Supporters out in force

An artist’s impression of the option chosen for the proposed youth plaza.
An artist’s impression of the option chosen for the proposed youth plaza.

Councillors decided to adopt option 2 for the development, which includes a barbecue area, a ping-pong table, skate facilities, a basketball court, a reconfigured mound, a ‘parkour’ area, a cinema mound and a shaded area in a space the City said would be smaller than the 3500sq m initially intended ‘due to budget constraints’.

Of the 40 people who took the microphone to give their opinion during the council meeting, most were young skateboarders and their parents speaking in favour of the youth plaza.

‘We will be able to hold national and international events at the skate park and make it a world-class facility,’ one of them said.

‘If you look around, you can see how important it is to all the people who are attending.’

‘We’re here to fight for something and we’re fighting for the future,’ another said.

Many parents and teachers also spoke in favour of the plaza.

Some said they had experienced little anti-social behaviour from skaters at other locations and did not see it being too big of a problem at the Esplanade.

A couple of residents from Tuesday night’s community forum reiterated their concerns over the location of the plaza and the possibility of anti-social behaviour.

City community development director Marisa Spaziani said the council was aware some people had concerns over the size of the youth plaza, but they were unwarranted.

‘The fact is that the footprint of the plaza represents just 9.5 per cent of the overall reserve,’ Ms Spaziani said.

‘Due to budget constraints, the final design will in all likelihood be even smaller than this.

‘Also, surrounding the hardscape features, the design incorporates over 2500 square metres of grassed areas and garden beds so recent comments calling the youth plaza ‘huge’ and stating it will cover one third of the Esplanade Reserve are incorrect.’

The council will now redesign option 2 to fit with the $1.2 million budget.