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Council Caters For Skaters

Skateboarding, in-line skating and freestyle BMX cycling have attracted controversy, but the Christchurch City Council says it is committed to helping children take part in the sports.

To this end, the Council has produced a draft strategy for the sports and will be seeking views about it from the Fendalton-Waimairi Community Board next week.
A report by Alan Bywater, team leader (planning) of the Council’s leisure unit, says the sports represent important recreation activities for children and youth as an alternative to conventional sport.

“The Council has a commitment to address the needs of young people…It is important that the Council addresses the current and future provision for these activities,” he says.

The strategy was initiated to attempt to bring some co-ordination to the work going on in a number of different areas of the Council to develop skate facilities future, he said.

The number of skateboarders had grown steadily in the 1990s and in-line skating was expected to show strong growth. There were now about 400 in-line hockey players in the city.

Freestyle BMX had much lower levels of participation than skateboarding and in-line skating, mostly because of its difficulty to learn and high risk of injury, Mr Bywater said.

The Council provided skate facilities at 10 sites and there were four privately operated skate facilities.

Areas needing new skate facilities were Riccarton-Ilam-Burnside, Linwood, Richmond-Shirley, the central city, Aranui-South Brighton, and Parklands.
Facilities were being developed at Jellie and Linwood parks.

Hagley Park could be used more for in-line skating if the pathways were regularly swept and widened, he said.

Freestyle BMX riders were happy to share facilities with skateboarders and in-line skaters but there was a need to address health and safety concerns.


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