Mixed views on skate park
IT has won a huge thumbs up from the town’s youth but the Nambucca Heads skate park is proving far from a hit with its immediate neighbours.
Just a year after it was opened, the park has been described by the Meadow Crescent residents that overlook it as a haven of bad behaviour.
They expressed their ongoing concerns at last week’s meeting of the Nambucca Shire Council in response to a council-conducted audit which they claim painted a picture which is far rosier than reality.
Long term resident Jim Teasel said the lack of adult supervision at the park had forced some neighbours to capture the antics of unruly youth on film and video as proof of the behaviour.
“I’ve tried to reason with the kids that go to the skate park about bad language and using the bushes as a toilet but I’ve been abused,” Mr Teasel said.
“It wasn’t my retirement plan to be involved in the surveillance of a skate park but the problems there are real.”
Mr Teasel said he was confused and disappointed with the audit report summary which did not allude to anything but minor issues attached to the park.
“Why weren’t the residents involved in the review when people I know that aren’t at the park after hours or on weekends were?” he asked.
Mark Novicky said the audit was little more than a band-aid that allowed council to pass the buck.
“The park is poorly cared for and poorly supervised,” Mr Novicky said.
“Council had other options at the time but now must admit it made the wrong decision to put the skate park opposite a quiet residential area,” he said.
Defence of the park and its users came via local skater Daniel Duong who said it was proving a big hit with local kids.
“On weekends and after school it is often full,” Mr Duong said.
“It is a great place for kids to gather and develop their skating skills and to meet and interact with youth workers,” he said.
“I know nothing about drinking, drug use or vandalism down there and believe the troublemakers are not skaters.”
That opinion was reiterated yesterday by all five skaters at the park.
“This is the best thing that’s happened for young people in this town,” Jack Grant said.
“There are no lights so we can’t use the park when it gets dark and in all the time I’ve been coming here, I’ve never heard from any upset residents,” he said.
On Thursday night Councillor Brian Finlayson doubted that a council recommendation to install a rubbish bin and replace existing signage about acceptable behaviour with larger and more effective signs would prove effective.
“I do not believe the problems are being caused by legitimate skaters and this recommendation will do nothing to help the residents,” he said.
In moving a motion for council rangers to bring forward a report on attendances and discipline issues at the park, Cr Mike Moran lamented its impact on the neighbourhood.
“From the word go, council turned a blind eye to this issue and left residents swinging in the wind,” Cr Moran said.
“Going on what we’ve heard, I’d have to say these people aren’t living in Nambucca Heads – they are living in hell.”