Skateboarders trashing shared area

Shared space not for skaters

MATT RILKOFF
Last updated 05:00 06/12/2012
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Should skateboarders be banned from the Brougham St redevelopment?

Yes, they're already damaging the area

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kane Smith
SICK AS: New Plymouth’s Kane Smith demonstrates the type of skateboarding blamed for damaging the new seats at the city’s $1 million Brougham St redevelopment.

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Skateboarders are copping the blame for damage caused to New Plymouth's brand new $1 million shared space development on Brougham St.

Since opening last week they have been flocking to the area to "grind" and "boardslide" on its concrete and wooden seats.

But cool as they may look and feel, the skating tricks are damaging the street furniture and New Plymouth District Council has warned it will take a hard line with destructive boarders.

"We'll confiscate skateboards if talking to skateboarders doesn't work or if there is repeat offending," enforcement manager Lloyd Crow said.

Wendy Moody, of Brougham Barbers and Gifts, said the development had immediately brought more people into the area during the day but in the evenings the skateboarders ruled the roost.

"It's diabolical. You can see the damage they are doing. It's just a big old skate park. With all the concrete they are just in their element," she said.

Damage to the seats is not glaringly obvious but close inspection shows chips have been taken out of the concrete blocks and there are marks consistent with boardsliding, where a skater slides the underside of their board along an object.

But New Plymouth skateboarding advocate Boltme, who changed his name via deed poll as a teenager, said much of the damage attributed to skateboarders was caused by others.

"They've got similar seats on the coastal walkway as they do in Brougham St and the damage caused there is largely from the weather.

"People just imagine the damage is caused by skateboarders. If I had my way the whole city would be open to skateboarders," he said yesterday.

Last month the 33-year-old unsuccessfully lobbied the council to review a 2008 skateboard bylaw in New Plymouth which bans skateboarding and other small-wheeled transportation such as roller blades and roller skates from the central business district.

Those caught getting about with small-wheels under foot risk having their transport seized, as police have done on 19 occasions in the last four years.

Skateboarders, rollerskaters and rollerbladers are allowed on the coastal walkway and there are skate parks in New Plymouth at East End Reserve and Marfell Park. Waitara also has a pair while Inglewood, Bell Block and Oakura have one each.

Confiscated skating equipment is returned on payment of $52.50. That fee doubles for the second and any subsequent seizures to $95.

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KNOW YOUR SKATEBOARDING TERMS

Trucks: The front and rear axle assemblies that connect the wheels to the deck.

Grind: Scraping one or both trucks on a curb, railing, or other surface.

Boardslide: Sliding the underside of the skateboard deck along an object.

Ollie: A jump by popping the tail of the board on the ground, and using the front foot to even out and attain air. The basis of most skating tricks.

Air: Riding with all four wheels in the air.

Sick: The same as "cool" as in "sick grind".

Bail: To fall off a skateboard, or to jump off just before falling.

- Taranaki Daily News

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