Skaters look at their lighting options

YOUTH are banding together to ensure their hope of lighting-up the local skate park becomes a reality.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has said lighting up the Town Beach skate park is not a priority.

But those in favour of the project are hoping a consolidated plan will change their minds.

“We are going to create a formal plan, written and signed-off to give a united front to council,” local youth advocate Luke Hadfield said. “This way council knows exactly what we would like to do, and where we are headed.”

State MP Leslie Williams said she encouraged Mr Hadfield to continue engaging with council.

“I think it’s quite admirable when young people get involved with the decision making process,” Mrs Williams said. “And I think it is very admirable to hear our local youth are looking at ways of fundraising and making a contribution.”

Mrs Williams said she would be happy to see what funding options were available, if council gave the project the thumbs- up.

“If council decided to say lights were beneficial to skaters and the wider community, then there would be lots of opportunities for them to apply for funding,” she said.

Mr Hadfield said advocates respected the views of community members against the idea.

But the group wanted to find a solution and hoped to meet with councillors, the crime prevention officer, police and other stake holders to share their ideas and findings.

“We understand there are a lot of people, who don’t want their rates going towards lights at the skate park,” Mr Hadfield said.

“This is about getting people on board and letting them know what this could mean for the community.”

He said skaters realised council were in a tough spot financially.

“The plan is to get funding through other sources, whether it be a combination of fundraising and outside government funding,” he said.”

“Therefore, it places no financial pressure on council, until it comes to things like upkeep, which is something we would try to investigate further.”

“We’re doing the groundwork and the research, and preparing a strong case so council won’t have any reason to say no,” he said. 

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council Mayor Peter Besseling said he welcomed youth engagement regarding the Town Beach Skate Park.

“Council is more than happy for the local skating fraternity to participate in this community engagement opportunity and put their ideas forward about lighting the skate park and other improvements that could enhance their enjoyment of the entire reserve area,” Mr Besseling said.

He said council could not make a commitment to the lighting of the skate park before considering the adjoining caravan park and before seeking input from NSW police. Anyone interested in the revitalisation of Town Beach Reserve can attend a community meeting on Saturday, December 8, between 10am and 2pm at Town Beach Reserve,” he said.

Anyone wanting to share their ideas on lighting at the skate park is invited to a meeting at Port Macquarie Youth Hub at 5pm tomorrow.

Full Statement from Mayor Peter Besseling:

 Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is more than happy to engage with the region’s youth on the issue of the Town Beach Skate Park.

 We invite anyone interested in the revitalisation of Town Beach Reserve to come along to a community meeting on Saturday 8 December between 10am and 2pm at Town Beach reserve to have their say about the future upgrade of this area. The draft Town Beach concept plan will be on exhibition from 7 December and the public is invited to review the document and make formal submissions.

 Council is more than happy for the local skating fraternity to participate in this community engagement opportunity and put their ideas forward about lighting the skate park and other improvements that could enhance their enjoyment of the entire reserve area. Council is not in a position to make a commitment to the lighting of the skate park as there are a number of considerations including the impact it may have on the adjoining caravan park and the input we would need to seek from NSW Police.

 The revitalisation of Port Macquarie’s Town Beach park area proposes to include permanent amenities, a kiosk, exercise equipment and other reserve enhancements.

 Funding for the proposed amenities will come from a $220,000 allocation in the existing 2012/2013 Operational Plan budget with the exercise equipment to be funded by a $45,000 grant from the Department of Health and Ageing, Healthy Communities Initiative. To meet the terms of this grant the equipment must be installed by 30 June 2013.

 The draft Town Beach concept plan will be on public exhibition from 7 December 2012 to January 25, 2013. Information is available on Council’s website. A report on the concept plan is due to be presented to the February 2013 Council meeting.

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