A campaign to build a skate park complex in North Wollongong has created a stir with Mercury readers as dozens went online to back or bash the project.
The skate park plan has divided posters, pitting supporters against those who vocally dismissed the idea, labelling it ‘‘inappropriate, stupid and not needed or wanted’’.
Many readers took issue with the skate park’s proposed location in Stuart Park, citing parking issues and its potential to reduce visitors.
Reader Yesman said: ‘‘[It’s] not something that should ever be built next to North Wollongong Beach. MacCabe Park in the centre of the city is a much better option’’, while Abs wrote: ‘‘No. Not at North Wollongong. Completely inappropriate.’’
Reader speedy suggested: ‘‘Try building one in Bellambi – give kids and youth something to do there, not Stuart Park’’, while Jeff Timbs wrote: ‘‘You can’t get a park on the street because the area is packed with people exercising and picnicking. This type of development is much more suited for the suburbs.’’
But several readers praised the spot, labelling it a perfect addition to the Blue Mile.
‘‘A skate park in Stuart Park would complement the Blue Mile and already popular Skydive The Beach,’’ reader Mark Spence said.
‘‘North Wollongong Beach deserves a skate park to match Bondi and other famous beaches around the world. Our youth need places to play and in central Wollongong the opportunities are sadly lacking. This is a great idea that deserves council and community support. Long overdue I say!’’
Reader goin North posted: ‘‘Great idea – great location. The one at Bondi is centrally located and is a feature of the beach. Love watching the talent that rolls up there. Make it a quality one council, so it brings in the quality skaters. As for families having picnics – have you ever seen Stuart Park completely full with picnicking parents? More traffic, pffft! Do it!’’
Others posted concerns about the possibility of the park attracting ‘‘hoodlums’’ and vandalism.
‘‘Stupid, stupid idea,’’ reader Wendy May wrote.
‘‘The council is broke and keeps raising rates. We simply can’t afford it and the location is awful. What does this say to visitors? Wollongong is a backward town inhabited by hoodlums?’’
But the project’s cyber supporters quickly hit back, noting the success of similar parks.
Suzanne Berriman wrote: ‘‘[Look at Venice Beach]... the park is well run and applies a number of rules, which include safety gear and no drugs and alcohol. I suggest that people think that skate parks are inhabited by thugs go and take a look...’’
Reader TK wrote: ‘‘If you visit any [new] skate parks, such as the facilities located in Macquarie Fields, Belconnen, Woden, Bondi, Waterloo/Redfern, Port Macquarie, Helensburgh or Newcastle, you will find clean, well lit and safe facilities, available for use for all people free of charge... these are not havens for trouble [but] sporting facilities used by an ever growing number of valued and important contributing members of the community...’’
A Facebook page set up in support of the idea has garnered more than 3000 fans.
Paul Peterson, who is spearheading the campaign, said he envisioned a “world-class” set-up, with facilities for BMX bikes, scooters, roller-derby teams and roller-bladers as well as skateboarding.