The Omokoroa skate path has landed 'outstanding' recognition at the New Zealand Recreation 2016 Awards.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council picked up a Merit Award in the Outstanding Project category at the national awards in Queenstown last night - falling second only to the multi-million dollar Margaret Mahy Family Playground.
The $230,000 project caught the judges' eyes for its unique, original design and the collaborative approach between council and the community-led Omokoroa Community Skate Group (OCSG).
Council reserves and facilities manager Peter Watson said the skate path did incredibly well, considering it was up against projects like the Margaret Mahy playground in Christchurch - which cost more than $3 million in total.
He said the skate path was innovative because it was New Zealand's first fully custom skate path - different from traditional skate parks.
"Basic skate facilities traditionally include an area of concrete with some box tricks, but the skate path, at 140m long, is the first to be designed uniquely as a dedicated recreational path for all users and abilities.
"Its clever construction flows through the natural landscape and it's also accessible for wheelchairs and mobility scooters. No other facility in NZ is like this.
"The local primary school children enthusiastically submitted a 100 signature petition to council, seeking a skate path as opposed to a traditional skate park."
In 2015 council and the Omokoroa Community Board, impressed with the strong community support, agreed to fund $115,000 towards the project on the basis the community funded the balance.
This led to a group of seven parents forming the OCSG with the clear focus to promote and fundraise for the skate path.
"The group were great to deal with and created a connection between council and the community," Mr Watson said.
"This enabled council staff, led by Stephen Lun our project manager, to support the group by providing advice, guidance and support including the engagement of design consultants and engineering input.
"We genuinely believe this community/council collaboration was key to the success of the skate path."
OCSG chairperson, Erin Cartwright, said receiving the award was a celebration of community spirit.
"I think for the Omokoroa Skate Path to win Merit in the Outstanding Project category is a fantastic confirmation that when a community pulls together we can make a positive impact in the lives of the whole community not just the children.
"The OCSG committee has worked extremely hard over the last few years to bring the community together to create this wonderful community facility.
"I am very proud of the children of Omokoroa for believing that they can participate and positively contribute to the growth and development of their very own neighbourhood."