Skatepark site mooted

BUILDING a skatepark in Oak Flats could provide young people with a much-needed outlet, according to a Shellharbour councillor.

Council Peter Moran put forward a notice of motion last week to investigate placing a skatepark near Lake Illawarra Police station and the Oak Flats train station car park.

"They need something to do - at the moment, they're congregating in the shopping centre at Oak Flats and police are moving them on," he said.

"The shop owners also feel uncomfortable."

He said locating a skatepark near the police station would give youth a safe place to socialise.

"It's flood affected so no development can go there," he said.

"Oversight from the police station will guard against anti-social behaviour and it's near main roads.

"It should really be a good spot for providing these facilities."

He said there had been a number of attempts to have a facility built, but none had been supported because of fears about the lack of surveillance.

He said giving Oak Flats a skatepark would allow for city-wide competitions in skateboarding, in-line skating and BMX riding.

"But there's no point if the youth in Oak Flats can't participate because they don't have a skatepark," he said.

Cr Moran also thought graffiti competitions could allow young people a chance to show their creativity and contribute to the community without tagging public assets.

"There's lots of antisocial behaviour and we need to find the things that interest kids," he said.

"These are the sorts of ideas we need to look at."

At the meeting, Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said her experience living near the Warilla skatepark had been "the worst nightmare of any resident's life", with broken bottles left in the area and fence palings ripped from their frames on a regular basis.

A report on possible sites, costs and construction timeframes will be brought back to a future council meeting.

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