IT’S coming down – the infamous barbed wire fence that tore the local skating community apart when it was erected in 2013 may soon be a thing of the past.
A six-month trial is now underway with Nambucca Shire Council and the Coronation Park Trust testing the waters by leaving the skatepark unlocked.
The move has been welcomed by the Valley Skaters Association.
“Things have been going well – as they always have,” VSA president Toby Frost said.
“No issues have been reported with is normal – skaters are not bad people. As far as I know if the six-month trial goes well then they will look at taking down the fence. So fingers crossed!”
Toby said the skating community surveyed Coronation Park residents some years ago and found “98 per cent were all for the skate park”.
“They were happy to see kids having fun and not on the streets. The fence was very divisive and the fact there is a chance that it could be removed would mean we have our skate park back … like it was before the fence.”
The barrier was erected by the council when some residents initiated legal action over anti-social behaviour at the park.
The residents claimed the council had breached its own development consent regarding the control of noise and anti-social behaviour at the park.
The skaters were aggrieved because the people causing the problems were not skaters but outsiders.
Council was also put on the spot with no option but to fence the park or else risk further litigation and the possible loss of the facility altogether.
So what has changed:
The council’s General Manager Michael Coulter said the legal agreement regarding the park’s after hours closure only applied when those residents who took the legal action resided in those houses.
“That’s no longer the case. For the last two to three months now, we haven’t been locking the gate at night and so far I’ve had no complaints or feedback about any anti-social behaviour,” Mr Coulter said.
“I will report to council once the trial period is over and recommend taking down the fence if we’re happy with the outcome.”
For Toby, the move would allow the rejuvenation of the local skating community.
“We want to put all of this fence saga behind us and move on to get some positive things happening in our community again.
“There have been no complaints from residents, there were only ever issues with two residents who have now moved from the area. So lets hope this is the end of a dark era!”.