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October 6, 2020
Culture

Designs for the new city skate park have dropped

Slated for completion by mid-2021, the northwest parklands skate park will be the South Australian skate scene's crown jewel, with a destination bowl, massive cradle and references to the city and the former skate park throughout.

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  • Words: Angela Skujins
  • Main image: A render of the design by CONVIC

Melbourne skate park designers CONVIC unveiled the first concept designs of Adelaide’s new city skate park last week.

We already knew it would be located on the corner of West Terrace and Glover Avenue in Narnungga Gladys Elphick Park, and that it’ll cater to skateboarders, BMXers, scooter(er)s and all other bedecked or spoked riders.

But a new report accompanying the design has unveiled the park’s three distinct sections, each catering to varying skill levels.

The beginner section will include low-height ramps and street features conducive for learning, and, like the rest of the park, is covered with shade from nearby native trees. There will also be a spectator area from which Mum and Dad can watch.

Medium-level skilled skaters can cruise in the plaza – “the centrepiece for the design,” a voiceover in the accompanying video says. This area will accommodate large amounts of skaters, and its aesthetic nods to the Adelaide Festival Plaza and Hindley Street.

An advanced stair set “paying homage to the iconic stair sets of the former city park” connects the plaza to a large competition bowl. The bowl is for pros and includes an 8ft taco and a terrifying-looking cradle.

It’s been five years since the former state government tore down the old North Terrace skate park, making way for the now-bustling health precinct.

In the interim, a temporary skate park was established in Ityamai-Itpina King Rodney Park, but this was widely seen as an unfit replacement, with issues such as a lack of toilets making the site unsuitable.

Last year, the Marshall Government announced it would spend $3 million on a new park, which would be informed by community consultation and ready to go by 2020.

Obviously, that deadline has passed, but it appears we’re getting closer.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is thrilled to commit $3 million for a new City Skate Park on the corner of West Tce and Glover Ave – and I really urge the community to view the plans on the City of Adelaide’s website in the coming weeks,” says Member for Adelaide Rachel Sanderson via a statement.

The City of Adelaide has also participated in the development of the new skate park since the State Government’s announcement last year.

“Our team has worked closely with the City Skate Park Advisory Group and wider community to guide the design of the new City Skate Park,” says Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor.

“The end result will be a skate park that’s inviting, family friendly, caters for a range of disciplines and skill levels and be stand out destination within South Australia’s skate park network.”

Allan Mawer also owns cult skate shop Twenty Fifty Two. Picture by Joshua Fanning

A veteran of Adelaide’s skate scene and co-founder of the South Australian Skate Space Association, Allan Mawer tells CityMag it’s about time something concrete has been offered.

“The temporary [skate park] was their way of trying to get a quick fix, Band-Aid fix over something that didn’t work,” Al says.

“If they spent an extra six to 12 months on this process, you’d have a permanent skate park a year or two years earlier than what you’ve got now – and you wouldn’t have wasted the money on this temporary monstrosity that they built.”

Al would like to see clarification around issues of facilities at the new skate park: toilet infrastructure, security features and access to public transport. But he says he’s happy overall with the concept design; it’s wider than the former skate park and includes some features that make it “world-class”.

He’s also keen to see more architectural acceptance of skaters and their ilk within the city.

“If you push them away from the rest of society, like at Paradise, you’ve got nothing but trouble. So kids aren’t safe and people can do whatever… they want,” he says.

“There’s not much to nitpick from the plan apart from looking at how it’s integrated into the actual cityscape, as opposed to segregated out somewhere. That’s been an argument that we put on the table with council seven years ago.

“[But] it’s got an amazing place, and it works for what it needs to do… It looks like it’ll be a lot of fun and it’ll be a spot that a lot of people are going to want to come to.”

Al’s ideal vision is for the city to incorporate the needs of skaters into its urban design.

“We’re still the only country in the world with a helmet law and [we have a] government that doesn’t want to look at integrating that form of travel and space creation, which culturally is what sets us back from places like Europe, where they’re integrating these spaces all over their cityscapes because they can see the value of doing so,” Al says.

Subscribe to CityMag for updates as the new city skate park becomes a reality.

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