15-year ba­tle for kids’ skatepark

15-year bat­tle for Plateau site rages on

The Northern Star - - FRONT PAGE - JAS­MINE BURKE Jas­mine.Burke@north­ern­star.com.au

YOUNG kids in Al­stonville said hav­ing an es­tab­lished skatepark would be “the sin­gle great­est thing”.

But mem­bers of Wol­long­bar Al­stonville Skate Park (WASP) say af­ter hav­ing “more than 30 sites knocked back on the Plateau over the last 15 years” they won­der if a skatepark will ever be built on the Al­stonville plateau.

Com­mu­nity mem­bers call­ing for a skatepark held a free ‘de­mount­able’ skate clinic on Satur­day to raise aware­ness “about this cy­cle (they) want to end,” WASP spokes­woman Bianca Urbina said.

“The chil­dren of Al­stonville and Wol­long­bar who have been wait­ing since 2012 when a re­port was first put to coun­cil with pos­si­ble sites,” she said.

“In the last three years of this very long story here on the plateau, we had a site ap­proved in 2016.

“It was ready to go but a group in the com­mu­nity op­posed it be­cause they la­belled skate­board­ers as delin­quents and de­viants.”

On Thurs­day Au­gust 23 this year, Bal­lina Shire Coun­cil re­fused the DA for the Wol­long­bar Sports Field site.

Ms Urbina said mean­while chil­dren and young peo­ple paid the price. “They have nowhere else to skate ex­cept the streets and carparks where they get abused by driv­ers,” she said.

“To make mat­ters worse this is seen as a nui­sance and a even a crim­i­nal is­sue with po­lice call­ing par­ents to col­lect their chil­dren.

Al­stonville res­i­dent James Coony said it was “frus­trat­ing” there wasn’t a skatepark for his son and other kids to en­joy.

“The kids are just try­ing to have some fun and skate­board and they get painted with the same brush as some of the youth crime that hap­pened over the last year.”

Bal­lina Mayor David Wright at­tended the event and said coun­cil re­solved to chase an­other lo­ca­tion when they re­fused the sport­ing field site.

“We are talk­ing with Wol­long­bar TAFE to get a lease so we can get a place on the site.”

Pho­tos: Jas­mine Burke

SKAT­ING DEMON­STRA­TION: Kids, their par­ents and other skate-lov­ing adults par­tic­i­pated in a skate ses­sion on Satur­day, at­tend­ing by Bal­lina mayor Cr David Wright.

Wol­long­bar Al­stonville Skate Park (WASP) mem­bers call­ing for a skate park on the Al­stonville Plateau.

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