City News

Skaters hanker for more spaces

Skaters pack the gallery at Town Hall. Photo: Michael Koziol

More than 200 Sydney skateboarders descended on Town Hall for a City of Sydney council meeting to voice their support for a skateboarding facility in the CBD.

The petition, signed by 3000 riders within three weeks, was tabled on Monday by Labor councillor Linda Scott, who was greeted with thunderous applause from the gallery.

“Tonight I’m standing up for making Sydney fun again,” Ms Scott said.

Describing council’s record on the issue as “mixed”, she said skate parks are “fundamentally a place of equality” where “if someone falls, someone else always picks them up”.

The petition called on council to build a skate facility in the city centre and investigate other suitable sites in the inner city. It also requested the City to prioritise the “immediate inspection and repair” of all council-owned skateboarding facilities to “return them to their full and proper use and to reduce the risk of injury”.

Speaking to the petition, Ms Scott suggested council could investigate modelling skate parks built in Europe using recycled materials. Greens councillor Irene Doutney said the changing demographic of skateboarders now commonly includes young children and their parents.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore noted the City had already honoured its commitment to expand skate facilities at locations across the LGA including Redfern Park, Ward Park in Surry Hills and at Waterloo, and would continue to do so.

Ms Moore reassured the gallery that council had resisted significant lobbying by those opposed to more skating facilities.

“It’s a priority for us,” she said.

Nigel Cameron co-founded the Sydney Skateboard Association to lobby for a skate park in the CBD.

“There’s been talk of it for 30 years,” he said. He identified the area around Sussex Street underneath the Western Distributor overpass as an ideal location. “It’s a really interesting space and it’s unusable for anything else.”

Mr Cameron said Ms Scott had been “a godsend” for the campaign.

“She’s pushed this so hard because she agrees with it 150 per cent.”

The NSW Government recently announced a skate park would be added near the Bondi Junction side of Centennial Park as part of a $36 million revitalisation project.

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