Freo's View

FREO’S CONTROVERSIAL SKATE PARK PLANS

Posted in fremantle by freoview on October 26, 2012

The debate about the proposed Esplanade skate park in Fremantle council on Wednesday and in the wider community is an interesting one as it has got many aspects to consider.

There are people like FICRA passionate about keeping the mound while others like Councillor Andrew Sullivan argue that the mound does not have to stay in the exact location and could be replicated and incorporated in the skate park, or Youth Plaza as Andrew prefers to call it. I agree with him that if we can get a better design by removing the mound from its present location we should do so, as long as we create a mound, or multiple mounds, within the park. Skate ramps need dips and height so I see no reason why they can’t become mounds as well.

Then there is former councillor John Dowson‘s argument that a skate park has no place on a A Class Reserve and that we should protect the few grassed areas we have in the inner city and not build concrete skate ramps on them. John believes the adjacent car park near the Italian Club is a better spot and it is hard to argue against wanting to keep the grassed areas in the city, especially with so many Greens on council. Maybe they shouldn’t promote roof and wall gardens when they want to diminish the grassed ground level areas of the city.

I previously mentioned that a skate park might impact on future festivals on the Esplanade as it will take a decent chunk of 250 square metres off it. That also needs to be considered carefully.

Young people need to be catered for better in Fremantle. They need to be able to do the things they enjoy without being pushed to remote parks on the edges of the city. Youth is as much party to our community as the elderly and as a community we have a responsibility to accommodate everyone. I believe that we can come up with a perfect solution after respectful debate and community consultation, so let’s give it a go.

Roel Loopers

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9 Responses

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  1. Colin Nichol said, on October 26, 2012 at 11:00 am

    A skate park brings with it considerations about security (day and night), lighting, waste management, cleaning (especially broken glass), noise, supervision, graffiti, even if only a small undesirable element and of behaviour problems, repairs and maintenance, public liability etc. Will users have to wear helmets and will it be secured at night?

  2. Andrew Sullivan said, on October 27, 2012 at 11:57 am

    The decision by Council to exclude the mound area will see the youth plaza being placed smack-bang in the centre of the largest area of open space in the Esplanade Park. This is the area where large rallies and events occur and where casual games of football and other more active recreation has a field large enough to be played on.

    The area will necessarily have to be raised because you can’t dig the skate bowls into the ground due to the high water table which will only get worse with sea level rise. In a way we will end up with mounds in the centre of what is currently an oval-like space.

    We have lost the opportunity to use the youth plaza project to create mounds and terraces that partly wrap around that oval. We have forced a design solution that will be the opposite of an amphitheatre, one that can only ruin rather than define that space.

    Edges of space are where most people want to be whether its the waters edge, tucked into the edge of the sand dune, on an outcrop overlooking a salt pan, around the edge of a town square, on the flight of steps between a grand hall and a plaza, on any retaining wall that is the edge between one space and another or simply in the shade of the trees around an oval – and its why people gravitate to the mound as well. These are human traits well known to anyone who works in the design field.

    I wanted the youth plaza designers to be given the whole canvass to work with, right up to the edges, rather than force them to work only in some arbitrary left over space in the middle of the canvass. I wanted the professionals to have the chance to work with the quirky spirit of the mound and to incorporate its magic into a new more substantial integrated park environment.

    Sadly, my colleagues on Council gave me two unacceptable choices, either vote against the creation of a youth plaza that I have been pushing for years or vote for a scenario where we lose any realistic chance of integrating all the active recreation needs of the park – all this just so the grassy mound in its current form and location can be monumentalised in perpetuity. In good consciousness I could not participate in a vote where I could see only dumb solutions on offer and so having said my peace I left the chamber for the first time in 9 years.

    Andrew Sullivan

    • freoview said, on October 28, 2012 at 6:31 am

      I agree with you Andrew. I think it is shortsighted from council to want to keep the mound in that specific location when we could have had better and more substantial mounds in different locations. I also believe taking part of the carpark would have been better to leave more of the Esplanade for activities that are already happening there. The decision to keep the mound is a very disappointing lack of seeing a bigger picture and I urge councillors to revisit this issue and revise their decision.

      Roel

  3. freoishome said, on October 28, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Leaving Skate Boarding to one side. I don’t see any reason to retain ‘The Mound’. It has never been a significant aspect of Esplanade Park. I lived at the western end of Suffolk St for a decade+, during that time and my observations since, has always been ‘what is it, does it have a purpose’? If not is it architectural or artistic, not just from my perspective but of visitors to the Park? Before the Council used its sprinklers to ward off would be drunks sleeping there, the latter was its main use!

    I’m not a fan of the Skate Boarding being located there, as I suspect skaters like to be ‘off the beaten track’. If I am proved wrong that would be great, as we need young people and their vibrancy in Freo.

    In one respect, I’m glad Andrew has been on the receiving end of the current Freo Council style of operation, ie, we don’t want conversation, or dialogue, their ‘we know best’ position. You are with us or against us, instead, lets talk about creating a vision, with alternatives and options. I am pleased Andrew now knows what it feels like to be painted as the enemy, when in reality, he is just someone with an opinion that is being ignored.

    Paul

    • freoview said, on October 28, 2012 at 10:13 am

      It is disappointing council has no big vision and retaining the mound is a good indication of that.

      Roel

  4. Sal said, on October 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    If they put the skateboard park on the park I will take it off again. That will learn them. It is a horrifying idea. And above was right. Skaters like a bit of privacy. Keeping the run opposite Clancy’s as part of the new development that might never happen would be good. Just shut it at night. It is something that has grown by itself and should be respected. I see the Esp Park becoming a mish mash very soon.

  5. Connor McMaster said, on April 2, 2013 at 5:32 am

    I am a biker, and I have been down to freo skatepark, currently it is nor skater friendly nor biker friendly, we like having parks in places we could also find other people we know, also, from my experience, not much goes on in skateparks, just riding and sitting down having conversation.

    • Nick Mitchell said, on June 17, 2013 at 10:06 pm

      I live in freo and i am a rider, currently I have to travel to subi to ride and it would be great if riders were included

      • Connor McMaster said, on June 22, 2013 at 1:22 am

        I currently stay in east freo and have not yet found a rideable park


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