Users ask to help plan skatepark

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 08:49 09/06/2014

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Funding for an update of Blenheim's skatepark is in the Marlborough District Council's budget for this financial year.

About six people spoke to last week's hearings on the council's draft annual plan, supporting the council's proposal to spend $60,000 on an upgrade of the skatepark and asking to have involvement in what the design would look like.

Councillors were receptive, with Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman saying the upgrade was going to happen. Funding was already allocated in the council's budget for the next financial year, starting in July.

Youth Council members Rosie Argyll, Jonathan Cash, and Tamsin Woolf said the youth council supported the skatepark upgrade.

Rosie said youth in Marlborough saw the upgrade as overdue and a high priority. It provided a safe place to skate and scooter, rather than other "less appropriate" places. "It's good for youth who want to have a healthy and active lifestyle."

Chris Watson, an electrician and keen skater, said the skatepark upgrade would be a good way for the council to show support for youth.

He did a lot with youth at the park, and they were keen to have input into the design, so that the best equipment was available and it was "done right" the way users wanted.

The culture in the skatepark was a lot better, Watson said, with young people working together and encouraging each other. Families were using it, too. "It's positive to see people co-existing, and learning to work together."

Stefan McBride told the council that BMX bike riders such as him found the skatepark a positive place.

There were younger and older users, all getting along, he said.

"I think it's money well-spent."

The skatepark provided a place for young people who might not get on well with their peers and team sports to find something they were good at and could build bonds with other young people, McBride said.

He didn't like the proposed design much, and hoped that users could have input to improve it.

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- The Marlborough Express

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