Josh Cleary and Vanessa Barrett with other Tectona Place residents who are lobbying council to change the location of a skate park, agreed upon by Ballina Shire councillors last month. Behind them, Ballina Shire Council’s Stage 2 blocks up for sale.
Josh Cleary and Vanessa Barrett with other Tectona Place residents who are lobbying council to change the location of a skate park, agreed upon by Ballina Shire councillors last month. Behind them, Ballina Shire Council’s Stage 2 blocks up for sale. Melissa Gulbin

Neighbours continue skate park fight

YOUNG families of newly-developing Tectona Place in Wollongbar fear they will have no option but to take on 24/7 policing of a planned skate park.

The hard-fought Plateau Drive skate park, was finally passed by Ballina Shire councillors last month, with mayor David Wright the only councillor in opposition.

However, local residents, who believe expected anti-social behaviour associated with the skate park will devalue their houses, say they want the park moved.

Mother of three, Vanessa Barrett, said she feared the community will have to take on the policing of the skate park. "It will create a divide in the community. I don't want to be put in a position where I am telling other people's children what to do," she said.

"We're half an hour away from both Lismore and Ballina police stations," she said.

Her neighbour Josh Cleary, whose wife is expecting their first baby said, "Ballina Shire Council are building a multi-million dollar sporting complex. Skate parks bring in graffiti and vandalism as seen over the years to many other communities with under-age drinking and possible drug use - we do not want this on our front door," he said.

Wollongbar Progress Society has ramped up their campaign to relocate the planned skate park to a non residential area such as the new Wollongbar sportsgrounds.

However councillor Keith Williams believes the skate park should be located in a highly visible residential area.

"For reasons of public safety the skate park needs to have high public visibility. Secondly, the sportsground , at night and if equipped with the skate park will draw some children, and, will also draw some undesirable types. We ought not create areas that attract children and are not subject to active public oversight," he said.

The Wollongbar Progress Society want transparency for future buyers of the land adjacent to the planned skate park.

Ballina Council has just released Wollongbar Estate Stage 2 blocks for sale. This development comprises 18 fully serviced lots, situated adjacent to the old drive-in site.

A Wollongbar Progress Society spokesperson said, "To ensure that the buyers of these blocks are informed before purchase, we trust that agents will acquaint them with the fact that Council plans to construct a Skate Park next to these blocks. Blocks 21, 22, 23 and 24 will be very handy to the Skate Park, with just the drainage reserve separating the blocks from the skating area.

"Wollongbar doesn't need any more disgruntled residents, and people have a right to know what is planned for their area," a Wollongbar," he said.



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