Rangiora skate park design too phallic for some
Skaters say an upcoming addition to a North Canterbury skate park bears a striking resemblance to male genitalia, which is symbolic of the "cock-up" that was the design process.
An extension to Rangiora skate park has been in development since 2013. Local skaters and the wider community were consulted.
The final design, approved for construction last week, has a notable feature: A bowl resembling a male sex organ.
There were simmering tensions throughout the design process, in which some local skaters complained about being "dictated" too and their ideas ignored.
It is the third design, after skaters rejected two previous iterations because they said they were unsuitable.
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"To roll with the pun, it's [been] a bit of a cock-up," said local skater Mark Pijnenburg, who designed the original skate park nearly 20 years ago.
"It's an environment where young people congregate. It could become a mockery of the process if everyone's referring to the park... as that one down the road with the penis shaped bowl."
Some locals had already taken to calling it "the dick bowl," he said.
A sign at the park showing the new design has been defaced to highlight the shape.
Several public submissions on the final design questioned the bowl's phallic appearance.
One asked for the design to be changed because it "looks like a giant doodle". Another asked if the Waimakariri District Council realised it looked like a penis.
In response to both comments, the council said: "This observation will not be evident once constructed."
Pijnenburg has led the local skaters in consultation on the designs. He frequently locked horns with the designer, Dave North of Nelson Creek Skateboards.
He said North, as an outsider, did not know how locals used the existing park and was not open to their ideas.
"Skateboarders traditionally are free-thinking and would like to be involved in some of the things that they are meant to be using.
"We've only been able to give feedback on what we see, which becomes very frustrating."
He did not believe the phallic design was intentional.
North, whose West Coast-based company has built many skate parks around the South Island, said designing the Rangiora extension had been "a bit of a battle".
"This is, frankly, the worst skate park design I've had to do.
"We've basically done everything we can, I believe, as the designer, to make it functional and worthwhile and incorporates elements the community want."
The final design reflected a "toned down" version of his original plan, which he preferred.
He said the bowl's phallic shape would not be evident once constructed.
"It's not the first penis-shaped bowl... it's symmetrical and functional, and you can't tell it looks like a penis unless you're looking at it from space."
Council community and recreation manager Craig Sargison said the council was confident in North's capabilities. It had to take into account all users' views.
"That's one of the reasons we've engaged [Nelson Creek]. They're a very experienced skate park designer, have built a lot of skate parks around the South Island and the most recent one is at Kaiapoi, which has been hugely successful."
He said Pijnenburg's point of view should be taken into consideration, but he was one of many different parties that would use the park.
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