Ballina’s $250,000 skate park.
Ballina’s $250,000 skate park. Peter taylor

Go online for a skate park

A COMMUNITY campaign is aiming to get the wheels in motion on a long talked about regional skate park here in Coffs Harbour.

A large following of BMX, skateboard and scooter riders plan to make their voices heard, entering online submissions to Coffs Harbour Council’s Draft Open Space Strategy.

Local group Coffs Harbour Extreme Riders Incorporated (CHERI) is calling on supporters to push for the facility to be built at the northern end of the Jetty foreshores.

“It is so badly needed,” freestyle BMX rider Shane Conlon said. “The small parks at Toormina and in Bray Street are so crowded that kids are forced to travel to Woolgoolga and the new parks at Nambucca and Corindi.”

A sponsored semi-professional, who travels the world for competition, Shane makes do with the local facilities but fears further inaction will rule out opportunities for the next generation of Coffs youth.

“The perception that kids who hang around skate parks are riff raff just isn’t right; they are actually doing a legitimate sport and with the right facilities they can get good enough to make a living out of it,” he said.

Coffs Harbour City Council set aside $100,000 for the skate park three years ago, awaiting government funding.

After several years of uncertainty, the council has now put it to the community to express a need for the regional park through its draft strategy at www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au.

Public submissions can be made on the strategy until May 7.

Alternative options, like extensions and upgrades to existing Coffs Harbour skate facilities, have also been put forward.

The riders’ group has made comparisons to facilities at Ballina and Grafton as a guide to what is needed here, while council has also suggested upgrades to existing local skate parks.

Grafton’s skate park has been developed in several stages and there’s been nothing but praise for Ballina’s $250,000 redeveloped skate park, which opened in 2008.

It is estimated that up to 150 youths in Coffs Harbour area frequent the existing skate parks at the Coffs PCYC and Toormina.

The council will review all the public submissions received before forming its policy on the future of open spaces in the city.



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