineering, safety and land use approval that need to be considered.

We have a duty to enforce a fair process, she said.

“It’s our hope that we can get to a place that will result in a win for everyone involved,” she added.

That is also what Quesnel and other skateboarders are hoping will happen.

A public consultation meeting is planned on Feb 12, from 7 – 9 pm at the Garibaldi room in the Howesound Pub.


  1. Dave says:

    The trouble is when the public gets involved with kid’s issues there can be conflict. For years the kid’s have had their space under the bridge. And it has worked really well. Now it is being opened up to “public scrutiny” because a group cut some corners. Now we have riparian issues, awareness of the “terrible things” that might go on. We have legal issues regarding the protocols of land use etc.
    DOS, get with kids and work something out quick…make the necessary amendments and reduce the red tape for their sake. Teenagers are different from us stuffy adults and they are our future, They need specialised treatment.
    And I am 68 :-)

  2. feet says:

    I am not a skateboarder but fully support this project. hopefully the district can use common sense (without hiring consultants) and work this out. As far as liability goes, if the local lakes and smoke bluffs are open to the public to recreate on then this should be treated the same. A skatepark is really not that different from a big chunk of smoke bluff granite, it’s just curved and laid horizontal. Make it happen government, this is a free asset to the town

  3. Leilani Gormican says:

    I wholeheartedly support this project and it’s hard working responsible people! You can never have enough for kids to do! We are all diverse in what we love to do, and need to respect everyone’s choice! If we care for our youth and show them respect they will in turn show respect and care to there children! Role modeling … What a novel idea! My son is one of these role models who is teaching his kids a good work ethic and spending quality time with them doing what they love….
    P.S. My son the skateboarder is not a drug user as are other people in this group! It would be good if we did not stereotype! You can find good and not so good people everywhere !
    Thank you for listening!

  4. Mike Klinkhamer says:

    It would be great for the skateboard community!! There’s many parents that skate in Squamish and their kids are getting really good too!! We really do need a place to continue this progression and to bring dreams to a reality! The winter months are too rainy and frosty to skate outdoors! The bowl would bring positive energy to the community rather than what it was before, a place where kids hide out to get wasted on drugs and alcohol! Skateboarders will maintain it as a positive environment and keep the skids out!! It’s a beautiful thing these guys have started!! 😀

  5. Brett Box says:

    Good on them; this shows initiative, intrinsic motivation, forward thinking and positive/constructive use of their time. The young people involved are learning building skills, being physical and making something beautiful come to life.

    All my support and appraisal goes to the equally forward thinking members of Council who will make the effort to protect and support this fine example of good young people!

  6. chris says:

    This is one of the best things around here in years….wasted space put to good use and up until last week didnt cost tax payers a dime, now unfortunately because a few people get there panties in a knot and call the district its both most likely going to cost us a fortune and be put on the back burner for so long that nobody will finish it. I hope the district is going to do the same thing with all the mountain bike trails that they are doing here, whats the difference between this and all the bridges, ramps and see saws that are all over the place. Did they have approvals, permits, engineers and environmental assements all words that I have heard thrown at this skatepark. I have heard people complaining about the noise that it will bring….really they were working on it for a couple of months and nobody even noticed the construction noise which I’m sure is louder than skateboards. My opinion might be a little one sided but having a 15yo son that would come home excited every time he came home telling us how cool it is will do that.

  7. Andrew Martin says:

    Keep up the good work! This makes so much sense given that this space was used for partying before this project was under way – that’s much more of a problem than a skatepark. As a past resident of Squamish, I know that it’s really only possible to skate outside in the summer months. With this project, it will residents can skate year round! What’s even better is that the skaters are funding the project by themselves. I wish I could be at the meeting on Feb. 12, but hopefully it works out!

  8. Mischa says:

    This is amazing and a sign of healthy community. The builders should reach out to the quest students that are skaters to get support from the student council. I went to that university and not only are the students inspired and stoked on cool projects, but have lots of spare time and income which is better spent helping build a skatepark than get wasted. This park would be epic! Its a tragedy that the barn park in britannia got torn down. Don’t let this gem of an opportunity get shut down!

  9. michael says:

    im 15 I skate and I know how much it sucks to have to sit inside and watch it pour rain outside where I moved from we had an indoor bowl and that’s were I was every night of the week but here it does tend to rain a lot and the frost and grozen ground makes it impossible at times to skate as it was said above iv seen tons of things that have been built for biking such as trails jumps and ramps in the forest being a biker myself I don’t want to speak against it but I don’t see the district doing anything to stop the un permitted building of any of that stuff but yet when they hear of something organized and they think they can get money out of it they just think hey lets slap a 1000 dollar fine on this then make them spend more money to get the permits even though this will make that area a better place due to less drug and alcohol related activities going on around there as I have seen a lot of stuff happen at this skate park at the youth center down town it is always handeld well by other skaters I don’t see what their problem with this is it wouldn’t do any harm it will be doing good rather than bad they just need to let it be.

  10. Cory says:

    Let them finish it and keep your paws out of ( government) . They say that they are interested in safety and the well being of forests? Really someone just wants to make a buck. If the government truly cares then they should flip the bill for proper trails and parking and set up a dumpster and make a garbage pick up schedule etc. I agree with everyone else, they have gone above and beyond and show initiative and drive to see something done, so let it be.

  11. Baconator says:

    All the regulations, oversight, and inconsistent enforcement of bylaws between sport groups are likely the reasons these people didn’t consult with the District in the first place. Government shouldn’t be an impediment to what a community wants. If you’re not in government to help people then step aside.

  12. Rocky Anderson says:

    I love skateboarding. A nice cement bowl is fun and more skate spots are always a good thing. Keeping youth busy is always a good idea. Saying all that makes me want to see this project, skate it and even help build it but I get this nagging feeling every time I see a post on Facebook regarding this project. The amount of time, skill, materials, money, and pure dedication that goes into a project like this is substantial. So I gotta know…You guys did’nt think you were going to get found out, stopped & fined? Whats the contingency plan?

  13. Glenne Campbell says:

    OUR town thrives on self initiated projects, always has.
    To quote an Imagineer – Bruce S. Johnson, Research and Development ”Never pass up the opportunity to see new things, draw things, build things, talk to experts and learn new skills. ” Over the years, the kids living near Fishermans Park(ing) have envisioned, built, and played at many self initiated projects. Part of the Community Building Credential this freedom allows, is the inclusion of everyone – from the kids to the adults who stepped in to inspect the projects for safety. By the way, its those kids who took responsibility for the area and now clean up the messes the tourists leave. Please don’t outlaw self initiative.

  14. jeff harkourt says:

    Does this affect you david johnston? Quit being a little biatch . get a life

  15. AJ says:

    I think this is great I grew up skateboarding inthis town when we didnt have much to ride and the winter months where a drag when the only dry spot was a wooden five set with a leaky roof. And for the foot traffic even before the bridge was there that spot had heavy foot traffic anyways with young teens heading down to the local swimming holes in the river. This is a great idea having another place for the kids to skateboard with there friends in the long rainy months and keeping them out of the parking lots and roads we drive on.