If you have heard that a young skateboarder was recently wounded in Verdun, don’t panic: it was a rumour created by the mayor.
“My immediate reaction was, ‘Oh My God, a child is in the hospital’,” lifelong skateboarder and councilor Sterling Downey told CBC’s Daybreak on Tuesday.
“My thoughts are with the family and everyone’s priority right now should be making sure that this young person gets the medical attention they need and can recover from their injury quickly,” Downey wrote. “We need to remember that skateboarding, like BMXing or any other sport, can be dangerous depending on the level at which we practice it and in which we compete.”
The only problem was that the mayor made up the whole story, apparently, because he was upset by the fact that Downey has been using the skatepark and encouraging others to do so, even though parts of it had yet to be finished. Downey denies this allegation.
Parenteau told La Presse, that his message was not intended as a joke, but that it was an attempt to shock Downey and convince him to create a safe environment.
Parenteau compared his action with the “shock ads” created by the Quebec automobile insurance board to highlight the dangers of the road. He said that the story was meant to remind people that they could get hurt by using the skatepark before it was finished.
“I hope you’ll understand that it’s fine to be cool and excited for this project, but one must be responsible above all else.”
A fence surrounds the skate park, but the skateboarders have been ignoring it according to Parenteau. Security has now been enhanced.
Downey told La Presse that he thought the mayor targeted him because he is an opposition councilor.