12 July, 2022

Skatepark petition concerns addressed

The Warracknabeal Skate Park is set to receive an upgrade and Youth Council Officer monitoring in response to a petition sent to the Yarriambiack Shire Council.

By Sammie Louise

Skatepark petition concerns addressed - feature photo

The Warracknabeal Skate Park is set to receive an upgrade and Youth Council Officer monitoring in response to a petition sent to the Yarriambiack Shire Council.

They received the petition on October 26 last year from frequent skate park user, Cooper Preston, that asked for upgrades to the park for experienced users looking to upgrade their skills.

The council received funding to undertake a master plan of the Warracknabeal Recreation Precinct and has now included upgrades to the skatepark under the umbrella of the plan.

"I'm looking at improvements to that area that include not only the skatepark but facilities around the skatepark," Director Community Development and Wellbeing Gavin Blinman said during the June 29 council meeting.

"There are facilities you can get for parks now, seating and cupboard seating, that has charging in it so there'll be a number of things looked at as part of that master plan for improvements of the skatepark.

"Definitely, young people will be consulted around improvements to the skatepark design itself as well as the improvements to the other areas."

Youth impact officer Justin Knorpp said that upgrades for the Yarriambiack Shire recreational spaces are already on the way with Murtoa's Rabl Park upgrades.

A number of comments on the petition regarded the bullying situation at the park. One comment stated that "bullying seems to be a bit out of control at the skate park."

The council have prioritised the bullying issue so they can take action immediately.

"Our youth worker, Justin, has been out and spoken with young people in the skatepark at various times just to see what's going on and monitor behaviour at the skatepark in relation to the bullying allegations," Mr Blinman said.

"It seems that most of those issues are raised during basketball season when you have a lot of kids using the skatepark at the same time and then the older kids tend to dominate the younger kids.

"If we improve signage and maybe, leading up towards basketball season, we could do some media around skate park conditions to try and encourage parents to not only watch the basketball but watch their kids at the skatepark as well, to reduce any risk of bullying or older kids dominating the younger kids"

Mr Knorpp began monitoring the skatepark for bullying behaviour in January this year and will continue to monitor it until further notice.

He said that he had not seen any bullying thus far and that he has given advice to children should they need help in a bullying situation.

"We haven't heard of any (bullying) aside from the petition and someone mentioned that they would go if there wasn't bullying," Mr Knorpp said.

"I've mentioned to kids that if they experience any bullying to come into the Shire office and we can nip it in the bud but no one has ever come in and said there is any problem.

"We followed (the alleged bullying) up and we've told them if they hear or see anything to come see us and we can address it; but aside from the petition that went around, we've never heard anything outside of that."

Mr Knorpp said that the level of bullying needs to be minimised from the skatepark so that children can continue to enjoy the recreational activities the town has to offer.

"Doing recreational activity outside is amazing for (children's) physical and mental health so we definitely encourage (outdoor recreation)," he said.

"We just want to get kids physical, outside and enjoying all the benefits it brings you, no matter what you're doing.

It was good of those kids to get that petition out there so we can address everything, we definitely don't stand for the bullying at all."

Yarriambiack Mayor Kylie Zanker had the same opinion and was proud to see the youth of Warracknabeal making a stand.

"I just think it is really positive that a youth's voice across our community was heard in regard to what they wanted at the skatepark and the Warracknabeal Recreational Precinct," she said.

"The fact that some of that voice came from the Youth Action Council members as well. They spoke at their meeting about what they could do to be positive role models in the community, at the skate park, during basketball times and at other times of what they could do.

“I just think it's really worthwhile highlighting that youth actually see they have a voice and they're actually using that in a positive manner and presenting projects such as this to the council."


Most Popular