Council Trials Skateboard Competition

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By Sean Coughlin


St Kilda has some amazing news for the skateboard community. Last month, a seven year old boy named Julian Lawton asked Port Phillip Council, “Why do other kids who play footy etc get to have a Competition, I don’t understand when skating is my sport why I can’t go in a Competition at St Kilda, I live to skate!”. The community has come together to over turn a ban for a trial skateboarding competition, approved by the Mayor and Council.

The Marina Reserve has a great skateboarding facility with a lot of space to house it’s very own competition and many residents of St Kilda are coming together to ask for a competition to be held.

The area is open to enjoy a day at the ramps but no competition has ever been held for skateboarding. Many in the community presented the idea of holding a competitive event to Port Phillip Council. The residence in the area do not agree with having a competition due the restrictions the previous council had implemented in 2011 stating “the active recreation zone must not have skating competitions or any other events in the area”.

Others in the community also refer to the previous Council position to uphold and respect this current rule. The deputy negated events after an extensive consultation at the skate park and the concern was mainly bringing an unsafe feel to the environment. If the road would have to be blocked for the event, that may cause an issue for the residents around the area.

Skaters at the public Council meeting on September 9th did have their own word, with professional skateboarder Renton Millar stepping up to the microphone stating “I think that it is discriminatory that if you are a footy, cricket, or tennis kid you can compete in St Kilda, but if you are a skate kid you can’t.” Deputy Mayor Cr Serge Thomann spoke glowingly of the positive community benefits brought not just by the facility, but by the community that use it.

Mr Millar continued with his statement saying “St Kilda has one of the best facilities in the world. In reality a skateboard contest would be virtually the same disruption as what goes on every Saturday at the skate park. Well behaved active kids practising a positive activity. The only difference’s that it is organised.

All you need for skate contests is a judges table and I think that the people opposing it think we want to build a grandstand or close Marine Parade, that’s not the case. This issue is similar to that when we were campaigning for the skate park: A few people that have fears that are holding back a lot of positivity for hundreds of kids and adults. The fears aren’t well founded. The kids are the biggest losers.”

Many children in the community will miss out of the competitive side of their passion for skateboarding and speaking on behalf of all young skateboarders was two primary school aged boys who very courageously presented their cases to the Council. The event’s ban policy was originally put in place as the community had concerns about the type of people who would use the facility. A review is now warranted as these community fears have been proven unfounded.

Former Australian Champion and president of MOSS Foundation Rob Francis presented his foundation to Council and after their decision has expressed his gratitude by saying “MOSS Foundation is pleased that Port Phillip Council is planning a trial event as part of a community consultation process. Youth in other main stream sports are free to compete every week, but currently skateboarders are not permitted to do this at their sporting facility at Marina Reserve.”

After many community discussions a one-off event for a consultation was discussed and the decision was approved, but the event won’t be happening until mid 2015. MOSS Foundation will be holding the annual MOSS Jam skate event and fund raiser for African water projects on Sat Oct 4th. The Skate Culture Charity Auction will be held at The Vineyard Restaurant on Acland St, but due to the Council & DEPI ban, the small scale family skate event will be held at Mt Eliza.

This trial will be a gathering for all skaters to compete, enjoy and have fun for the whole community. If everything goes well it will possibly be a future event area for all skateboarding fanatics and those who really want to thrive in their passion. More information will be available as the trial draws closer and is expected to be hosted in mid 2015.

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