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Burnaby skate park takes another award

Local skate site has won five awards since 2005 along with rave reviews from park users

The popular Metro Skate Park in Bonsor Park in Burnaby received an architectural award last month.

The bronze award from the International Olympic Committee and the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities is the fifth award the park has won since it opened in 2004.

The openness of the design, as well as the separate skateboarding areas, is what makes the park so successful, according to park designer Jim Barnum of Spectrum Skate Park Creations.

"I think what makes it unique is that through the design we've invited the general public right into the skate park," he said, explaining that normally skate parks can seem uninviting.

But Metro Skate Park has public viewing space within the park, Barnum added, including a viewing platform on top of the full pipe.

"It was an architectural approach to a skate park rather than just 'let's only think of this in terms of the function for the skateboarders,'" Barnum said.

Another distinct feature of the park is the three separate skateboarding areas within it.

"In this park, we decided to make three distinct areas so each discipline of skateboarding could really shine and be properly represented," he said, adding it has a beginner area, a bowl area and a plaza area for street skaters.

The park cost $806,000 to build, with $600,000 coming from a density bonus from a Bosa Ventures Ltd. development.

The park includes a boulder gap - three stairs poured around boulders excavated from the site.

The designers used a special environmentally friendly concrete for the park that included fly ash, a mixed-in hardener, silica fume and microfibres.

Even the way the concept for the park was developed was unique, according to Barnum, who said public consultation was key.

"We met with so many different groups and so many different age groups," he said, adding a Grade 2 class mentioned they wanted a beginner section.

The feedback from the skateboarding community has been great, Barnum said, adding it is considered one of the best skate parks in the region.

"I was speaking to a skateboarder a couple of days ago who was saying, 'Oh, you did Bonsor? That's my favourite park. That's the best park in Vancouver,' so we still get lots of that from local skaters," he said, adding it's gotten great coverage in magazines and online.

The International Olympic Committee and the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities Awards is the only international architecture competition for sports and leisure facilities, according to a press release from the city.

In 2011, 135 teams of operators and designers from 38 countries took part in the awards, which were handed out on Oct. 26. On Nov. 7, Barnum presented the award to the City of Burnaby at a council meeting.

"The fact that this community recreation facility, which opened over seven years ago, is still winning awards illustrates that its design is innovative, successful and unique," Mayor Derek Corrigan said in the release.