Beer Before Boards

Did a brewery and a private skate space derail a new public park?

by Paul Dechene

Skateboard losing a wheel (by Dakota McFadzean)

When Mark McMorris won Team Canada’s first medal in the Sochi Olympics — a bronze in the slopestyle event — he became a national hero. And a local one. Here’s this Regina kid kicking ass on an international stage, and with a broken rib no less. He did us proud.

David Chapados, a long time volunteer and employee for SK8 Regina, remembers McMorris from the days when the future Olympian was a skateboarder who sometimes honed his skills at Regina’s public indoor skateboard park.

MTV even filmed an episode of McMorris’ reality show, McMorris & McMorris, at that facility.

That “late lamented” facility, I should say, as the City of Regina demolished it this summer to make way for construction of our new, $278 million stadium.1

“It was unreal,” Chapados says of the old indoor skateboard park. “I think for a lot of kids, especially where it was situated, it was a good chance to have a positive place to go in a kind of rougher neighbourhood with not a lot of good options. You’d get some pretty rough kids and kids out from the east and north end, and everyone got along.

“We got people coming from out of town and from all over Canada, and [they’d] be blown away by how great the scene is in Regina. No one would expect that but there were a ton of kids who got insanely good because of that place.”

And while Chapados is sad that the indoor facility is gone, he admits the building maybe needed to come down.

“It was not in the best shape by any means,” he says.

As for the city’s efforts to find a replacement public, indoor skateboard park, council had directed administration to work with SK8 Regina to search for a new facility. But according to Chris Holden, the city’s director of community services, finding one is not at the top of the to-do list because it turns out there’s a private, indoor skateboard park in the city, the 306 Shop, to which the city’s website is directing skaters.

Which is great, except the newer private shop is noticeably more expensive than the old public option. 306 Shop charges $5 an hour to access the skateboard park. Sk8 Regina’s public park charged $3 a day. For low-income families, that can make a huge difference.2

Also, an awkward fact about 306 Skate: it’s owned and operated by Andrew Hincks, the son of Ward 9 councillor, Terry Hincks, a member of the council that voted to tear down the old public skateboard park.

Holden says that’s just a coincidence though, and it wasn’t until after the city had exhausted an initial search for a new site for the SK8 Regina facility that his department even knew this private facility existed. It was Councillor Bryce, in fact, not Hincks, who brought it to community services’ attention in a meeting Prairie Dog attended.

“I can tell you that [Councillor Hincks] was quite quiet through the conversations period,” said Holden. “It came out at the end when we weren’t able to find another location and our acknowledgement there really isn’t another indoor skateboard opportunity in Regina. And then it was, ‘Well there is one.’”

And while Holden calls the 306 Shop “a pretty neat shop,” he concedes that it’s about half the size of the old, public facility.

“It’s not a warehouse so it’s in the basement of one of those strip malls,” says Holden. “The roof isn’t as high, so his half pipe isn’t as high. But that’s really not what it’s about. They still have ample space to board. I’d break my neck I’m sure. But if you’re a kid skateboarding you can still get a fairly good experience skateboarding in the facility that he has.”

Chapados is aware of the other facility but says that it isn’t really sufficient for his skating needs.

“It’s a lot smaller,” he says. “I think it’s really easy for the city to be like, ‘Great someone else is doing something so we’ll just wash our hands and not deal with it.’ But it’s nowhere close. It’s awesome what [Andrew Hincks] has going on. It’s great! But it can’t facilitate all the skateboarders in the city.”

Holden notes though that another complication in finding a new facility is that current commercial rental rates for a warehouse are just too costly for the recreation budget to absorb. He says that the old Sk8 Regina facility cost about $35,000 a year but renting a new building from a private landowner would cost at least $100,000.

Funny thing though: Regina actually owns a warehouse space. And many of the people I’ve spoken to in the skateboarding community suspect it would have been perfect for an indoor skateboard park.

Problem is, it might not be available because it’s currently occupied by the District Brewing Company.

This was all revealed at the April 29 council meeting. Turns out, the Optimist Gymnastics Association of Regina (OGAR) owned a warehouse they’d bought off the city for one dollar — the catch being that, according to their agreement, the city would be able to buy the building back for a dollar if OGAR ever stopped using it for gymnastics.

Well, OGAR stopped using it for gymnastics back in 2004. And in 2012 they rented it out to District Brewing for what City administration termed well below the market rate.

Another awkward fact is listed in the city’s April 29 report (emphasis mine): “A review of corporation searches for OGAR and [District Brewing] shows there are two common directors for [District Brewing] and OGAR, with other directors for [District Brewing] being related to these two common directors.”

At that meeting, council directed city administration to buy back the building — which they did on June 16, 2013 — and then provide council a report on how the current tenant, District Brewing, should be dealt with.

According to Don Barr, the city’s director of real estate, that report on what to do with District Brewing will be considered at some point in the first quarter of 2014.

In the meantime, even though District Brewing’s acquisition and use of the space might be controversial, they’ve made themselves quite comfortable. They’re selling their beer, Müs Knuckle3, and ads for it adorn the exterior of many city buses.

It’s also worth noting that even if the city wanted to turn the OGAR warehouse into an athletics space — as it was originally intended — it may not be possible as District Brewing Company has made renovations to accommodate their beer operation.

Of course, as long as the city is renting one of their buildings out to a brewery that means they’ll be collecting market-rate rent on a commercial warehouse every year.

I wonder what that kind of money could pay for?

[hr]

Footnotes

1. Remember that number is only the $278 million we were expecting to spend building the stadium back when council approved the financing plan early last year. Operations and maintenance were expected to cost another $355 million. But, as council just discovered, the $100 million debt the provincial government is helping us secure to help construction costs will have a slightly higher interest rate and be paid off over a slightly longer period than initially anticipated. Staff estimate that could add another $13 million to the bill. And we haven’t even negotiated terms yet for the extra $67.4 million in debt the city will be taking on. And then there’s millions in interim debt the city will also be taking on to meet timelines as the project moves forward. All told, before any prices started to creep up due to inflation, the city expected in Jan. 2013 to be paying $405 million out of its coffers over the next 30 years. That averages to $13.5 million — each year — for the stadium. But $100 thousand a year for an indoor skateboard park is deemed too expensive.

2. Staff at 306 Skate say they will lower their prices for kids who can’t afford to pay them, and that’s good. Still, an informal discount is no replacement for a facility that’s guaranteed to be affordable for everyone.

3. The name “Müs Knuckle” is presumably a reference to the crotch bulge a man has when his pants are too tight and hiked up too far.

2014-02-20

19 thoughts on “Beer Before Boards”

  1. Well shit. District doesn’t even make decent beer (yet). Give it back to people who can do something good with it.

  2. “Holden calls the 306 Shop “a pretty neat shop,” he concedes that it’s about half the size of the old, public facility.”

    Chris Holden–Get a grip. This garage sale is far from a “pretty neat shop”. Not to mention that it is no where near even HALF the size of the old public facility.
    Let’s be honest. Would you want Andrew Hincks and his clowns to supervise your childen? I know I sure don’t.
    I pray these kids get the space they deserve.

  3. The 306 indoor park is a joke. It will not suffice and instead of growing he skateboard scene, which our previous park could sustain, it will inhibit it. Forget holding a contest there, as it is way too small to accommodate even 10 competitors, much less an audience of parents and supporters to watch. I don’t live in regina anymore, but i frequently would come back to visit and not having that park there makes me second guess my trips. It’s not that hard to get a new building. Get some corporate sponsorship, have some fundraisers, charge maybe a couple bucks more per day? We all volunteer to build Ramps and such, to keep costs down. Come on city, half a billon dollars almost on a stadium for people to goto a handful of times a year to get wasted and watch football, but you can’t cough up a fraction of a percent to facilitate something that gets used all year by kids of every age and social class? Brewery gets a new building ? Because that’s what Sask is missing, more beer.

  4. Yeah, let the kids just getting into skating head over to 306 skate park.
    They definitely won’t feel intimidated or worthless at that park.
    They also won’t have to deal with supervision, or Hynx trying to lowball them for the boards off their back.
    They also definitely won’t feel the need of gaining false respect in their skate community.
    Wait, yes they will!
    306 skatepark is the last place I would want a loved one going to. Good going Regina!

  5. This article is absolutely false when it comes to the perception of the 306shop. Not to mention these comments. Andrew Hincks opens his shop and heart to everyone 365 days a year. Has never turned away anyone whether they have money or not. He does not demand a payment of $5 an hour, he has a suggested donation of $5. He absolutely monitors everything and everyone in his shop. In fact he knows the youth on a personal level he interacts with them, takes time to show them new things, and many times extends his hand to those children less fortunate (has boards for them to use, scooters, helmets). He also does an incredible amount of charity work. Just this past month he offered a 50% discount on anything in his store in exchange for donations of used clothing for the north central family centre. He teaches youth with autism DJing, skateboarding, and meditation. Andrew Hincks has put his life into offering a positive, home like environment for youth from all walks of life.

  6. Someone has their wires crossed on the fee to skate at 306 indoor park,,I have been there many times with my children,,12 months a year,,the price is 5 dollars aday and that’s not in stone either,,Ive seen so many kids come in there and they don’t have any money and owner operator Andrew,still lets them skate till they get their fill,,No body is turned away.the 5 dollars cost sure isn’t huge revenue for 306 ,,the way I see it it goes towards supplying boards to the so many kids that come in there with out their own boards,,and for the free water they get or bag of chips or cold soda,,So next time someone states how expensive is is to use 306 indoor park,,Have your facts first,,

  7. When I spoke with Andrew in researching this article, he told me it was “$5” to use the skatepark. I double checked against his facebook page and as of the time I’m typing this, the pricing there is $5/hour.

    Andrew’s already followed up with me over this. I regret the error and it’ll all be sorted.

  8. Andrew has created an outreach from his business, and it has taken many steps to get there. At least our city has his shop. His shop had nothing to do with the old indoor park being taken down. People are going to get into heated debates about this subject, but the anger is misdirected. Is a local business and someone’s livelihood really the right scapegoat?

  9. some people are a joke 306 has came a long way, don’t believe what they say, cause they most likely don’t talk to hinks or try skate that park, seen and learn’t the coolest tricks at 306 was small and if you had the money or not you get to skate and the old indoor you would have to wear a helmet and listen to deathmetal but what im say you can have the best of both worlds with the 306 and if the was a indoor

  10. Andrew puts a lot of time into his shop. He also takes tons of time for the youth who frequently enter his shop. He’s doing a very good thing ATM. I know he’s made some mistakes on the road of life but whatever, we all make them. On his sk8-park, it’s super small and could only hold a few folks in there at a time before it gets uncomfortable, but its all we got at the moment; which sucks but oh well.

    I find the City of Regina’s, stance on this issue very unaccountable and childish. We all know money doesn’t grow on trees but we’re talking about kids, youth and folks who wanna be active and have fun here. The City builds multi-million dollar, soccer and hockey facilities for a certain group/ class of youth who can afford to pay for equipment, the league they’re joining, etc (not cheap!), but snuff the other youth to the side lines. On top of that, the City of Regina, already HAD a facility to use but couldn’t put two and two together. This sounds like politics at its finest. Pathetic.

    Great article, and lets all hope the City and its councilors step up to the plate and start acting like community leaders.

  11. I am a Regina Skate-Boarder i miss the Old Indoor so much. At the 306 park every thing at that park is broken and most the time Andrew Hincks is in is office doing noting. I have stood at the door for about a half hour ringing the front door bell to get in to the park and the shop is all gangster wanna-be stuff there is barely any skate product, At the old Park the guy that worked there where awesome they would help you out the best they could with anything. they had the best ramps and even if it was busy you had room to still skate

    I MISS YOU OLD INDOOR

  12. The old skate park was funded by the city of Regina, Andrew Hincks has payed out of pocket for everything. It’s so easy for people to criticize someone’s life’s work, while sitting on their buts doing nothing! The city could easily help improve the 306 skate park. Instead of anyone even considering this option lets just insult the one person working everyday towards to fund the only indoor park on his own! As far as skateboard products he has everything any skater needs! Boards, all parts, snow skates, scooters, helmets, wax, and is always there to help build/tune your board! “Wanna-be gangster clothes”?!? It is the 306 Hip Hop skate shop! He also carries many skate brands DGK, ETENIES, EPHIN, OSIRIS, and many more! Anyone who understands business know that a lot of the time is spent on planning and organizing (Hincks in his office). I’m amazed by how much time you all have taken to find something negative to say about someone doing such positive work entirely on his OWN!

  13. 306 is a prairie oasis. Funded 100% out of his own pocket, with ramps built by BMXERS. Sk8 Regina is a joke. Nole from tiki room has padded his pockets with free money from the city for years not allowing scooters or bikes because “he owns the ramps, the city pays the rent” and I have been told that from the city officials at parks & rec. ANDREW HINX is a real man and will arm wrestle Nole for presidency of skate Regina and he WON’T DISCRIMINATE against other sports.

  14. Some commentators need to work on their reading comprehension. 306 is not being criticized. The city’s inaction on a public skate park is. I see no reason why Regina can’t have public AND private skate parks. As for the price “error”, it wasn’t ours–we printed the information we were A.) told by the owner and B.) got from the 306 Facebook page. We will run a note on this next issue.

  15. I can’t say I was ever in the “public” skatepark because I ride bmx bikes and the city didn’t let bikes in. But I drive from Brandon Mb countless times a year to go ride bikes at 306. Witch happens to be the only indoor on the prairies to allow bikes! Hynx has got a good thing going at 306. His shop gives a home to many of us who don’t have a facility to go too. Always a happy environment there and always welcoming.

  16. Stephen – You have to realize, you posted an article about a Hincks. When you do that in Regina, you are going to be the target, no matter how factual it may be. Hell, I think Drew Hincks is a decent guy, even given the fact his dad is about as useless as a man’s nipple. I’ve only met him a couple times, but he definitely seems down to Earth, up front, and at least willing to talk mano-a-mano, unlike his pappy. I actually met a great business owner through Drew, so I do have him to thank for that.

    All that said, the reality of it is – folks – the 306 does offer an alternative. Yes, it may not be what the SK8 park offered, but that’s because it’s not publicly funded. If you want to see something like what was destroyed by City Council, then get to Council and speak up. Demand your tax dollars are spent on things that the entire community can actually benefit from. A Stadium that is identical to what we already have, albeit shiny and new, is not the saviour that this Council is touting it to be.

    There’s a perfectly fine area that is currently being “reconstructed” for this Mosaic Stadium 2.0, and no matter how much our City Council wants to tell you that it’s too late to stop the trains, it’s far from that. There are still contracts to be awarded. And, while they illegally approved the $100M debt (WITH NO MENTION FROM THE MEDIA YET ON THIS I MIGHT ADD – STEPHEN *AHEM*), they will not approve a contract or my name isn’t BatChad – City Hall’s worst nightmare. My ChadSignal? A middle finger to the Mayor. My weapon? Questioning the Mayor on things that just aren’t socially acceptable, thus giving some kind of justification to ban me from the halls of City Hall.

    Yep, watch out ladies and gentlemen, I’m worthy of calling in a gang of police officers to escort me out of City Council. I have the criminal record to prove it. Oh…shit…wait, no I don’t. I mean, I guess I have gone around City Hall like a mad man. Oh….shit…wait, no I haven’t. (Even proven by their own documents) Then, what the hell is the reason I’m banned? Ohhh, yes, right. Because I suffer from a mental illness. THAT’s a perfectly reasonable – non-human rights violating – justification to ban an otherwise harmless human being from the castle on Victoria.

    Anyways, in the end, Drew Hincks – decent guy. Terry Hincks – about as big a dick as you’ll ever find. 306 – decent shop. Other skate options, DEMAND it from your City Council. There’s ways to make it happen, public pressure is the #1 way to get er done.

  17. I am very gratefull my son Edward Johannesburg Lugt is not here to see this. Edward said to me one day, mom I am going to switch to Finesticks,,

    Of course I asked him why .
    HIs answer was I am not going anywhere and I am not getting all my stuff always the inventory was always gone. I suggested that he contact his Sponcers so they send every thing to the house on Edgar street. Edward also designed a pair of skate shoes and a board. His main dream was to build a big ass skate park in Tuktoyaktuk and a big ass outdoor park in Regina. Edward was all about love it would have broke his heart to see all this stupid accusations.

    I have seen Andrew through all his shops he always gave everyone deals. You do not see that at any other outlet.

  18. Prarie dog is a clueless pathetic joke and all they do is try and criticize people for ratings on their pathetic wanna be news page. The 306 isn’t about money you stupid brainless idiots. It’s about a passion for skateboarding and helping the community. Andrew is very passionate about what he does and has helped a lot of people including myself. Not to worry tho. It’s only low level brainless idiots who would even waste their time and existence reading and acknowledging prairie dog. 5$ an hour. What are you having mental issues with your pathetic go no where be no body wanna be journalist “news articles”. Andrew lets people skate for free and does more if or this city than anyone who thinks their someone. Including you jokes writing 2$ articles. ;)

  19. They should replace prairie dog with a McDonald’s so all you guys can get real
    Jobs and do something mediocre with your existence.

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