Park’s teething problems

People have been sneaking in to Jarrahdale skate park to try out the facilities ahead of its completion.
People have been sneaking in to Jarrahdale skate park to try out the facilities ahead of its completion.

Young people have been desperate to get into the park, even before it opens, with many sneaking in to test out the facilities.

Shire chief executive Richard Gorbunow said members of the fire brigade, housed next door, had voiced concerns.

Skaters and spectators were parking cars in a way that restricted access to firefighting facilities.

Older bike riders were trying out the highest jumps, intended for skateboards.

‘Skate park users and spectators are already attracted to the veranda, which surrounds the fire brigade building, as a suitably elevated, shaded and dry place, which they consider suitable for picnics and beer drinking,’ Mr Gorbunow said.

‘The presence of these individuals in this location has coincided, and seen to be associated with, some acts of vandalism and unsocial behaviour.’

He said firefighters having access to their equipment was of ‘vital importance’ and the Shire was doing its best to address the issues.

It was reviewing safety precautions and considering further action to reduce the risk of skate park users landing on Jarrahdale Road by accident, including provision of a panel fence along the boundary of the skate park.

He said the skate park’s location was widely discussed in the community well before construction, and most stakeholders had voted for the location.

Consultant weighs in on skate park debate
A consultant appointed to assess the new skate park said the location was well chosen.

Amlec House assesses social spaces in terms of inherent crime risks and crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) principles.

Director Chris Cubbage said the skate park’s location next to the fire brigade depot did not have to be problematic and recognised CPTED principles.

‘This is one of the best-located skate parks I’ve seen,’ the former police officer said. ‘It’s inclusive, gets the kids into town and gives them an opportunity to be part of the community.’
He said elements such as perimeters, parking and lighting could be controlled and monitored ensure harmony.

‘Kids can keep an eye on the area, so it provides natural surveillance, and senior people and volunteers from the fire station can have links to them and they can reinforce a definition of whose space is whose,’ he said.

‘Giving kids a sense of ownership of a space promotes respect for it.’

University of Western Australia researchers recently found skate parks were more likely to promote good behaviour than bad. Their survey found that more often than engaging in anti-social behaviour at skate parks, young people co-operated, learned from, taught, helped and respected each other and took turns.

The researchers wrote that skateboarding had negative associations in communities, but negative behaviour got far more attention than positive actions.

‘Skate parks are a powerful setting where young people can learn co-operation, negotiation and compromise informally, in contrast to via the structured rules of organised sports,’ lead author Associate Professor Wood said.