Skaters on track before Christmas
A NEW skatepark is on the top of the Bangalow skate community's Christmas wish list, and a site at the Bangalow Sports Fields is being prepared.
A spokeswoman for Byron Shire Council said three camphor laurel trees have been removed this week from the site between the AFL field and the soccer and rugby fields.
The Council has allocated $180,000 for construction of the skatepark, and the project will be put out to public tender in the next two weeks, she said.
Bangalow Skatepark Committee member Lyle Le Sueur said the park had been a priority for the town's skater community since 1996.
"It's been a stop-start process. Kids who started lobbying back in 1996 have grown up in that time," Mr Le Sueur said.
Mayor Jan Barham said finding a suitable site for the skatepark had been difficult.
"Council had a commitment for some time, but we had to find the right location. The sport fields is the best place and it will be right as part of that complex," she said.
Cr Barham said Jack Reffell, one of the young skaters petitioning for the skatepark, made an impressive speech to the council, which gave impetus to the project.
"Jack's example is a good one. When a young person comes to council to have their say it can be powerful - it should happen more," Cr Barham said.
"Local kids raised $4000 in the last two years. I think council could see how serious the kids were," he said. "It's taken a lot of lobbying - more than 15 years - but fingers crossed we will have the skatepark by Christmas."
Mr Le Sueur said the skatepark would attract families and increase the community's participation in sports.
"It will be quite unique. You will be able to see kids in the skatepark from the back deck of the bowling club, so parents will be able to have a coffee and watch their kids at the same time," he said.
The skatepark has received strong support from the community, with the late Michael Molloy, past president of the Bangalow Chamber of Commerce, a big fan of the project.