Expansion required for Fernvale skate park
CALLS for the expansion of Fernvale's increasingly popular skate park have been cautiously welcomed by Somerset Regional Council's mayor.
Stumer Park's skateboarding facility draws up to 50 users at any one time, residents Janet and Scott Sprecak say.
The couple's two sons, both under the age of 10, frequent the park but in the past five years have noticed it overflowing.
"In the 18 years we've been here it's got busier and busier," Mr Sprecak said.
"We're just getting overwhelmed by all the kids there, and lots of locals are leaving because people are coming from around the region to it."
Skaters as young as five years old were competing for space with experienced, talented skaters in their late teens, Mr Sprecak said.
"There definitely needs to be an expansion so there's room for all ages and skill levels."
His sons "come home sad" day after day, after waiting for their turn and not getting one.
"It's something they love doing," he said.
Mr and Mrs Sprecak attribute the increasing pressure on the park to population growth driven by several housing developments in the Fernvale area.
Fernvale Youth Inc president Lynette Lynch said children in the area needed more space to call their own.
She said the population was rising quickly and would continue to with land now being released for the next stage of Honeywood Estate.
"They do need an extension on that [skate] park," she said.
"It's just not big enough. They've got a play area but they need more shelters and seating."
Facilities such as the skate park were essential for giving kids in Fernvale something to do and curbing youth crime, she said.
The erection of a shade structure over the existing skating facility was an urgent priority she had written to Somerset Council about.
Mayor Graeme Lehmann said he had not been approached about an expansion to the skate park, but said the council was "mindful of the increased use of facilities" resulting from a growing population.
He said Somerset Council had recently spent more than $33,000 on a lighting upgrade at the Fernvale Indoor Sports Centre, $615,000 on new cycle paths in the area and $1.8million on the Fernvale Sports Park, which includes netball, AFL and cricket grounds frequented by young people.
"Council is always spending money on things for young people to do, and we're mindful of the needs of the youth in terms of the skate park," Cr Lehmann said.
"The skate park is something we'll have a look at."
He encouraged residents with concerns and ideas to get in touch with the council.
"We're always keen to sit down and talk to people," he said.