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All decked out and no place to go

By ANN-MARIE MAY

IT'S been promised for years, but finally it seems Coffs Harbour could be getting a regional skatepark.

Yes, you have no doubt heard the same announcement many times over the past few years so what makes this time any different?

Well, if CHAOS (Coffs Harbour Association of Skateboarders) has anything to do with it, Coffs Coast skaters, BMXers and bladers will be enjoying their new park as soon as possible.

Leading the charge is CHAOS president, Chris Daisley, with his first step to gain community support ? a public meeting held last week ? a huge success.

"It was a packed house. Around 75 people turned up and there were only 50 seats, so it was literally standing room only," Mr Daisley said.

"The vibe was astounding. And what was so impressive was the mature attitude displayed by everyone who attended."

The difference between this push for a regional park and others is the combined front of not just skaters but BMXers, bladers and scooters, who will all benefit.

"I think we are on a winning formula with this combined effort. The more numbers we have in support, the more chance we will have of it actually happening," Mr Daisley said.

So what has been holding up the park? Like most things, money appears to be the biggest obstacle.

The regional skatepark is estimated to cost around $250,000.

The $100,000 (plus $144 interest) allocated by the Coffs Harbour City Council is still sitting there waiting to be used and the area under discussion is still The Jetty.

A council spokesperson said the park had been included in the management plan and still had the support of the council.

The spokesperson said two applications for funding grants had been made to the State Government, but unfortunately both were rejected.

This means the allocated $100,000 has to be matched by funds sourced locally.

Getting the ball rolling on this is CHAOS which has turned to merchandising to increase the bank balance.

Currently CHAOS t-shirts are available by contacting Mr Daisley on 0411 612 090.

Mr Daisley has also announced that CHAOS is in the process of releasing a range of skateboard decks that will be made locally, with proceeds going to the regional skatepark fund.

"The push is on," Mr Daisley said.



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