Georges River Council makes new and improved skate parks a priority

Thousands flocked to the opening of new skate park in Oran Park last year. Picture: Simon Bennett (picture taken prior to current health orders)
Thousands flocked to the opening of new skate park in Oran Park last year. Picture: Simon Bennett (picture taken prior to current health orders)

Wheels are in motion for new and improved skate parks in the Georges River region.

Georges River Council has identified skate parks as a highly sought-after community asset.

The council will also consider the construction of new skate park facilities at Penshurst's Olds Park as a budget bid during the 2022/23 budget preparation process.

A council spokeswoman said the current skate park in Penshurst was constructed in the late 1970s and contained "dated facilities including a skate bowl with two small ramps".

"The evolution of skate park design has seen a significant shift from the previous perceptions of a counterculture, with councils now providing facilities to accommodate skateboard, BMX, scooters and inline skating, defined as active recreation facilities; as well as passive recreation facilities," she said.

"The provision of public skating facilities is anticipated to deliver health benefits for community members, particularly amongst younger residents, through the physical activity such infrastructure encourages without major financial barriers to participation."

Skateboarding has continued to grow in popularity across NSW, particularly following the sport's inclusion at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The council spokeswoman said the council receives a high number of requests for improved skate facilities from the community.

"The 'It's a Mood Festival' included a pop-up, modern skate park at Olds Park," she said.

"Of the attendees to the pop-up skate park that were surveyed, 71 per cent of respondents demonstrated a strong level of interest in the development of an updated skate facility at Olds Park.

"During the most recent lockdown, council has received increased reports of the creation of informal bike tracks and trails through council parks and local bushland.

"These reports demonstrate the local need for active recreation facilities identified by council some years ago continues to grow within the local government area."

A report is expected to be submitted at the October 2021 council meeting investigating the "interim and short-term provision of active recreation opportunities to ease pressure on council's parks and bushland areas" during the upcoming summer holiday period.

The council spokeswoman said the the procurement process for the designs of the skate park at Olds Park was already under way.

She said the construction costs would be considered as a bid for inclusion in the 2022/23 budget at the next council meeting

"If approved the project may commence that year. The vision for Olds Park skate park is a modern and versatile facility that reflects the surrounding urban and naturalised environment," she said.

"The project aims to provide a facility for inspiring and developing new skaters, BMX riders and other wheeled sports.

"The Park should be engaging to all users, providing a progression of skills development enabling exploration of skating, BMX riding and other wheeled sports."