Con­vic a driv­ing force in skate park

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - Therese Col­man Martin Luther King III with Con­vic’s Si­mon Ox­en­ham at the Mar­garet River Youth Precinct open­ing on June 3.

From the early days of the orig­i­nal Mar­garet River skate park to the open­ing of the new Youth Precinct, Con­vic’s Si­mon Ox­en­ham has been the man be­hind the in­ter­na­tional award-win­ning projects.

He was in­volved from the start, at­tend­ing the first com­mu­nity meet­ing in 1993 and driv­ing the need for a skate park in Mar­garet River.

“I’d just moved to Mar­garet River, had three young kids my­self, and there was a clear need for a fa­cil­ity,” he said.

“I knew what the com­mu­nity re­quired, and that was a skate park.”

Mr Ox­en­ham grew up in Queens­land, skat­ing around Bris­bane from age six and build­ing skate ramps in his back­yard.

A chance meet­ing with fel­low skater Cameron Melville marked the be­gin­ning of the pair’s skate park busi­ness ven­ture.

Mr Ox­en­ham, a plumber by trade, and Mr Melville, a civil en­gi­neer, joined forces and were awarded the con­tract for the orig­i­nal Mar­garet River skate park in 1999.

“May 2000 was the com­ple­tion of our first project to­gether,” Mr Ox­en­ham said.

“That skate park was the birth of an in­dus­try in Aus­tralia, and it re­ally took off af­ter that.

“It meant we had to in­vent our own tools and parts be­cause noth­ing ex­isted.”

Mr Melville was killed in a mo­tor­bike ac­ci­dent in De­cem­ber, 2002, but his legacy has lived on in Con­vic’s projects. Mr Ox­en­ham said the busi­ness had grown in­ter- na­tion­ally. “About 20 years on, we now have more than 700 skate park projects and youth spa­ces world­wide with award-win­ning ar­chi­tects, land­sca­pers, and an office in Dubai,” he said.

“The Mar­garet River Youth Precinct has such a per­sonal im­por­tance to me, and I want to thank the Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River, ev­ery­one who was in­volved with the project, and mostly the en­tire Con­vic team.”

Pic­ture: Chloe Fraser

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