Page 4703 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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• The holes were at least 500-600mm deep with a diameter of around 1 metre and hence hazardous for pedestrians in the park, particularly walkers using the park at dusk;

• The holes had the potential to fill up with water and harbor mosquitoes in the warmer months;

• Some of the jumps were up to 1 metre high and also quite steep, creating potential safety issues.

• The presence of the track had also led to degradation of the park’s grass cover.

(2) There was no notice given to the children, as it was not known who constructed the jumps and urgent action was required to make the area safe.

(3) Yes.

(4) The youth were not identified/sighted prior to the removal of the jumps and as such were not advised of alternative options.

(5) The nearest park with skate equipment is in Telopea Park. The next closest multiuse facility is located in the City.

(6) Major multipurpose skateparks are developed to serve a population of around 25,000 to 50,000 people, as is the case with district parks. The skatepark for Central Canberra is located in the City. Some users travel from all over the ACT and from interstate to use these facilities.

(7) There are currently five multi-use skateparks within Canberra. The multi-use skate/BMX parks are located in: Belconnen, Gungahlin, Civic, Weston and Tuggeranong. There are further mini facilities at Charnwood, Holt, Dickson, Campbell, Telopea Park, Rivett, Stirling, Kambah, Fadden, Richardson and also the Glebe Park temporary facility. In addition to these parks, there are BMX Club operated tracks in Melba and Kambah.

(8) No. The holes were filled in on the morning of 28 September 2005 using a front-end loader. The staff on site at the time reported that there was no bike buried or damaged during this operation. Following a Canberra Times article of 29 September 2005 concerning the matter, staff inspected the site and found the remains of an old bike, minus a wheel, pedals and seat partially buried in one of the old holes. These remains were removed from the site and impounded under provisions of the Uncollected Goods Act 1996. The remains are available for collection by the owner.

(9) Three other tracks have been removed from park areas over the last year in Hughes, Theodore and Monash. However, the Department will allow BMX tracks to remain in place in appropriate locations if they are small and informal, do not pose a potential threat to other users of the area, do not damage vegetation and are not likely to hold water or be a potential erosion source. The abovementioned tracks were not in this category. Whilst recognising the efforts of young people to build BMX tracks, duty of care must take precedence in public areas. Unfortunately, damage often occurs to trees and unstabilised soil is subject to erosion. Deep holes constitute a potential hazard to other users of the parks, particularly those who may walk or jog through them when visibility is low.

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