By Amanda Parkinson
Skaters and local council have united to push for a skate park in the $6 billion Barangaroo redevelopment, but local opposition has forced the proposal to be refused twice now amidst fears it would spark antisocial behaviour and noise complaints.
Locals fear their community will be ‘tagged’ with graffiti and become a local hangout for juvenile delinquents. However Rebecca McLoughlin, a resident of Waterloo and parent of a skater disagrees. “I see people in suits out at the skate park,” she said. “It’s a complete fallacy that it’s only ratbag kids on skateboards.”
In Sydney’s Eastern suburbs, Waverley Council has minimised graffiti at the beachside Bondi skate park by encouraging local artists to paint murals. This has also encouraged the skaters to take pride in and responsibility for their park.
The proposed site at Barangaroo is a wasteland but it is about to undergo an expensive facelift. Proposed for the site are three theatres, an Aboriginal art gallery, a commercial tower, residential apartments, numerous retailers, a passenger terminal, and now a skate park.
Local skaters sat down with developers from the Barangaroo Development Authority to plan a state-of- the-art skate park that would attract international and interstate tourism. Bill Vertucci, General Manager of SkaterHQ says Sydney has long needed a skate park near the CBD because of the poor design of those already in existence. “We completely support the Barangaroo skate park. It’s well designed, and meets the needs of today’s skaters,” he said.
Those who also agree with the proposal are City of Sydney’s local councillors: Irene Doutney, Phillip Black, Marcelle Hoff and Meredith Burgmann. Cr Doutney said: “With 56,000 skaters living within a 20km radius of the CBD, it’s obvious that there is plenty of interest in a CBD skate park.”
Councillors have also indicated Barangaroo would entice people to use public transport when heading into the city due to its urban location. Currently local council is working with the Barangaroo Development Authority and NSW Government to look at implementing the proposed skate park.
Featured image: Barangaroo, formerly known as The Hungry Mile. Photo by genericavatar/flickr