BTG200120SP1 Caption: Caleb McCutcheon is airborne out of the Dannevirke skatebowl.
Story by Dave Murdoch
Dannevirke youths are hoping the town's Allardice St skatepark will be replaced with one that is on a par with others in similar sized towns.
They feel the existing skate bowl is no longer suitable for the modern style of scootering.
When built over a decade ago it was state-of-the-art, based on others around the lower North Island and some designs from Dannevirke High School Year 12 graphics students.
The skatebowl was jointly funded by Rural Women, Dannevirke Host Lions and Tararua District Council and was built by Mitchell and Greatbatch.
Originally designed for skateboarders, over time it became a mecca for scooter riders and bikers.
In 2016 an EIT Building and Carpentry Training programme built a shelter which was much appreciated.
Over the years it became the focus for top scooter riders attracting outsiders to competitions.
Locals respect their facility which is largely devoid of graffiti and rubbish.
They have their own code of conduct which sees each rider waiting patiently for their turn to use the bowl and thereby avoiding crashes.
But an upgrade is now needed.
Youths say it is dangerous and the concrete is too coarse.
"It eats your skin," according to one teenager.
And they say piping protrudes too far and the ramps make it hard for transitions.
"It is hard to practice at a top level," says Ryan Walker who with Alex Dean competed in the nationals in March 2019.
They say it is too small with the numbers using it and this endangers the smaller scooter riders.
Spokesperson Jamie McDonald says they favour a new site on George St which used to be a BMX Track. This site is sheltered and shaded with plenty of space and is close to the Domain toilets.
However, local residents are not keen to see a new facility in their backyard.
An informal committee has been working for 18 months looking to resolve the problem and has explored several sites.
Tararua District Council is involved and Mayor Tracey Collis said further investigation should happen now everyone is back from holidays.
She is keen to have the committee explore more options incorporating basketball and a traffic safety park but first she wants the committee to find out more from the young people as to what they want.
Following that there will be public consultation over the options.