Pictured above: Whangamata skate park concept design, click to view the full document. We asked the Whangamata community to think about the proposed design (pictured above) for the refurbishment and repairs of the existing skate park on Martyn Road (1265m2 approximately in size), and construction of a street skate area next to the existing bowl on top of the bank on the park side. “The idea is to create a better link and flow from the shelter area and create a street skate ‘zone’,” says Ross Ashby, our Council's project manager. “We want to focus acknowledge the importance of the existing bowl for skating history in Whangamata, but at the same time give it a new lease of life so the next generation can continue to express themselves in new creative and exciting ways." “The sport of skateboarding is growing and will make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 games. We want to represent our local talent by ensuring we have a design that meets the growing interests and abilities,” says Mr Ashby. This week we met with a small group of skateboarding enthusiasts including students from the Whangamata Area School (pictured right) and Shane Munden, owner of Saltwater surf shop, to discuss the project. The existing skate park was built in two separate time periods. The oldest and most iconic part is the snake run bowl, which is over 30 years old. This bowl has a lot of history in the skating scene in Whangamata, and is known by skaters internationally as one of only three skate areas in New Zealand identified in Thrasher magazine’s notable parks. The skate park itself is almost 20 years old and the report done by Premium Skate Park Designs in 2017 highlights a lot of the students’ concerns such as damage, chipped and broken concrete, poor drainage, congestion over the peak period, and most of the features not being functional and dangerous to use. The group really liked the new design which changes some of the parts of the old park that don’t work and are dangerous. They also had some great ideas that will make the existing bowl a whole lot better to slide and grind, as well as identifying areas that could include some street art, to name a few. We also proposed to ban BMX bikes to keep the park from being damaged and improve safety. BMX riders are encouraged to use the bike park track across the road from the skate park. Now we would like to hear from the wider community: what do you think of the concept design, and what do you like or dislike about the current park and any other comments or ideas you might have. You can view the full concept design here.