The councillor heading the redevelopment of Napier's Marine Parade leisure space is promising small-wheel sports an even better facility than the acclaimed Sk8Zone that was closed last week.
Keith Price, a Napier City councillor since 2007 and seeking a fourth term at this year's Local Elections, was speaking yesterday after being presented with a 1740-signature facebook petition organised by scootering champion and Napier teenager Alexandra Madsen.
Sk8Zone, the modern-era of the Napier Skating Club which has been on Marine Parade since 1954, closed this week to make way for a garden and water leisure centre, but Mr Price said he's keen to see the best features of Sk8Zone and more incorporated in a new skate park being built on the site of Marine Parade tourism jewel Marineland.
Club members say the council has already fallen short on promises by closing Sk8Zone before the new facility is ready and by not guaranteeing the club a role in running the venue, as it has done with the ever-popular rinks on the parade over the past 62 years.
The council has, however, leased a warehouse to be used by club members during the 18 weeks until the new Marine Parade venue is available. It is planning to incorporate 10 of the biggest Sk8Zone ramps in the new facilities and has established a design committee, including three club members, to guide the development of the new site into what Mr Price says should be a world-class facility for the wheel sports of skating, skateboarding, roller derby and others.
He says there will be more room and the renovation of the Marineland grandstand will include seating for more than 400 spectators enabling the facility to be used for competitions and small concerts.
Ms Madsen was in a state of near-mourning as Sk8Zone closed, saying on facebook she had had "the best four years coming here", and thanking the council "for ruining a place treasured by so many people".
They were the "friends that I call family", and based on that and the response to the petition, which drew support from around New Zealand as well as 252 "international" signatories, she said: "Who would have thought a sk8 park could mean so much to me and so many others."