Central, All-Weather/All-Year Steel Vert Skate Halfpipe At Ovingham Level Crossing Bridge!

Central, All-Weather/All-Year Steel Vert Skate Halfpipe At Ovingham Level Crossing Bridge!

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Orren Prunckun started this petition to City of Charles Sturt

Since the early 1990s, skating (including skateboarding, rollerskating and rollerblading) vertical (vert) halfpipes (that is, halfpipes with transitions that end completely vertical) has been, and continues to be, a huge pastime for youth.

In the 1990s, myself and so many others really wanted to be able to skate like the world class skaters depicted in ESPNs X-Games and Hollywood movies.

So, we’d venture out, much like kids today, and skated the vert halfpipes, emulating our idols and having a lot of healthy and free outdoor fun.

There were 12-foot vert halfpipes made of steel or wood in Cavan, Victor Harbour, Myrtle Bank (referred to as Ridge Park) and concrete skate bowls in Kidman Park (referred to as Fulham Bowls) and Elizabeth (in the Aqua Dome).

Steel and wood are such forgiving surfaces for falling on - the risk of bruises and breaking bones even with knee, elbow, wrist padding, and helmet is minimal because steel and wood have far more flexion that concrete.

However, many councils pulled these vert ramps down - Cavan, Victor Harbour, Myrtle Bank no longer exist.

For many of us, we stopped skating because of this.

During COVID-19, I had the opportunity to rediscover my skating passion.

But I discovered that in the intervening 25-year period that councils had built 115~ concrete skatepark, in addition to the original Kidman Park (see the list I compiled here) and in contrast, only replaced 1 steel vert halfpipe installed at West Beach.

The unfortunate thing is concrete is not the best skate surface.

There are many reasons for this, namely, falling on concrete significantly increases the risk of bruises and broken bones even with knee, elbow, wrist padding and helmets – I have seen it so many times and attended to many injured people while waiting for ambulances to arrive.

The risk is multiplied as soon as concrete is in a skate bowl or quarter pipe.

The risk is magnified again when the bowl gets to 10-foot high like the one at Flagstaff Hill (Minkarra Park).

While I often attempt flips on the steel vert halfpipe at West Beach, I am yet to attempt a flip on concrete for obvious reasons!

Putting flips aside, skaters want to skate on the safe steel (or wood) vert halfpipes.

Several weekly skate meetups have started at West Beach – I organise two of them there and this group has grown in size as skaters discover the safe West Beach halfpipe.

The other group is of rollerskaters.

Author doing flips at West Beach vert halfpipe 2020

Despite West Beach not being central and hard to get to for those in the North, South and East, the demand is there, yet the supply is not…

This single vert halfpipe in the state has led to building a strong in-person community, bringing people of all walks-of-life together and has led to improvements in their quality-of-life.

Vert is not dead.

And it’s not just a catchy slogan - people are buying t-shirts I have created with that very phrase on it.

But Adelaide needs another vert halfpipe made of steel or wood to meet demand.

Under the planned Ovingham Level Crossing bridge is the perfect place for a few reasons…

In my rediscovery phase since mid-2020, I have visited many local skate parks in the City Of Charles Sturt (I live in Renown Park) and found:

  1. Many are just too busy to skate – St Clair and Prospect in particular; and
  2. None are undercover (this is a South Australia-wide issue also).

So, because of this:

  1. I either go out of my council area to other suburbs/council areas which have skatepark that are less crowded (but this is not an option for younger kids without cars and who rely on their parents as I did 25+ years ago); or
  2. I go home to minimise the risk of sunburn (even with copious amounts of sunscreen) or because the rain makes all the current open parks unviable.

There are some options to make skating safer and more attractive in the City of Charles Sturt:

  1. Much like the solved issue of basketball court overflow in the council area (with additional courts installed in St Clair, Prospect, Croydon, etc), to keep skate residents like myself in the council area, build another skate facility to reduce the overcrowding at existing skateparks at St Clair, Prospect and Croydon etc;
  2. Build this overflow skate facility under an existing shelter so it is all-weather; the planned Ovingham Level Crossing bridge provides an ideal and low-cost option for this. There is already much precedent for this elsewhere in the world (for example the Schellingwoude vert halfpipe in Amsterdam: see cover photo above). The combination of a central, all weather facility would be a truly unique place;
  3. Build this overflow skate facility as a vert halfpipe to meet demand; and
  4. Build the skate vert halfpipe out of steel to improve safety and attract more skaters.

Having an undercover, overflow skate facility that is a vert halfpipe under the planned Ovingham Level Crossing bridge would mean more skaters could enjoy this sport facility as a recreation destination year-round and in all weather.

This is a low-cost option to support skaters, young and old, with a healthy outdoor activity that enhances their quality of life.

Furthermore, after skating, many skaters look for something to eat close by.

Having a skate facility at the Ovingham Level Crossing will encourage skaters and their families to venture out to eat at nearby locations such as those on Torrens Road, Hawker and Chief Streets and the Plant-4 area in Bowden/Brompton.

Not only would a new, safe, all-weather steel (or wood) vert halfpipe under the Ovingham Level Crossing bridge be a great open space facility to enhance the quality-of-life of local skateboarders, rollerskaters and rollerbladers, it would contribute to economic development in the surrounding area.

I have already pitched this to council representatives already, but to strengthen the case I have started this petition to act as an addendum and I encourage you to seriously consider my request and supporting it by signing this petition.

Yours faithfully,

Orren Prunckun

5 February 2021

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Concern 1:

I DON’T want to give away email address.

Answer 1:

Change.org DOESN’T reveal your email address to anyone, not even me the petition organizer. Sign here: https://www.change.org/VertSnotDead

Concern 2:

I DON’T want my email address to be spammed.

Answer 2:

Your email address is ONLY used to verify you’re a legitimate signature and to communicate petition updated – you can optout of the latter. Sign here: https://www.change.org/VertSnotDead

Concern 3:

I DON’T want my name on the Change.org website/in public.

Answer 3:

You can be a “silent signature”, but unclicking “Display my name and comment on this petition” and you will NOT appear on change.org or the petition page. Only your name (NOT email -see above) will be passed along to 2 elected council members and 2 council decision makers. Sign here: https://www.change.org/VertSnotDead

Concern 4:

I won’t use the proposed halfpipe.

Answer 4:

I bet you will, especially in winter! Regardless of who wins that bet, community organizing and community support is about helping the majority, even if there is no direct benefit to you. It’s also swings-and-roundabouts - eventually some community thing will be implemented in your council area and you will benefit from it because a volunteer worked hard behind the scenes to get it done. Sign here: https://www.change.org/VertSnotDead

Concern 5:

I don’t have time to sign it.

Answer 5:

If you have read this far, you have wasted more time than it takes to sign! All you need to do is fill out 3 form fields – first name, last name and email address and click submit. You’d be done by now: https://www.change.org/VertSnotDead

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Cover image available at: <http://skatemates.nl/?page_id=497> [Accessed 5 February 2021].

If you are enjoy skateparks, join any of these local skate groups:

Aggressive Inline Adelaide

Vert � Snot � Dead � Adelaide (meetup)

Adelaide Group Skate

Chicks In Bowls Adelaide

Skate FIT cru

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At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!