The Gympie Times - - FRONT PAGE - Scott Ko­vace­vic scott.ko­vace­vic@gympi­

YOUTH are the fu­ture, and Gympie is com­mit­ted to them with $2.8 mil­lion plans un­veiled for the first stage of the youth precinct to be built at the old Memo­rial Pool site.

Speak­ing be­fore Gympie Re­gional Coun­cil at this week’s work­shop, En­lo­cus project de­vel­oper Ja­son McNamee said the precinct was one of the three big­gest in Aus­tralia to be built over the next two years.

The first stage of the de­sign in­cludes the con­struc­tion of a rock climb­ing wall, a track for skat­ing and BMX rid­ing, a skate bowl, and restora­tion and re­fur­bish­ment of the his­tor­i­cal build­ing.

Mr McNamee stressed the de­sign was about find­ing new ways to en­cour­age youth to en­joy the space, and not about build­ing “a big kid’s play­ground”.

The rock climb­ing wall was one ex­am­ple.

“We need to move on from the idea we build a wall and stick some holes in it which kids climb on for five min­utes,” he said.

“Boul­der­ing is one of the fastest grow­ing sports in that de­mo­graphic.”

While the pump track might also sound sim­ple, Mr McNamee said the sim­ple ac­tion of rolling along with no aim was a hit with youth.

“Kids can do it for hours and just ex­haust them­selves,” he said.

It was also im­por­tant old ideas about dif­fer­ent in­ter­est groups be­ing op­posed to shar­ing a space be left in the past where they be­long.

“It’s im­por­tant we’re break­ing down this no­tion ‘there’s skate­board­ers and there’s scooter, and they hate each other’,” Mr McNamee said.

He praised the coun­cil for be­ing com­mit­ted to the project, not only through their own level of fund­ing ($1.4 mil­lion) but by also se­cur­ing State Gov­ern­ment sup­port ($1.4 mil­lion).

Mayor Mick Cur­ran said re­tain­ing the orig­i­nal build­ing was a key part of the plan, and had been cham­pi­oned by the pub­lic dur­ing the feed­back process.

“There was very much an em­pha­sis on re­tain­ing the old Memo­rial Pool struc­ture,” Cr Cur­ran said.

“Whilst we won’t keep the pool, it’s still sig­nif­i­cant in the his­tory of Gympie.

“We’ll trans­form that into some­thing very func­tional and it will fit well into the precinct.”

The fi­nal de­sign draft of the Youth Precinct and Re­gional Play Space De­sign will be on dis­play un­til Oc­to­ber 13.

The full re­port can be viewed at the the town hall and the li­brary, and on­line.

Stage one will be com­pleted by April 1, 2019, with four more stages ear­marked for fu­ture con­sid­er­a­tion.

Kids can do it (skat­ing) for hours and just ex­haust them­selves.

— Ja­son McNamee

Fol­low­ing a ques­tion by Coun­cil­lor Hi­lary Smer­don on the to­tal cost of the five stages, coun­cil­lors were told there was not yet a grand to­tal for de­liv­er­ing the en­tire plan.

Cr Cur­ran said there was al­ways a chance stage one might be the only part con­structed.

“The fis­cally re­spon­si­ble way to go is to stage the first part as the needs in­crease and as our bud­gets al­low we’ll de­liver the rest of the stages,” Cr Cur­ran said.

Cr Dan Ste­wart was thank­ful for the ex­tra fund­ing, and said it con­tra­dicted Gympie MP Tony Per­rett’s claims “this State Gov­ern­ment gives us no money”.

THE FU­TURE: The pro­posed lay­out of the youth space and (be­low, left) artist sketches of the precinct.


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