Skate park up­set

Yackan­dan­dah group wants planned park moved

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - BY CO­RAL COOKSLEY

IN­DIGO mayor Jenny O’Con­nor will meet with the Yackan­dan­dah com­mu­nity later this month to en­able peo­ple to see de­signs and put views about what has be­come a con­tentious plan to re­de­velop the town’s skate park.

Res­i­dents con­cerned about a $255,000 project to re­fur­bish the ex­ist­ing skate park in Stone Bridge Park con­vened their own meet­ing in Yackan­dan­dah’s former court­house ear­lier last month.

The gath­er­ing, hosted by Kevin Poyner, Tanya House, Paul Tit­ter­ing­ton, David Nor­man, Su­san Reynolds and David Larkin, at­tracted al­most 100 peo­ple.

Mr Poyner did not think the com­mu­nity had been widely can­vassed about the pro­posed re­de­vel­op­ment of the skate park by In­digo Shire Coun­cil, al­though some res­i­dents and young users of the park had been in­volved ear­lier in the process.

“Coun­cil­lors were in­vited to hear what this meet­ing had to say,” Mr Poyner said – but Cr O’Con­nor had been un­able to at­tend be­cause of another en­gage­ment.

The coun­cil is propos­ing to use a Vic­to­rian govern­ment grant of $100,000 and rate- pay­ers’ funds of $155,000 to meet the costs of the re­de­vel­op­ment.

But there is con­cern that Stone Bridge Park – with its view of the sin­gle arch bridge span­ning Com­mis­sioner’s Creek – should re­main avail­able as civic space.

Mr Poyner said the group which con­vened last month’s meet­ing was not op­posed to the skate park, but pre­ferred that it be sited in Isaacs Park.

“In­fra­struc­ture al­ready ex­ists in Isaacs Park, with ameni­ties such as shel­ters and toi­lets that are not avail­able at (Stone Bridge Park),” Mr Poyner said.

Some res­i­dents were also con­cerned about the re­de­vel­op­ment at what is a place sig­nif­i­cant for its colo­nial-era gold rush her­itage.

“With a shift of the skate park we can im­prove and beau­tify a ne­glected area (in Stone Bridge Park) that has a lovely am­bi­ence for the ben­e­fit of the com­mu­nity and tourists,” Mr Poyner said.

In­digo Yackan­dan­dah coun­cil­lor James Tren­ery, who had been in­volved in scop­ing the skate park re­de­vel­op­ment, spoke about the con­sul­ta­tion process to date.

“We’ve come to a point where it can be done, and now al­ter­na­tives have been pro­posed,” he told the court­house meet­ing.

He said it was good to come to­gether to dis­cuss con­cerns.

But he said a pro­posal to move the skate park would add to the project’s cost and de­lay it.

Baran­duda’s Nick Hazeleger, who worked in Yackan­dan­dah and ad­vo­cated for skate­board rid­ers at the meet­ing, said he was sur­prised that fur­ther lines of en­quiry were be­ing ex­plored af­ter a con­sul­ta­tion process which started three years ago.

“A lot of work has been put into the project,” he said.

Mr Hazeleger said the com­mu­nity’s chil­dren re­mained im­por­tant par­tic­i­pants in any de­ci­sion­mak­ing process. “It’s a shame that the devel­op­ment could be held up due to th­ese new lines of en­quiry at such a late stage,” he said.

A show of hands at the court­house meet­ing in­di­cated that more than half of those present sup­ported re­lo­ca­tion and that an ap­proach should be made to the coun­cil to work on the mat­ter.

Coun­cil­lors Barb Mur­doch and Dianne Shep­heard at­tended the meet­ing.

PHOTO: Co­ral Cooksley

CON­CERNED: Yackan­dan­dah’s John Bradly (left) and Kevin Poyner with some of the town’s skate­board rid­ers Travis Olden, Etham Gray, Niam El­liott, Bobby Jones-Davies, Caleb El­liott and Reg­gie Pen­der­gast at last month’s meet­ing about the town’s skate­board park lo­ca­tion.

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