Saturday, 26 September 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Dream becomes a reality as work starts on new skatepark

Physical development work on the new Mercury Bay Skatepark got underway earlier this week and is expected to take around three months to complete.

If work moves ahead on schedule, the new facility should be open for action before Christmas this year, and ready to welcome local and visiting skaters and scooters riders throughout the summer. On Monday, some of the key players in making the project possible were at Taylor’s Mistake in Whitianga to welcome the first machinery on site as Auckland-based contractor, Contrax Limited - who have significant experience in skatepark construction - moved in to commence with construction.

As well as the skate elements, the park will include new landscaping, walkways and seating. While the Mercury Bay Skatepark Trust hit its fundraising target of $150,000 earlier this year, support continues to come in from across the local business and community sectors, and the possibility of being able to provide floodlights is now also becoming a reality.

Thames-Coromandel District Council has provided $460,000 towards the cost of the project in this year’s Annual Plan. A grant of $118,000 was also secured from the Lottery Community Facilities Fund with the remaining money coming from donations, raffles and other fundraising activities.

The Mercury Bay Community Board has congratulated the trust for its highly organised and professional campaign which engaged the community and made the project happen. Trustee and long-time skateboarder, Chris Devenoges, said the long and exhausting process had definitely been worth it and thanked all who had contributed to making the dream a reality.

“The existing skatepark in Whitianga, created mostly by an awesome team of volunteers, is falling apart,” he said. “It has cracked, bumpy concrete and a clear need for more interesting features.”

With upgrades all around the skatepark as part of the Whitianga town centre redevelopment, Chris said this really put the spotlight on the park’s poor condition and the need to lift the standards, not just to meet the needs of users, but to mirror the other aesthetic improvements in the area.

According to Chris, the formation of the Mercury Bay Skatepark Trust in July 2018 was a gamechanger, bringing together a strong team with a range of different skills. “It was great to have a strong group of people working together to get this done,” he said. “The community really got on board and put in tens of thousands of dollars and because of that strong support it was possible to get a sizable grant from the Lottery Grants Board, which pushed the idea into reality.”

The Trust will continue to fundraise in order to raise the estimated $50,000 for floodlights, as well as small ongoing costs for surface treatment to increase the park’s expected life.

Pictured: From left to right - Back row: Christoph Devenoges, Caleb Jennings and Benson Lockhart from the Mercury Bay Skatepark Trust
Middle row: Andrew Scobie, TCDC project manager for the skate facility, James Hoddle (orange vest) and Todd Vincent (black shirt) from Contrax (contractors building the facility) and beside Todd is Joe Davis, kaumatua Ngati Hei.
Front row: MB Councillor Tony Fox, MB Community Board Bill McLean, Councillor Murray McLean, Community Board Chair Rekha Percival, Mayor Sandra Goudie.

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.