Kaipara District Council has recognised Mangawhai’s need for more youth facilities by allocating $20,000 towards a new skatepark in response to a large number of submissions to its Annual Plan.
The $20,000, which comes from Reserves Contribution funds, will be used to develop concept plans through a project group which has yet to be set up. They will finalise details of design, location and costs and bring them back to Council.
Mangawhai’s community has spent more than 12 months considering a skatepark and say there is a growing need for facilities catering for young people, especially those aged over 12. Submissions to the Annual Plan included a petition with almost 500 signatures supporting a skatepark at Mangawhai.
“The ever increasing youth population, resident and non-resident, desperately need an area to call their own. Currently skateboarders use the school or the shops but neither area is suitable,” one submitter said.
Mayor Neil Tiller is impressed by the case put forward by the Mangawhai community, saying, “I am committed to this project. They want it to happen and we must make sure it does.”
However, he says the community must take ownership of the skatepark proposal and will need to find a site and set up an entity which can further develop this idea.
Council’s Community Spaces Manager Stephen Soole says location will be one of the major issues to be decided, with six possible sites being suggested. These include Mangawhai Park, Wood Street shopping centre, Sellars land, Mangawhai Domain and two at Mangawhai Heads.
“The location needs to be open, visible and close to facilities like toilets, shops etc,” he said.
Mr Soole estimates that a skatepark is likely to cost anywhere from $140,000 upwards to build and, while funding has still to be decided, there are many avenues available for this type of project.
Bridget and Dave Smith, who are members of a “surf and skate” group and who co-ordinated a petition which collected almost 500 signatures in 14 days, are “absolutely rapt” at the Council’s support. They say the community will now move the project ahead as rapidly as possible.
A similar $20,000 has been set aside to progress plans for a skatepark in Dargaville.