THE youth of Bass Coast have had to put up with inadequate recreational facilities for too long.
Now, with the support of the local council, they’re pushing ahead with plans to build one of Victoria’s premier skate parks in San Remo.
It’s set to host international competitions that will bring millions of dollars of tourism to the area.
It’s not just a dream either. The State Government’s matched a $650,000 commitment from the council for a total project cost of $1.3 million.
It’ll be on land between Marine Parade and Phillip Island Road, near the start of the bridge.
But community opposition from long-time residents is threatening to bring the project down.
Those residents want to see the skatepark elsewhere – hidden out of sight and buried near the Lions Park at the end of Back Beach Road.
Some residents just don’t want the skate park at all in their “fishing village”.
But it’s understood police are concerned there could be “dark behaviour” if it’s out of public view.
And the $650,000 from the government is dependent on the skate park being at the foreshore. If it’s moved, the grant will become void.
Skateboarders say it’s a great spot, close to public transport and visible from the main street.
The skate park, called ‘The Channel’, will include a competition-sized skate area with a bowl, along with a new play area for children.
Cameron Babare of Vortex Surf Skate Snow has seen the plans for the skate park and says it could be a world-class attraction.
“It looks like it’ll be similar, if not better, than the one at St Kilda – and it hosts international competitions,” the skateboarder said.
Deputy mayor Cr Bruce Kent says it’s the perfect spot for a skate park.
“It will give youth somewhere to go. I think maybe we need to change the name of it from skateboard park to sporting facility area because there will be BMXs, scooters, etc. – it will be a fantastic sporting place,” Cr Kent said.
“People have their concerns and we have to address them,” he said before a skate park meeting last week.
He said playgrounds usually need upgrading every 10 to 15 years.
“I believe this one is around 12 or 13 years old, so it’s due for an upgrade. Now they’re going to have a better one.”
He acknowledged there have been concerns from residents that the council didn’t do proper consultation around the location of the skate park.
“But I can honestly say that the amount of talking we’ve done now is far in excess of what we usually would have done.”
At a shire meeting last week, mayor Cr Brett Tessari said the council is committed to progressing the planning of the skate park at the San Remo foreshore.
“We’ll undertake consultation in regards to the design, integration of the park with the surrounding spaces and day-to-day operation,” the mayor said.
International skating competitions in San Remo