Community feedback on the proposed design of Whangamatā's skate park has now been submitted, with a range of suggestions and ideas made.

First, the Thames-Coromandel District Council met with a small group of skateboarding enthusiasts at the end of July, including students from Whangamatā Area School and Shane Munden, owner of Saltwater surf shop, to discuss the project before going out to the wider public.

Whangamatā Area School principal Alistair Luke says four of the school's students took part in the meeting, and were chosen because they are skateboarding enthusiasts.

He says it is great to have the students included in the feedback because they are users of the skate park, so it is important their views and thoughts are incorporated into any design.

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"I think it's fantastic to have places our young people can go and be active in the town."

He says although Whangamatā has the ocean, it is subject to weather, so he hopes the skate park becomes a really family-friendly place where people can go to meet and be active.

The council received official feedback through an online survey and 60 hard-copy submission forms from August 1 to 30.

Most of the hard copy forms were completed by students at Whangamatā Area School following Council project manager Ross Ashby's presentation at the full school assembly.

The council held a public drop-in session on August 24 at its Whangamatā Service Centre with 10 participants.

Council have also included comments made on its Facebook page in regard to the project and will refer to these.

People have said what they like about the current skate park are the bowl, half-pipe, snake run, jumps and the 2m ramp.

Meanwhile, the report done by Premium Skate Park Designs in 2017 highlights a lot of the concerns over the current skatepark, such as damage, chipped and broken concrete, poor drainage, congestion over the peak period and most of the features not being functional and dangerous to use.

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There were suggestions to include lighting, CCTV cameras, more seating, shelter and rubbish bins, and some felt it does not cater to for younger children.

Some people liked the graffiti - but felt it could be "less rude" - and some people did not.
The council is working with the school and community to explore options of art work.

Council's project manager Ross Ashby says council received a lot of positive feedback about the design.

"They did not like the proposed idea of banning BMX users, so we will explore ways of ensuring the park has some rules and signage which people can follow, as it has done previously."

Most people suggested removing the grass section with the seat in the middle of the park and make it a skateable element, and it was suggested to include more rubbish bins, seating, shelter and explore options of lighting and CCTV.

He says other ideas include exploring options of a pump track to cater for all ages, including students in the art project, and a few other technical/skate design suggestions about where half-pipes and other jumps could go.

A feedback session held on the proposed skate park design. Photo / Supplied
A feedback session held on the proposed skate park design. Photo / Supplied

Now that they have all the feedback, council will work with the designer to see what can be incorporated within the budget, he says.

The final design will be provided in early October.

"We intend to take this to the next Whangamatā Community board meeting as well to get final approval. Then we can look at detailed design."

He says they are also looking at running an art competition for users of the park, and the best design will work alongside local artist and skater Elijah King to have the artwork painted on or around the park.

It is hoped the competition will run over the school holidays with final awarding of the winning artwork at the end of Term 4 (end of December).

"The idea is to create a better link and flow from the shelter area and create a street skate 'zone'," says Ross.

"We want to acknowledge the importance of the existing bowl for skating history in Whangamatā, but at the same time give it a new lease of life so the next generation can continue to express themselves in new, creative and exciting ways."

He says the Whangamatā skate park is well used and a key recreational area for the community.

It is part of the council's Long Term Plan for refurbishment and repairs of the existing skate park on Martyn Rd, and construction of a street skate area next to the existing bowl on top of the bank on the park side.

The existing skate park was built in two separate time periods.

The oldest and most iconic part is the snake run bowl, which is more than 30 years old.

This bowl has a lot of history in the skating scene and is known by skaters internationally as one of only three skate areas in New Zealand identified in Thrasher magazine's notable parks.

The skate park itself is almost 20 years old.

Ross says the budget was estimated at about $300,000 when the concept design was developed.

This included repairing the existing snake run, and part of the 1990s Tom Smithers park, with the new street skating area as an extension to cater for the growing number of users.

He says the concept design was paid for previously when the budget was set and costs up until now have been staff and community time, so they still have all of the budget available.

A project page is at www.tcdc.govt.nz/whangaskatepark