Walking on air over moves for skatepark

Wheels in motion: Mortdale's Riley Allison executes a kick flip over Georges River Council's decision to support a new local skate park.
Wheels in motion: Mortdale's Riley Allison executes a kick flip over Georges River Council's decision to support a new local skate park.

Local skateboarders Riley Allison and Josh Esber are up in the air about Georges River Council's moves to build a new local skate park.

Back in 2018 Riley and Josh both independently started petitions calling for a new skate park in the area and between them obtained 245 signatures.

They had to travel to Helensburgh and Greenhills Beach in Sutherland Shire to find a good skate park.

Councillor Sandy Gekas, centre, pictured in 2018 with local youth at the Olds Park skate ramp.

Councillor Sandy Gekas, centre, pictured in 2018 with local youth at the Olds Park skate ramp.

Last Monday, the council supported a report that the construction of new skate park facilities at Olds Park be considered as part of the council's 2022/23 budget preparation process.

"I'd given up hope. It took a long time for a decision after I spoke to the council," Riley said.

"It's so it's good to hear that the council will go through with it."

Riley catches the train to Sydenham to use the skate park there or uses local streets because of the lack of local facilities.

"It will be a lot easier for people to go to the local skate park rather than travel into the city or to the shire," Riley said.

"At least now we will have a place to go. Parents can relax and know that there is one place where their kids are going to be and it will be safer than using the streets."

Riley's mum, Jaquetta said there is also the safety aspect of the old skate facilities at Olds Park.

"The existing skate ramp at Olds Park is quite dangerous," Jaquetta said. "It's a metal scoop and it's too tall for kids to access. It's not appropriate with existing safety requirements."

Josh said a new skatepark will mean there will be somewhere to meet and catch up with friends, meet new people and stay active with mates, not only using the skate park for skateboards but also for BMX and scooters.

"Now that the Olympics has introduced skateboarding this year it has shown the young people that there is a path to aim for in skateboarding and BMX riding," Josh said.

"We may have some future Olympians in the future representing the St George area in the future."

In 2017, Josh and Riley separately approached Councillor Sandy Grekas to ask her whether Council would build a new skate park in the area, as the one at Olds Park was woefully outdated.

"I suggested they start a petition, which they did, and I then tabled the petition back in 2018 with their request," Cr Grekas said.

"Even though it's been a long time in the making, I'm thrilled that Council unanimously resolved to redevelop the skate park at Olds Park, and I give Josh and Riley full credit for kick-starting this process," she said.

"They're both wonderful examples of young citizens who have identified a problem and have advocated for positive change in our community.

"It's great to see young people engaging with local government, and having their voices heard about what facilities are needed."