A COMMUNITY campaign has been launched to expand Numurkah’s skate park.
Numurkah man Josh McKenzie, who regularly attends the park with his two young children, put out a call for support for the idea on the Numurkah Facebook page last week, which immediately attracted a strong - and supportive - response.
Mr McKenzie told the Leader that while the current skate park is good, it’s popularity with skateboarders, BMX bike riders and scooter riders of all ages makes it hazardous for younger kids.
“Between 3.30pm and 6pm is peak time and it gets very crowded,” he said.
“Ideally, you’d add a section where the younger kids could practise their skills so they can develop to a level where they can use the bigger ramps safely without being in anybody’s way and being in danger.
“Strathy has some three to four foot ramps which are ideal for the smaller kids.”
Twelve year-old Oakley Austin, another skate park regular, agreed.
“On a nice day there are heaps of people here and you can hardly skate,” he said.
With skate boarding making its debut as an Olympic sport at the 2020 Tokyo games, it’s popularity is undeniable.
Mr McKenzie points out that the skate park is a valuable community resource, used by a range of demographics.
“It’s an outlet for a lot of kids of all ages who don’t play team sports, as well as older BMX riders who come along after the kids have gone home for the evening,” he said.
“It’s great exercise for kids, they get a chance to practise and challenge themselves to develop new skills and they’re out in the fresh air.”
Mr McKenzie said, despite concerns from some parents of younger kids about possible bullying by older users, the skate park regulars are a pretty good bunch.
“They can get a bit boisterous when it’s busy because it is crowded and hard to navigate, but that’s one of the reasons we need an extension.
“Learning etiquette and navigating those kind of social situations is part of life and this is part of them learning that.
“This is a good spot for them to be because it is a community space and they are part of the community. There is also space here for it to be extended and there is parking as well.”
The Numurkah skate park was constructed in 2008 at a cost of $125,000 - which did not include design, and was paid for by funding from Moira Shire, a business donation and community fundraising. No government grants, either state or federal, were received.
Strathmerton skate park was constructed in 2009 at a cost of $135,000, not including design, and was paid for with funding from Moira Shire, the Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development, a Federal Government grant, a business donation and community fundraising.
Mr McKenzie has been in touch with a member of Moira Shire’s youth team to discuss the process of working with council on an extension of the skate park, and has started a closed Facebook group for those interested in being part of a community action.