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Council agree: ‘Heaven is a halfpipe’

A major skatepark upgrade will go ahead as council “walks the walk”. PHOTO/FILE

ARTHUR HAWKES
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Masterton’s skatepark upgrade was unanimously approved by Masterton District Council on Wednesday.

Cr Gary Caffell swiftly moved the recommendation as a motion for councillors to vote on, which was seconded by Cr Bex Johnson.

“I believe that this is a wonderful opportunity for us to do something for the youth of our town,” Caffell said.

“The majority of those who use the skatepark are young, but they’ve got a hell of a good community, they’re a very close community, and I’ve spoken to them personally on a number of occasions.
“I was really taken with the drive these people had.

“I believe that if you bring the skatepark up to a national standard, you’re going to have it as a real attraction in town.

“In the time of covid, we’re needing something as a community to look at and be proud of.

“This is something that we can really get behind, without spending the sort of money we’re talking about for a town hall.”

Johnson said that Queen Elizabeth Park “will help support domestic tourism … and it’s time we did something for our youth; [the skatepark is] well utilised now and will increase in usage.”

Also in support was Cr Tina Nixon, who queried job growth and training opportunities with regard to the skatepark’s construction, citing the importance of “a sense of ownership over it”.

Nixon said that MDC was “going to probably end up saddling future generations with costs” around things like the civic centre.

“So at least we’re going to be able to give them something, for this generation.”

Cr Brent Gare called it “money well spent”.

Deputy Mayor Graham McClymont cited cheap, clean fun as an essential amenity for potentially unemployed youth.

“I’m really fearful there’s going to be a protracted period of youth unemployment,” McClymont said. “So anything like this, that people can access very cheaply, is going to be a great social spend.”

Cr Tim Nelson said the motion showed that council was “walking the walk”.

“They’re doing something for the people who choose not to have a voice, or don’t have a voice because of their age.

“Sports like this have become a real pathway [to the Olympics], and this is a sport that’s accessible to all sectors of our community, and inexpensive to get involved in.”

The motion to revamp the skatepark discussed in the 2020/21 Annual Plan Consultation passed with full council support.

The project will cost $1.35 million, with $300,000 coming from reserves and the rest from loan funding. Council expects “at least 50 per cent” to come from grant funding.

1 COMMENT

  1. There have been a number of councils all throughout New Zealand that have been fleeced of investment money earmarked for skatepark upgrades and builds. There are several in the Taranaki region built by a local contractor that even the local children will not use, let alone anyone who loves to skate. There is also the Waiuku skatepark where the contractor spent a lot of money on his private skatepark build, and very little was spent on the public build. I have a recommendation of a contractor who knows what he is doing, and has the sport in his best interests. A great Kiwi who is about community before his personal profit margin. This note is to make an attempt at ensuring value is installed at the Masterton skatepark. I was involved in the last round of upgrades to the skatepark, and the value for money the Wairarapa got from that upgrade has been nothing short of phenomenal. 20 years have now passed since then and everytime I come home I find it well looked after and utilized. People I have lost contact with are usually found down there enjoying a roll on a regular basis. So when I am here it’s a very social place with great vibes that the Wairarapa can be proud of. I just hope that the contractor does not get fleeced. If anyone in MDC would like some advice from someone who knows and has the best interests of the sport and community at heart, please contact me.

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