Embrace, don’t shun youth

skater calls for hub in city centre
skater calls for hub in city centre

James Whineray, who has lived in Fremantle for 20 years and has been a prominent member of the local skating culture, said if local governments placed youth facilities like skateparks in the city centre as opposed to the city outskirts, the negative connotations surrounding skaters could be dispelled.

‘Skating is very much flourishing in Fremantle but unfortunately we don’t have great skatepark facilities compared to other areas,’ he said.

‘I think the public like to associate skateboarding and youth with antisocial behaviour and generally they’re tucked away in the corner and the more tucked away they are the more antisocial behaviour there is.

‘The middle of the city is a very positive space and there is not so much drinking and not so much graffiti because if you put something in a dark corner, that’s where all the bad stuff is going to be.’

Mr Whineray’s comment come after Greens candidate for Fremantle Andrew Sullivan said the area needed to become more youth friendly.

‘Traditionally, areas designed for youth activities have often been placed on the margins of a city by those who think kids should be seen but not heard,’ he said.

‘We must not continue to make our youth feel unwelcome in their own town or expect them to hang-out in areas where anti-social behaviour and bullying can go unnoticed.

‘Like most people in our community, young people want safe and convenient places to hang out.’

The City of Fremantle has been working to make the city centre more youth friendly, putting forward a proposition for a youth plaza at the Esplanade Reserve complete with areas such as a skate park and a stage to provide a central location for youth to converge.

Fremantle Community Development director Marisa Spaziani said the city had a dedicated youth plan that was adopted in 2012 and was currently being implemented.

‘This plan demonstrates the city’s commitment to young people and a major component of this plan was the establishment of a youth plaza to ensure the city’s younger people have an iconic and functional hub to call their own,’ she said.