Residents upset over skaters

By Kiri Gillespie


Teenagers using suburban Bethlehem as a skate park during the school holidays are upsetting residents.

Hawkridge Heights resident Lynn Forde said the constant banging, screeching and skidding of longboard skateboards outside her home had driven her up the wall.

She said she had complained to the group, aged 16 to 18, but they continued to skate.

Ms Forde said she and her neighbours were lucky to have a hot mix seal on their roads, which quietened traffic noise. To have this undone by the skateboarding was infuriating, she said.

Ms Forde said she had to slam on her brakes to avoid hitting a skater on the road as she came around a corner the other day. "They make me so blimmin' wild, you know.

"I feel like getting in my car and running them down."

The skaters return each school holiday.

Another Hawkridge Heights resident, who would not be named, said the skaters had made a mess of the road, leaving great big scratches.

"It's just annoying. Somebody's's going to get hurt one day," the man said.

"Why don't they go somewhere where there are factories or no houses? They have to have their fun, kids are kids, we know that, but how about consideration for the residents."

Another Athfield Drive resident, who would not be named, said she was concerned about safety. "When you come out, I'm at the bottom of the slope, they get to a reasonable speed. I do worry.

"Definitely the noise is quite a drone at times and not pleasant."

Athfield Drive resident Glenda Ryan said she felt there was no issue.

"I just feel kids have somewhere to play. It doesn't bother me at all. I would rather them skateboard down my street than doing anything else."

A 16-year-old and two mates were skating at Athfield Drive yesterday, unaware they were causing such distress. "No one's talked to us about it," said one, who lives in the area.

He said their longboards were not standard skateboards designed for skate parks, which was why they were on the road.

A fellow skater said they were surprised to hear of the complaints.

"No one's even said 'can you go somewhere else'," he said.

Nevada surf and skate store operations manager Geoff Wyllie-Miln said longboards were popular, particularly with surfers or snowboarders in their off-season.

Skaters choosing residential streets to ride "happened everywhere" but were a minority in Tauranga, Mr Wyllie-Miln said.

"They are designed for smooth roads, either concrete or asphalt."

Tauranga City Council spokeswoman Meagan Holmes said that last year the council received one complaint about skateboarding in a prohibited area - not including residential streets.

"As far as we are aware, we haven't received any complaints of damage caused by skateboarding to public property so far this year. However, on occasion, we do receive complaints about damage caused by the people riding the skateboards, like ripping down signs," Ms Holmes.

The Street Use and Public Places Bylaw is on the council's website.

Skateboard facilities available in Tauranga

  • Memorial Park skate ramp - new technology artificial surface was completed this Monday. Should last 20 years. The old roller skating rink at Memorial Park also gets used by skaters - has skate benches installed by users in co-operation with the council.

  • 17th Ave skate park - revamped last year (these areas were wooden but are now concrete)

  • Carlton Reserve skate park

  • Waitaha Reserve skate park

  • Blake Park - shut down for safety issues, renewal planned for this year. It is expected to be open again in early summer.

  • Arataki skate park

  • Papamoa skate park at Gordon Spratt Reserve

- Bay of Plenty Times

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