Railside Park Port Coquitlam


In The Park: RailSide – Port Coquitlam, BC
by Frank Daniello for Push.ca

"The PoCo park is definitely one of my top 3 Lower Mainland parks, for sure. The design is amazing, and you can skate there all day long without getting bored," explains Vancouver's Paul Machnau. "So many fun little sessions can go down all over the park, and then you can go get gnarly when you're ready. I really like the fact that it's surrounded by nature as well."

It seems like many demos and contests that come to Vancouver actually take place in the suburb of Port Coquitlam – at their sizeable park, RailSide (at Lions Park, 2300 Lions Way). This large, diverse New Line park was completed in 2005 and quickly became the top destination park for the city slickers and PoCo locs alike, and it's not hard to figure out why.

"There's so much space in that overall environment, it's a good place to have an event because you can have tons of people there," says Kyle Dion, president of New Line Skateparks. "Railside has a couple different up-gaps, stair-sets, ledges, the signature bank-to-picnic table, a slappy wall, various hips and rails, a big bowl [5', 7', 8', 9' walls, and a 13' over-vert pocket] – you can go with a crew of people who might be into skating different things, and you can all skate the same park. I think that's a huge appeal. We tried to incorporate a series of some of the most successful obstacles we've had in parks up until we built RailSide. So that includes the entire first generation of our more ‘street-style' skatepark obstacles before the plaza movement started."

"Port Coquitlam was one of the first communities where we wrote a long-term strategy, what they called a Wheeled Sports Strategy Plan. They were a really good community to work with because they had a vision beyond just another skatepark. PoCo is kind of split into 2 different sides, north and south, because the rail-line next to the park and the Lougheed Highway create a physical barrier between the 2 sides of the community. We wrote a master plan outlining that they need one central skatepark, then a regional park on either side."

Kyle Dion provides more In The Park commentary on RailSide for Push.ca/skateboarding:

"For the first big park, it was about finding a site that was kind of central. There's an existing parking lot at Lions Park – their crown-jewel public green space because it has the playgrounds, a lot of space, the river walk, and it's where all their big events happen. It's totally accessible and it's in the middle of all the high schools and stuff."

Community Design
"The local skate community had a lot of say. We did a fairly extensive process there, and we actually went out to all the different schools, sat down with all the different groups and did the full exercise of, ‘What would you like to see in the park?' They wanted to create a ‘Youth Park', with the skatepark being the biggest component of it. We spoke with hundreds of kids in the community and we held a few big meetings as well. They wanted a flexible space, with basketball courts and street-hockey, and a place where they could have events. The skate community wanted a flatground area, a Fun Track, a bowl, and an obstacle section. They did a big naming contest within the community, which is how ‘RailSide' came about."

"When we looked at the site, there was a lot of significant vegetation and trees, so we created the concept of trying to maximize the space as much as possible. We had to incorporate the CN vehicle access road into the design, because the skatepark is adjacent to a rail yard. We decided to keep that roadway open as flatground space, with various styles of ledges along one side, and a couple stairs that go down into the lower basketball/hockey area on the other. The outside edge of the park is a big spot."

The "Fun Track"
"The Fun Track is a path outside the skatepark that goes around the basketball court. It's kind of sad because originally we had planned for a boarder-cross type of thing with big bermed corners and bigger pump-bumps, all concrete, but the budget had to be cut back. Now it's an all-asphalt pump-bump path through the trees for kids to cruise around on. It turned out pretty fun, and tricks over the 2-bump-section have appeared in skate mags. When the budget restrictions came into play, the Fun Track was the lowest priority for the skate community. Fortunately, we were able to keep it in there in some fashion."

Fact Sheet
- "The RailSide Skatepark is located in the heart of Port Coquitlam, in Lions Park – a unique setting that's spread out amongst large, mature trees and has a great view of the Golden Ears mountains."
- Size: 24,000 square feet of concrete area (obstacle park and bowl), plus approximately 15,000 sq. ft. of surrounding asphalt elements (outer ledge area, Fun Track, etc).
- Cost: $620,000
- Finished: March 2005

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