Teens call for skate park revamp

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Waiheke teenager Gareth Grace is on a mission to get Ostend skate park upgraded.
He says the existing skateboarding area at Tawaipareira Reserve is too small for the crowds of teenagers and younger children who use it and the equipment is so old it is “hazardous”.
“We’re trying to look for a better skate park that’s safer. You can injure yourself pretty easy there right now,” he says.
Gareth has started an online petition on www.change.org and so far more than 200 people have added their names to the call for improvements to the skate park.
With his mates, Flynn and Alec, Gareth made a presentation at Waiheke Local Board’s last meeting, asking for its help to upgrade the skate park, which is one of the few attractions for youth on the island.
Board members Shirin Brown, Beatle Treadwell and Becs Ballard agreed that changes at the park are badly needed.
Ms Treadwell noted that the half pipe and chipped concrete areas “need attention” while Ms Brown and Ms Ballard supported the need for more space and separate areas for young children and teenagers at the park.
“I take my four and five year olds there all the time and there is not enough room and it’s quite dangerous having little kids and skaters in the same area,” said Ms Ballard.
Auckland Council parks staff on the island are already planning to refurbish the skate park.
The park lies on the site of an old landfill and rubbish is creeping through, so it will be covered again in 2017 to 2018, said Ms Ballard.
“When that’s done, we will be able to renew the skate park,” she said. • Rose Davis

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