Skateboarding has played a significant role in the history of this Milton Parkland site.
When the former Milton Tennis Centre site was left derelict and lay dormant, skateboarders appropriated and reinterpreted the space, they gave it life. They built their own obstacles, conducted their own competitions, and created a positive, safe place for young people to meet, gather, socialise and recreate.
In addition, Brisbane is lacking a contemporary inner city skate facility.
Finally, and importantly, the existing Paddington Skate Park does not have the capacity to cater for the number of users at peak periods, thus overcrowding is experienced.
Therefore, the development of a high quality, modern skate facility at the Milton site would acknowledge the role skateboarding has played in shaping the history of the site, provide a much needed contemporary inner city skate facility, in a highly visible and accessible location, and supply the additional skate facility quantity required to reduce overcrowding experienced at Paddington Skate Park and to meet the growing demand.
I am writing to express my concern over Brisbane City Council’s recent decision to reject the proposal for a skate facility in the Milton Parkland redevelopment.
This decision is an example of the short-sighted, ad hoc and uncoordinated approach often taken when planning for recreational facilities in Brisbane. Co-location, integration and diversity of recreational facilities are essential in promoting a healthy Queensland. The decision to exclude a skate facility from this park development is a missed opportunity to set a benchmark for youth facilities that are accessible and inclusive.
At present there are limited skate facilities in the inner suburbs of Brisbane. Consequently, Paddington, the only existing skate facility in inner city Brisbane and the western suburbs, regularly experiences overcrowding during peak periods and subsequent collisions. An additional contemporary, innovative skate facility at Milton Parkland would supply the extra quantity required to cater for the current and future number of skaters.
The Milton Parkland site is ideal location for an inner city skate facility. Not only has skateboarding played a significant role in shaping the history of the site, but the site is highly visible, easily accessible, in close proximity to food/refreshments, and is consistent with the recreational use of the park, and arguably is one of last remaining inner city sites for a skate facility.
Furthermore, broadly speaking, there is a lack of informal, unstructured recreation activities for young people in inner suburbs of Brisbane. Over 45 per cent of Australian children aged five to 14 years participated in skateboarding, rollerblading or scooter riding, compared to only 7.9 per cent for tennis (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009). Yet, based on a quantitative approach, with limited rigour or transparency, and no consideration of the consistent and proportionally high input from the Brisbane skateboard community at each consultation activity, the decision has been made to include a large scale tennis facility without the inclusion of a much needed contemporary, integrated, multi-use skate facility, for use by a much greater proportion of young people.
Brisbane City Council has an opportunity to lead the way in innovative design by integrating mixed-use, multi-purpose, open space facilities that make best use of our climatic conditions. It would be a great disappointment to see this opportunity go to waste. I urge Council to reconsider their decision, and will make my opinions felt in the next round of elections.