Page 2705 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 21 September 2022

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We also heard from Dr Sophie Lewis, the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, at the same event. A lot of people walked up to her afterwards and asked her, on a scale of one to 10, how much they should be panicking. I think that authority figures are being asked that question. It is actually good to have a look not only at the panic scale but also at all of the amazing stuff that is happening right here in the ACT, and at all of the solutions that are now starting to come together on some of these really complex problems.

It has been a bit of a ride in the last week, and I wanted to take a moment and have a chat about some of it.

Sport and recreation—skateboarding facilities

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (5.38): I wish to talk about sports facilities in my electorate of Murrumbidgee. Skateboarding is a solo sport of freedom for many young people and adults alike. However, there is a lack of adequate facilities throughout Murrumbidgee. One area severely lacking anything to support skateboarding is Molonglo Valley. Molonglo is a rapidly developing area with thousands of young people and families moving in. Despite this, there are not many spaces for young people and those interested in skateboarding to enjoy.

Skateboarding is recognised internationally through its recent introduction to the Tokyo Olympics, yet Molonglo is lacking facilities for those wanting to learn near their homes. A local non-profit organisation, the Canberra Skateboarding Association, focuses on giving Canberrans the opportunity to learn for free, but many do not feel comfortable going to the skateparks outside of their local areas for these lessons. If they had something closer to home, it would create access to the freedom and public health benefits that skateboarding provides.

The proposal for Murrumbidgee is to create smaller incidental facilities scattered throughout the suburbs—smaller skateable spots, especially in lesser-used public parks. These locations can be transformed into inclusive, multipurpose spaces, with the goal of bringing more people to these parks. An example of facilities similar to this are the Stirling and Rivett mini ramps, which were built in the 90s in the empty space near playgrounds. What is currently stopping this from happening is a large amount of hostile architecture being installed. This type of design prevents skaters and those doing similar sports from enjoying our public spaces, and discourages the sport.

Focusing on decorative architecture that actively prevents skateboarding creates a lack of enjoyment in these areas. The alternative is to create long-lasting skateable sculptures, seats, ledges and objects. The addition of these multi-purpose structures would provide enjoyment for the skateboard community, while also providing seating and additional decoration in parks for those who do not skate. Some examples consist of wave-like features, as these are not only skateable, but add variety to the decoration of the space. Installation of skateable architecture creates multi-purpose parks and suburbs, leading to more community interaction and a safer, well-used environment.

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