City News

Annandale’s Federal Park skate park welcomed by community

The Federal Park skate park has welcomed skaters from all pockets of the community. Photo: City of Sydney/Chris Southwood.

By KATELYN MILLIGAN

A new skate park and refurbished playground in Annandale’s Federal Park was revealed by the City of Sydney earlier this month.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore highlights the increase in skate parks around the City of Sydney as an incentive to move skaters away from the streets and into the parks.

“Skating is incredibly popular and these new skateparks mean people have a better alternative to skating on crowded footpaths or residential areas,” Lord Mayor Moore told City Hub.

The skate plaza comprises rails, ledges, walls, banks, kerbs, stairs and a freestanding mini ramp for skateboarders, scooters and BMX riders to enjoy.

Community benefits

Daniel Whittle runs Skate Now, a Sydney based skate school that runs skateboarding lessons throughout the City of Sydney and Inner West. He says the new skate park is an asset to the skating community.

“The new skatepark is an awesome amenity for the community. Even though this is the second new skatepark to open in the City of Sydney LGA recently, it offers different terrain and obstacles and is very popular and well utilised by kids, families and members of the skate community,” Whittle told City Hub.

Despite the current COVID-19 environment, skaters are making the most of the new Federal Park skate park, with the City of Sydney’s parks and playgrounds remaining open for exercise and children’s recreation.

“The local community is thoroughly enjoying the new skate zone at Federal Park, and I’ve been so impressed to see people of all ages carefully keeping their physical distance while using the new park,” Lord Mayor Moore said.

Whittle says that skate parks remaining open during the current lockdown has been a blessing to the skating community.

“It’s been different to last year’s lockdown when skateparks were all closed,” he said.

“We’ve seen an increase in people both young and old wanting to learn to skate, and core skaters also wanting to get out on their boards more to get out of the house for an exercise break and use skateboarding as an outlet in a stressful time.”

Tokyo to Annandale

Annandale local Stephen Langella believes the skate park upgrades have been well designed and adds value to Federal Park.

“Placing the skatepark in and around the arches gives it prominence rather than squirrelled away in some disused corner which the previous facility was. The skate park adds to the diversity of uses to the park and it was great [to see] kids of all ages getting out on their boards, skates, scooters and even BMX’s.”

With the recent introduction of skateboarding at the Olympics and growing recognition for the sport, Whittle believes that skate parks in the inner-city region will help support kids who want to give it a go.

“It really is a benefit to the whole community to have these vibrant, activated spaces that everyone can enjoy and with skateboarding now an Olympic sport, skateparks provide kids an opportunity to possibly take it to the next level,” Whittle said.

Construction on the skate park began in 2019 and was funded through the City of Sydney’s capital works program.

The nearby playground has been extended and refurbished to create a large play space near Federal Park playing field. A new recreational space, west of the Glebe railway viaduct, has also been opened, along with conservation works on the archways.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore says the recent Federal Park developments are all part of the Johnston’s Creek masterplan.

“The City also recently completed work on a brand new children’s playground in Federal Park and we’re working with Sydney Water to naturalise Johnston’s Creek,” Lord Mayor Moore said.

“All of this work … is greatly improving the quality of open space on the Glebe foreshore.”

Federal Park’s current uses are a far cry from Leichardt Council’s original plans for green open space in 2003.

Former Leichhardt Mayor Maire Sheehan says the ratepayers of Leichhardt Council paid for the purchase of the land and supported the zoning for green open space. When the land was transferred to the City of Sydney by the State Government the zoning uses were changed by Council.

“When the City took it over, they changed it and replaced green space with a childcare centre and the skatepark,” Sheehan told City Hub.

“Local people in Leichhardt said we don’t agree with it being changed like this, but the City went ahead anyway.”

The City of Sydney’s jurisdiction over Federal Park meant locals in the Leichhardt Council area were no longer residents of the LGA making the decision.

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