Nestled away in the suburbs of West Vancouver is a 2 decade old seaside skatepark, being one of the recreational amenities that Ambleside park offers. The skatepark was designed and built in the early 1990’s, replacing a public swimming pool. The city’s goal with the skatepark was to create a public space for youth. As skateboarding was becoming a mainstream recreational activity it made sense that there could be a public space to give West Vancouver’s youth a safe spot to skate and an opportunity to create their own sense of community.
The skateboard community at Ambleside or AMB, which it was quickly dubbed, was an immediate success. From completion of construction and through its early years AMB harbored a fantastic scene. The park had a wide variety skaters, with a variety skills and styles. A handful of the skaters at AMB went on to have amateur and professional careers that took them to southern California – the epicenter of skateboard industry. AMB not only became a space for skateboarding but skateboarding itself became a medium for some locals to develop and hone both photography and filmography talents. On any given day through the 90’s and early 2000’s, filmers and photographers were present at the park documenting the skating and the culture that was unfolding.
By the mid 2000’s skateboarding had become very mainstream, and municipalities all around the lower mainland were seeing the value in creating a skatepark in their community. The original design and method of construction at Ambleside although at it’s time very innovative, had fallen behind in terms of what it could offer with comparison to the flurry of new parks that were being built and used.
By the mid 2000’s the skate scene at AMB had died off and the new generation of skaters on the North Shore were opting out of using the park as it was outdated in all respects with comparison to newer municipal skatepark projects. Not only has the park become outdated in design, but the elements have taken a tole on the premises. The park is filled with divets, cracks, and rough ground that make it nearly impossible to skate across, but also dangerous, as many skaters catch their wheels in the cracks, sending them into the asphalt.
Fast forward to 2012, and the skateboarding community, under the banner of the Ambleside Skatepark Project, successfully lobbied the District of West Vancouver community and Council to purse a complete renovation/replacement of the existing aging park. After an extensive RFP process, New Line Skateparks was hired to design and construct the facility with complete cooperation and input from the local and City-wide skateboading community. The result is a unqiue urban street skating haven that responds to the diverse stylistic interests of area skaters and recycles over 90% of the original skatepark facility as crushed structural sub base for the new park. The design also incorporates an inviting ‘beach deck’ lounge area for resting, watching the action, and soaking in the breathtaking seaside vistas.