Petrolia Mayor John McCharles says as long as they’re not causing damage, skateboarders should be able to use the Farmers’ Market at night.
Council recently heard from a resident who voiced concern about skateboarders using the area to play. Sharon Livingston told council she felt some of the skateboarders were displaying “bullying” behaviour and frightened her dogs as they walked. She also voiced concern for the skateboarders’ safety saying the cement pad under the pavilion wasn’t designed for that use.
She asked council to consider putting up signs banning the practice and finding a way to build a skateboard park for the teens elsewhere.
Council asked administration to look into the issue and a report is expected at council Sept. 30.
But McCharles says since the issue has come to light, he’s heard from residents who are voicing support for the teens. “We’ve had some people who have contacted us regarding the issue. They’ve been to the Farmers’ Market area and they didn’t seem to find any serious problems,” says McCharles. “One lady said they were courtesy and caused no problems at all.”
McCharles adds he doesn’t see a big problem either. “While it wasn’t designed to be a skateboard place, most of the time the skateboard kids are there no one else is using it,” says McCharles. “As long as they’re not abusing the place or destroying property…or bullying people, then really I don’t personally have a problem with it.”
And while the mayor concedes there has been property damage including broken picnic tables and in the public washrooms “but I’m not about to blame the skateboarders for that.”