Future of skating in question

By Victoria White

6 comments
UNHAPPY: Matt Cooper is seeking legal advice over council plans for SK8 Zone. PHOTO/PAUL TAYLOR
UNHAPPY: Matt Cooper is seeking legal advice over council plans for SK8 Zone. PHOTO/PAUL TAYLOR

With less than a month before SK8 Zone is closed, concerns are being raised about the future of skating on Marine Parade.

On Friday, the Napier City Council served the Napier Skating Club a one-month notice of eviction from the site they had "called home" for the past 61 years.

Club president Matt Cooper said he would now be seeking legal advice on the issue.

"We're trying to get a common goal where it's not just about the council, because at the moment we're losing big time".

The park will close with a new skating area on the former Marineland site built as part of the Napier City Council's Marine Parade redevelopment, but concerns have been raised by Mr Cooper and the community, with a Save SK8 Zone Facebook page, and petition also created.

"It would seem the Napier City Council are going to wipe out 80 years of Napier Skating Club history because they want a sculpture garden in its present SK8 Zone site," he said.

The club and council had been in discussions for months, but Mr Cooper said talks with council regarding the move suggested the present Sk8 Zone and equipment would be moved to new site in total and the club would run the new facility.

"The council has stated that they want to run the new facility because they feel that the club does not have the operational expertise and would be unable to meet the new health and safety requirements," he said.

"The Napier Skating Club feel this is an insult because the club has owned and successfully operated Sk8zone for 60 years."

Council community development manager Antoinette Campbell said at this stage it was proposed council would manage the new venue.

"We've had a few issues with [the club] over the years over their capacity and capability to manage a new build," she said, "[this does not] preclude Napier Skating Club taking it over in future once they have improved their capability."

If the club did want to run the venue, Mr Cooper said they would be expected to pay an annual fee of $55,000. Ms Campbell could not confirm this amount, but said the club would have to pay a community lease.

To cater for an increase in popularity of other skating codes, Mr Cooper said the club built and modified ramps and equipment costing over $400,000, creating a park "rated as one of the best in the southern hemisphere".

However, the plans for the new park would "rate a three out of 10", and there was an expectation the club should give council some ramps from the current facility, which they had built and paid for, for a "peppercorn rate'.

"Does this seem fair that a club that has got off its backside, raised over a million dollars and run successfully for 60 odd years gets wiped out with the stroke of a council pen," he said.

To her knowledge, Ms Campbell said the club had not paid rent for the site for decades, had received $16,000 per annum from council as part of a service agreement, and some of their equipment had been paid for using council grants.

While the bulk of the park design plans had been finalised, she said there was flexibility in terms of skate ramps.

- Hawkes Bay Today

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 04 Dec 2016 01:37:40 Processing Time: 642ms