PORT Macquarie-Hastings Council has taken a novel approach to assessing tenders for a new skate park at Wauchope, with three community members joining the review panel.
Community representatives Rob Hamilton, Natasha Costigan and Michelle Willingham had the opportunity to evaluate designs late last month, ensuring the end-result is a skate park locals regularly use and can be proud of.
Mr Hamilton said he was “extremely impressed with the response from tenderers and the options they provided within the set budget”.
“It was great to see some practical creativity for a park that will suit the community’s needs, has lots of variety and fits the location nicely,” he said. “The designs are also expandable to cater to future stages.”
Mr Hamilton said he hoped the new skate park would “keep skaters in Wauchope, provide a family-friendly area and encourage more young people to use the skate park”.
Real estate agent and mother-of-two young skaters Natasha Costigan agreed the skate park would not only be an asset for the town’s youth, but also potentially attract out-of-town skaters, their family and friends to spend time in Wauchope.
“I was really pleased that council invited Skate Wauchope representatives to be involved in the decision-making process,” she said. “It’s been a slow, but positive, process and we really appreciated the opportunity to vote on our preferred designs.”
Council has taken a collaborative approach to the project, with several workshops focussed on ideas for the concept designs conducted in early 2014.
Stage one is expected to cater to beginner and intermediate skaters and will include landscaping, a new footpath and seating. Council Community and Economic Growth director Tricia Bulic said the next step in constructing stage one was engaging a design and construction company later this month.
“We will then clarify the concept design with Skate Wauchope and give the community the opportunity to inspect the design during June,” she said.
“Work is then expected to start in August and by the end of September it should be ready for local children to enjoy.”
Mrs Bulic said having community representatives involved at the tender review stage was “very worthwhile, because it helps us keep our finger on the pulse and ensures we deliver a skate park the community will embrace.”
Council was unsuccessful in gaining a grant through the Community Building Partnerships program, which means future stages can only be built when funding becomes available.
“If local companies are willing to assist with materials, machinery or manpower, I’m sure the community group Skate Wauchope (email@example.com) would love to hear from you,” Mrs Bulic said.
The new skate park will be located at Landrigan Park, next to the indoor stadium, as discussed at a community forum and confirmed at a council meeting