Inner West Independent

Skaters finally win over City for skate park


The City of Sydney is planning to build the first skate park in 9 years in the Johnsons Creek Parkland development in Glebe.


The plan comes about after extensive lobbying from the Sydney Skateboarding Association, who worked with Labor councilor Linda Scott, who last week successfully moved a motion to build the skate park in the Inner West.


Skating advocates have seen the council dragging their heals on the issue of skate parks. A 2006 council report recommended the construction of four new parks in the local government area, but none have been built.


The Sydney Skateboarding Association are hopeful that more parks can be built, and that the council can be brought up to speed and keep pace with the changing paradigms of park design, as well as the wider community’s attitudes to skating.


Linda Scott believes more needs to be done.


“There is a huge demand for more skateboard facilities in the inner-city and I have been working with the Sydney Skateboard Association to make sure Council listens to the needs of Sydney’s skateboarding community. We need to listen to their ideas for what skateboarders want from these facilities to get the design right.”


“Whilst the plans for a future skate park in Glebe are welcome, there is much more to do given that since the 2006 report, the Council has not met the demand for skateboard facilities given the growing popularity of skateboarding. I will continue to work with Sydney’s skateboarding community to make sure Council delivers on its promise of new skateboard infrastructure in the future”


She believes the successful motion is a mandate for the city to have more fun.


“This is a massive victory to ensure the future of our City is more fun. We’ve had to stand against the Lord Mayor who failed to deliver new skating facilities and Liberal Councillors, who declared skateboarding was dead. Today our communities who support more fun have won.“


Cameron Sparkes of Sydney Skateboarding Association believes that it is not only an issue of fun, but about improving the Sydney’s community and having a more equitable distribution of public infrastructure.


“There’s a lack of enthusiasm to build any form of infrastructure unless its something Clover Moore likes. Skate Parks aren’t very different because everyone is getting short changed. If you look at skate parks there is an element of the community that is not too thrilled about them. “


“Skating is one of the fastest growing cultures in the world. CSIRO and ABS data has shown participation rates in traditional team sports is decreasing, whereas participating in extreme sports is increasing – skating is at the forefront of this growing trend.”


“If you want a real life example of this, look at the skate park in Waterloo. There are 20 to 100 people using the facilities. Then look at the recently constructed tennis and basketball courts in Prince Alfred Park, and there is barely anyone there at night.”


“The benefit the health and social benefit is so important, it is the best thing you could do. For a lot of them, it’s introducing them tosomething that will provide health and wellbeing, because young people can be part of an active community”


Mr Sparkes believes that the new skate park will be a positive step for the local Glebe community.


“If you look at the youth center, Weave, in Waterloo, we know how beneficial for the indigenous community it has been within that area.”


“Since the skate park has been the Local Area Command has reported a drop in youth crime rates and youth drug abuse. “


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