Skaters given a bad rap

Oscar and Lachie Palmer, of Bedford, at Belmont Skate Park. Picture: Matt Jelonek d418971
Oscar and Lachie Palmer, of Bedford, at Belmont Skate Park. Picture: Matt Jelonek d418971

Belmont Mayor Phil Marks said recent consultation done by the City with local youth suggests that Belmont Skate Park has become a focal point for the community as a whole.

Cr Marks said it was valued greatly by local residents as well as skaters outside of the City of Belmont.

‘Users of the facility are well engaged with the community, enjoy physical activity and create a positive culture in Belmont,’ he said.

‘The city is also seeing an increase in families making use of this facility.’

‘The park was designed with a focus on community consultation and engagement and the community now has a sense of ownership of the park and as a result, it has been used respectfully.

‘Based on local anecdotal evidence, young people are more likely to engage in anti-social behaviour due to boredom and the skate park provides young people with a safe and positive space to engage with the community and enjoy physical activity.’

Research lead author Associate Professor Lisa Wood said youth participation in skateboarding, in-line skating, rollerblading and scooting were now close to exceeding participation in orga- nised sports.

She said despite its popularity, skateboarding often had negative associations.

‘Yet skate parks are, in fact, a powerful setting in which young people can learn the arts of co-operation, negotiation and compromise informally, in contrast to via the structured rules of organised sports,’ she said.

The research focused on a small suburban skate park in a central suburb of Perth.

The project developed an online survey in which almost 400 respondents reported pro-social behaviours more often than anti-social ones.