Sup­port for skate park and skat­ing

Central Otago Mirror - - CLASSIFIEDS -

The driv­ing force be­hind ma­jor pro­posed ex­ten­sions for Wanaka’s skate park says money needs to be freed up to al­low the project to be­gin. That driv­ing force is not your typ­i­cal skater. Grey­haired, 50-year-old, mar­ket­ing man­ager, web­site en­tre­pre­neur, Wanaka Skate Park trustee and avid skater Eddie Spear­ing has plans drawn up for a four­part ex­pan­sion with a bud­get of $627,400. The ex­pan­sion would in­crease the park’s foot­print from 712 square me­tres to 1945sqm. The Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil has agreed to fund one third of the project, to the value of $146,000, un­der its parks and re­serves bud­get. The club has raised $20,500 on its own, and plans to ap­ply to var­i­ous community trusts to make up the short­fall. How­ever, rather than wait to have the to­tal $627,400 se­cured be­fore start­ing a build of all four stages si­mul­ta­ne­ously, the club wants to use the coun­cil fund­ing to com­plete stage one, then continue to ap­ply to the community trusts for fund­ing. ‘‘We have the QLDC fund­ing in place, and if it’s freed up we could have stage one built in time for next year’s Win­ter Games,’’ Mr Spear­ing said. ‘‘[That] would be a real bonus for the town and for the Win­ter Games, be­cause or­gan­is­ers want more off­piste ac­tiv­i­ties go­ing on. ‘‘We would then have an in­ter­na­tional-sized skate park and could run in­ter­na­tional skate com­pe­ti­tions off the back of the Win­ter Games. ‘‘As it stands. we can’t start any­thing un­til the full bud­get is ap­proved – which might take years.’’ The ex­pan­sion, even if grad­ual, would not only ben­e­fit the town’s Win­ter Games pro­file, Mr Spear­ing said. ‘‘The skate park is a real youth hub, and is by far the most used sports fa­cil­ity in Wanaka, with 14 to 16 hours use ev­ery day of the week.’’ Towns­peo­ple and ratepay­ers should not be put off by the some­times delin­quent-tinged im­age of skate­board­ers, he said. ‘‘There is no graf­fiti, al­co­hol or drugs here, and the park is built within plain view, al­most at the cen­tre of town. ‘‘Skat­ing is now an in­trin­sic part of youth cul­ture the world over,’’ he said. Wanaka Community Board mem­ber Ken Copeland sup­ported the skate park’s ex­pan­sion at a re­cent community board meet­ing, say­ing skat­ing helped to keep youth ‘‘off the streets’’. The coun­cil’s parks and re­serves man­ager Gor­don Bai­ley said the $146,000 in the Parks and Re­serves bud­get had been rolled over from the last fi­nan­cial year, and was so far only avail­able if the other two thirds of fund­ing was raised by the Skate Park Trust. If it was to be freed up for spend­ing be­fore the rest of the fund­ing was in place, the trust would have to make a pro­posal to do so, Mr Bai­ley said.


Grind: Amer­i­can trav­eller Todd Scher­lie does a rail slide at the Wanaka Skate Park. Plans for a four-part ex­pan­sion for the park are drawn up and skate park trus­tees want coun­cil money pledged to part-fund the ex­pan­sion freed up for im­me­di­ate use.

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