Port Kembla’s DIY skate park to be dismantled – Wollongong

An amateur DIY skate park placed in Port Kembla’s King George V Park late last year is to be removed.

Wollongong City Council staff this week met with community members who put the homemade equipment on site to explain why it needed to be taken off the basketball courts.

The equipment had been placed on the courts without Council approval, and Council has worked over the past few months to assess whether there was an option to let the equipment remain.

“I know Council will be framed as killjoys with this matter but I want to be clear – we did work hard to explore the option to keep the equipment,” Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.

“However, the assessments showed the homemade features like the ramps did not meet the Australian Standards and carried too much risk to users and were also placed in on a surface that also increased risk to users. There were also a range of concerns raised by community members about the location and the range of improvised facilities. The combination of these factors meant that there really is no option but to remove the equipment.”

Last year Council adopted the King George V Master Plan which looked at options in the park’s northwest portion. It included an upgraded hard-court facility, covered shelter, seating, and tree plantings. The Master Plan also included a future local skate facility to go next to the hardcourts, the plans for which will be worked through with the community at a later date.

“Council has said we support the construction of skate infrastructure in this community space – it just needs to be done the right way, and using the equipment that meets industry standards,” Cr Bradbery said.

“We know this community is passionate about skating – we have a similarly passionate community in our northern suburbs.

“In response to this, and acknowledging that the skate infrastructure for Port Kembla is yet to be included in our Delivery Program, we will investigate the possibility of options such as a “pop-up” skate facility for the city.

“The idea behind something like a “pop-up” would be that this equipment could potentially be cycled between areas that are keen for skate facilities and provide a temporary solution as we work through our long-term plans for exciting new facilities to join those we already have in Dapto, Unanderra, Berkeley, Fairy Meadow and Helensburgh.”

Council’s current draft program for skate parks lists Wollongong City Centre Skate Park for site selection in the 2021/22 financial year and design and construction in the 2023/2024 and 2024/2025 financial years. A park for the northern suburbs is listed for site selection in 2022/2023 and design and construction in 2023/2024.

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