Inner West Independent

Leichhardt skate park approved by council despite local concerns

Leichhardt skate

A new skate facility in Leichhardt Park has been approved. Photo: Eric Chen

By SEJA AL ZAIDI

The Inner West Council has officially approved plans for a controversial new skate park in Leichhardt. 

The plan was carried at the latest Inner West council meeting earlier in May. Approval for the Leichhardt skate park was rescinded in December 2020 following the initial adoption of the Leichhardt Park management plan one month prior.

The motion has been contested by several local businesses, including nearby Lilyfield venue Le Montage. Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne, who has been staunchly in favour of the skate park, had opposed the venues’ contestation of the motion on social media, saying that “local parents know that children’s facilities like this are in the public interest”.

Glenn Apps, a town planning consultant engaged by council to review the skate park application, joined the meeting to express concerns about the project’s infrastructure.

“There’s certainly advantages and benefits to teens and young adults in the area having this facility, and consolidating what’s happening at the park. We’re not opposed to the skate park, we just think there’s a better location that can be found for it within the confines of that park.” 

Apps noted that council wanted to “maintain the position of Le Montage”, in reference to the venue’s opposition to the plans.

Council invited the public to make submissions from March 1 to April 4, via online, email and mail. Eighty-six submissions were received and taken into consideration in the planning and consultation process

The project officially termed the ‘Lilyfield Skate Park’ was allocated $1.49 million in the 2021 budget for construction.

State government backs Leichhardt skate park 

Calls to install the skate park gathered steam earlier this year, after Suellen Fitzgerald, the chief executive of the Greater Sydney Parklands Trust, conveyed her support for the project.

In a letter addressed to council General Manager Peter Gainsford in April, Fitzgerald said that “our parks are highly valued by the community and the capacity for youth to be engaged with natural areas is of key community importance”.

Leichhardt skate

Plans for the Inner West skate park were on public exhibition until April 4. Photo: Inner West Council.

Plans for a skating facility in Leichhardt Park have long been in the pipeline for Cr Byrne, who called the successful motion to rescind in 2020 a “betrayal of local children and young people”.

The skate park was put back on public exhibition until April this year, five months after Labor earned a one-seat majority in the Inner West council chamber during the local elections.

Lilyfield locals have expressed concern for the facility, saying that the development will pose a threat to public trees, canopy cover and open green space.

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