Present site of skatepark is only contender
THERE was standing room only at the meeting called by Mansfield Shire Council to disclose its view on the siting of the Youth Hub (skatepark) and seek feedback from participants.
Community services manager Louise Knol and Councillor Russell Bate led the presentation to more than 70 people - half of them youth, who crammed into the council chambers.
Cr Bate began the meeting by saying the WIN TV interview with Ms Knol was incorrect – ‘it was not true the skatepark would be removed’, he said.
This was despite the interview showing Ms Knol saying ‘we don’t want to think about not proceeding with this, but that could be on the table’.
The issue of where the skatepark should be sited has been considered at length over some years, with users saying the facility is not challenging and does not accommodate both beginners and experienced skaters.
Ms Knol said council had had numerous consultations with people from 2012 to 2014 and a working group was formed to progress the project.
Having regard for the 27 assessment criteria the working group developed, 11 sites were initially recommended; after site visits these were reduced to two – Botanic Park west and the present site at the Mansfield Recreation Reserve.
It is believed the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority maintained development (not defined) was not appropriate at the former site, which left the present site as the only contender.
Version 17 of the design for the upgraded site was then presented and discussed, with Cr Bate declaring more than once this is an interim step in managing the situation before proceeding to a final solution.
Occupying 1200 square metres, the site will extend from the current footprint, however, access to the southern side of the Sporting Complex (now used as a laneway) will be blocked, roller doors on the eastern end of the complex will be removed.
Consideration will also be given to building a high wall on the shared boundary with Mansfield Primary School.
Young Citizen of the Year, Shannon Stephens, made a short presentation in support of the present site, gleaned from discussions with Mansfield’s youth.
Among her key points were its proximity to the school and hospital, the value of the location for parents to drop off and pick up children, and its merit as a good family environment.
The public then posed questions to clarify details of the design and comments on its merit.
These dealt with the question of the common boundary with Mansfield Primary School, removing the danger of traffic to children, the favorability of the present site and its relative safety for users.
From further questions, it emerged the laneway will have bollards placed at its entrance, there were no plans to expand into the northern end carpark at the moment, and options for toilets were being considered.
It also appeared there would be no half pipe as part of this plan.
At the end of the meeting, Cr Bate said it seemed likely the meeting was close to consensus and the present plan would be put forward to council’s April meeting as an interim step in a larger plan.
The Mansfield Courier att empted t o contact Ms Knol to discuss questions about the skatepark budget, how spectators would be accommodated and the issue of emergency access, but at the time of going to print the contact was not confirmed.