It has been 12 years since Kimberley lost city councillor Bob McWhinnie to cancer. He passed away in January 2010. It’s been so long that many of the kids who use the skate park — the park that Bob built — don’t remember the smiling face of the man who made it happen.
Bob never wanted the park named after him, though he was almost solely responsible for it being built, but there is a rock in the park with a plaque reading “Recreate In Peace”, a truly Bob-like thing to say.
Every spring since Bob’s passing, with the exception of the past two pandemic years, Bob McWhinnie Day was held at the skate park. It’s a day to celebrate the park, families and remember Bob.
It’s not a competition, it’s a jam, open to all ages.
“Anything on wheels goes,” said Alex Buterman, who has organized McWhinnie Day each year since 2010, and has taken over McWhinnie’s legacy of caring for the park and the kids who use it.
McWhinnie Day 2022 will be May 8 from about 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., which is also Mother’s Day.
“Moms loved Bob too,” Buterman said.
Bring cash to buy hotdogs, and maybe a donation of baked goods for sale. Buterman is also looking for youth DJs or bands to perform on the day. Ray’s Music has donated the use of a sound system.
While McWhinnie Day is all about honouring Bob, it’s also about raising funds to add amenities to the skate park. The stage was built from these funds, and work on the pump track as well.
The latest fundraising project is to pave a metre around the perimeter of the park, to keep gravel out of the bowls and provide more space to ride.
Kimberley’s skate park has never had a problem with graffiti.
“Bob hated graffiti,” Buterman said, adding that his memory has been honoured as the park remains graffiti-free, and even for the kids who never met him, because they get involved in all the projects in the park, they feel a sense of ownership over it.