Young people in Dargaville are $20,000 closer to having a new permanent skatepark after impressing Kaipara District Council with their commitment and ideas.
Almost half of the record 917 submissions to the 2008/09 Annual Plan were seeking support for skateparks in Dargaville and Mangawhai. As a result Council has allocated seeding funding of $20,000 to each area to establish project groups to work through issues, locations and designs. The money comes from Reserves Contribution funds established from levies on development projects and which must be spent on Council reserves.
In Dargaville, youth leadership group Te Karanga O Kaipara is spearheading the drive for a skatepark and in a comprehensive presentation members told Council they had been approached by many young people wanting a safe outdoor recreational facility. “We feel this skatepark will be an excellent investment for our young people and many generations to come.”
Their submission said interest in skating is growing but that the existing bowl, built about 20 years ago, is badly designed, inadequate and potentially dangerous. As a result people were skating on streets and school grounds, causing annoyance.
Te Karanga o Kaipara said the new skatepark would be “owned by the community but driven by the youth.” They believe that when youth see their views being taken seriously they will feel more a part of the community, resulting in positive attitude changes.
The Council’s $20,000 is earmarked for the establishment of a project group, representative of the community and including Council personnel, and to investigate location and design issues and bring these back to Council for approval. This would then enable the group to seek external funding for the project.
Community Spaces Manager Stephen Soole says one of the major issues to be worked through will be the location. “Te Karanga o Kaipara suggested a site in Logan Street as the closest adequate one to the business area but all potential sites, like Memorial Park and Selwyn Park will need to be looked at.”
Mayor Neil Tiller has acknowledged the strong local support for the project and congratulated submitters on their enthusiasm and professional approach to Council.
“It’s still got a way to go but I am committed to working with this group to support their cause,” he said. “Skateboarding is one of the cheapest sports families can get involved with.”
He hopes it will be possible to obtain outside funding to build the skatepark.
Te Karanga o Kaipara spokesperson Louisa Spraggon is delighted that young people are able to have their views heard and acknowledged by Council.
“We can’t wait to get the ball rolling,” she said.