If everything goes according to plan, Barbados will soon have its own skating park.
A move that would not only introduce a rapidly growing sport to the youth, but it should also bring significant returns to the island.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, made this disclosure last Wednesday after touring the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
He said his Ministry was looking at locations for two projects ??? the first being the skate park and the second, an initiative by the Barbados Cycling Union ??? a BMX facility.
???The Complex, as you know is that area marked by the Government to be the hub for multiple sports???and there is an interest by the Maria Holder Trust to establish this park and we have been able to locate a possible site at this facility.
??????We are at a very preliminary stage??? and I can say that this is a project that I endorse as being very useful. It would help to certainly provide a much diversified base at the level of sports and that has always been one of the things that I have certainly been pushing for. So, having a skate park will combine not only the use of roller skating, but also it would have the provision for BMX and other similar activity,??? the Minister said.
Stating that he believed the proposed project would go a long way, Mr. Lashley said Ministry officials were anxiously pursuing the initiative and once they were able to obtain the necessary approvals he was sure they would be able to start the construction of the skate park.
???I think it is something that particularly our youth will embrace because we know there are a number of young people who are into skating and many of them do it in fairly dangerous environments. And, we hope that by having the skate park that it will bring some structure to a sport that is moving very rapidly across the globe… I think that it will be a good way to engage our youth,??? Mr. Lashley remarked.
Referring to the BMX facility, the Sports Minister said the Barbados Cycling Union had been working with their associate bodies in America, which had agreed to provide them with some initial funding.
???Therefore, the interaction in that case is to look at possible venues that we could have. We looked at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, we looked at the lands around Bushy Park and we have also looked at lands at Deacons and we will go back to the various agencies involved and come up with ??? the most suitable location.
???This too is still at the preliminary stages, but the whole idea of course in terms of this tour and of course future tours is to engage with our stakeholders to create a platform upon which we can create a diversified sporting sector and of course one of the key areas that is preoccupying our minds is to develop our sporting infrastructure so that we can then support some of the key economic objectives of the Government. That is, to position sports as a key pillar upon which we can further diversify the Barbados economy,??? he emphasised.
He added that over the years we had a very ageing sporting infrastructure and the time had now come to diversify it.??Mr. Lashley stated that the Ministry would certainly be working closely not only with donor agencies, such as the Maria Holder Trust, but also with the various sporting bodies to engage with them in sporting activities that would help to diversify what we currently have.
The Sports Minister also disclosed that the Ministry was looking at the ageing plant of the National Stadium and had put together a project which would shortly be going to the Cabinet Infrastructural Committee to source funding.
???So, the focus in this particular inquiry is all part and parcel of trying to find different ways in which we can create more interest, in terms of a broader sporting base, and ultimately give us that cutting edge that we require in terms of a country that is using sports as a possible key plank upon which we can build the Barbados economy in the future,??? he said.