Was Cameron Sparkes’ scarf his secret weapon to woo the City of Sydney's councillors and seal the deal on a new skatepark for Sydney? Sparkes, looking dashing as ever with councillor Linda Scott, Trent Evans, and Ben, who came along to show support.
A swanky scarf and a victory for Sydney skaters.
Words and photo by Nat Kassel.
Council meetings are pretty weird. Everything is super formal, everyone is intimidatingly well dressed and the room operates under a strict process that’s a bit hard to follow. These are the corridors of power and traditionally, skateboarders haven’t been welcome within them.
However, the Sydney Skateboard Association, led by Cameron Sparkes, Trent Evans and Nigel Cameron, has been fighting on behalf of skateboarders at council meetings for years. They’ve been fighting tooth and nail for new concrete that we can call our own. And on June 19, at Sydney’s Town Hall, the City of Sydney unanimously approved a new skatepark at St. Peters.
It was a good win for Sydney’s skate community at large because it marked the next step toward getting one of the new parks that the council promised years ago. (There are also new parks in the works at Annandale and Sydenham.)
Linda Scott, a Labor councillor who’s proved to be very sympathetic to Sydney skateboarders, publically acknowledged that skatepark plans have been in a perpetual state of bureacratic delay for over a decade. She also told the council, “[The St. Peters skatepark] may be one of the biggest facilities in the world.”
The new skatepark, in Sydney Park, will be a $2.5 million dollar project and will be more than double the size of Mona Vale skatepark. The best part is that instead of building stage one, then building stage two a few years down the track, both stages have been funded and approved for construction at the same time. This was a result of community feedback online. The downside is that they aren’t expected to be finished until April 2019.
Artist impression of the plaza.
Cameron Sparkes, who spoke at the meeting on behalf of Sydney skateboarders, told the council, “We’ve seen a crazy increase in people using Waterloo and other facilities around. You could barely squeeze anymore people in there, to be honest.”
“The sooner we can get some more facilities on the ground, the better,” he said.
The council were surprisingly supportive and the only slightly negative comment came from Liberal Councillor Christine Forster, who acknowledged that there could be problems with noise. But this seemed more like a point to be addressed, rather than an excuse to stall progress.
After the meeting, Sparkes flicked his scarf over his shoulder and launched into this speech: “The concluding sentiment from council was a unanimous yes, which is fantastic, but we still hold the view that we’ll believe it when we see it.”
“We won’t stop until these parks get poured and finished and they’re being used. We encourage everyone to keep sending emails and keep commenting and keep stirring the pot and reminding them that we’re only growing and we’re not going to stop until we get this skatepark.”
Artist impression of the bowl.