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A Decade of Delay

15pm // 23.12.2016

01SPSP SITE

Could Sydney's long wait for promised new parks be almost over? 

Words by Nat Kassel. 

Considering it's the biggest city in Australia, Sydney's inner suburbs don’t have many decent skateparks. There's Fernside – the city’s most central plaza-style park – plus an awkward, tiny bowl in Surry Hills, and a few ledges on a basketball court in Redfern; but that's about it.

The good news is that the Sydney Skateboard Association has been lobbying hard for more skate facilities, and the City of Sydney is slowly, but surely, accepting that they’ll need to build them. On November 5, the City of Sydney held a community consultation for a skatepark in St Peters and now the plans have been made public (you can check them out here). Thankfully, the digital impression of the park (above) looks like something most people will enjoy.

There will be a small bowl in the centre, surrounded by an array of other street-style obstacles, including ledges, banks, a couple of down rails and a Euro gap. There’s also plans for a separate “flow” bowl, which will be three metres at its deepest, but that section will be built during phase two, later down the track.

The designs for the park were created by Convic – the same crew who are responsible for Esperance, Mona Vale and Bateau Bay skateparks, among others. They’re top-notch facilities, so the St Peters skatepark, which will be in Sydney Park, should hopefully be the goods.

01bato yard convic
Bateau Bay skatepark from above. Some strange looking dick and ball shapes from this angle. Photo via convic.com.

This comes in addition to the council’s plans to build another two new skateparks in inner Sydney. There’s “The Crescent” – a skatepark in Annandale that should be finished by June 2017 – and the Sydenham Green skatepark, which they’ll commence building in January.

I asked Cameron Sparkes and Nigel Cameron from the Sydney Skateboard Association about the process of lobbying for the Sydney skateparks. Sparkes told me, “Our involvement was based around actually getting the council to approve it in the first place. Then we organised a community consultation with Convic and whoever wanted to turn up and have input.”

Nige reiterated how important it is to make sure everyone’s voice was heard: “One of the biggest positives is the fact that there's no monopoly on who designs the park. Now that the skate association is around we can inform the council and give them different options.”

While these new parks sound good, and the designs look great, the government actually promised to build five new skateparks in Sydney way back in 2007, but not one of them has come to fruition.

Sparkes and Nige are still a little bit doubtful about how long it will take for the parks to actually be built. Sparkes told me, “The whole construction phase and when it’s going to be delivered is always super, super foggy. They told us 2017, but it could be 2018. You just never really know.”

01mona vale convic
A section of Mona Vale skatepark. Photo via convic.com.

Nige said, “They’re saying Sydenham, Glebe and Sydney Park will be done by next year… Pretty hard to believe.”

Despite this, they’ve kept the pressure on the government with, “a combination of a lot of hard work from a long history of skaters, social media influence, support from certain councillors and the [Sydney Skateboard] Association.”

The main councillor to back Sydney skateparks is Labor’s Linda Scott, who was elected in 2012 and has since been working with the Sydney Skateboard Association to get something done.

A decade after they were promised, hopefully these parks will finally be built in 2017.