A new association has been formed, and a project leader appointed, as progress towards a new skatepark in Jersey steps up a notch.
The Jersey Skateparks Association shadow committee, which was created with support from Jersey Sport, is working closely with Penny Lochhead from PMR Leisure to build the case for an exciting high-quality facility.
The existing skatepark at New North Quay was closed earlier this year for safety reasons, and now opens only at weekends and during holidays as a temporary measure while a new location is found.
“It was very important that we reacted quickly to establish a working party on this project,” said Constable Steve Pallett, the Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture Assistant Minister with responsibility for sport.
“The extreme sports community has helped generate really good momentum and I’m committed to working with them and the new project group to develop a new facility which works for everyone.”
A public meeting to present the latest information will be held at the Town Hall at 7pm on Wednesday, 4th April.
Karl Payne, the Jersey Skateparks Association shadow chairperson, added: “The Jersey Skateparks Association is an ear and a voice for young people and the community, made up from riders who have volunteered to listen to other riders and then communicate their needs and ideas into the installation of a world class facility.
“Our focus will be on rider-led design and promoting skateboarding, BMXing, roller blading, street arts and any other activities that would be practiced in a skatepark as healthy and positive lifestyles.
“The appointment of PMR was the right way to go for us – So many people have been supportive of having a world class facility built, but support alone has not built the park. PMR’s role as Project Manager is to use the knowledge and experience gained in other community projects to convert all of this support and enthusiasm into a world class facility that islanders need.
“Jersey Sport has been fundamental in pulling together an official body from a diverse set of individuals. Their time and expertise in guiding us from a crowd to a formed association is key in having our sports recognised locally.”
PMR Leisure has already spent days consulting parents, riders, youth service representatives and the planning department amongst other key stakeholders. Their role is not just to look into where a new skatepark could be built, but also to set out the social case for a new facility.
“Extreme sports cross the barriers of age, gender and social background to levels that can’t be matched by other sports,” said PMR Leisure’s project leader Penny Lochhead.
“We’re working hard with agencies and supporters to ensure the site is the right one and will give this sport the presence it deserves for today’s and most importantly tomorrow’s skaters, BMX riders and those younger-generation of keen scooter riders.
“What has been key is that every door I have been through in such a short time has fully backed this project and people are willing to stand up and be counted as they recognise the need to see quality facilities for this sport in the island.
“With the onset of skateboarding in the Olympics in 2020, Jersey needs to provide facilities for young people to train on and therefore the opportunity, should they wish, to follow the Olympic dream.”
James Tilley, Sports Partnership Manager for Jersey Sport, said: “It’s great to see such enthusiasm and passion within the skateparks community. The personal stories of how involvement with the sports can change lives and develop life skills are really quite powerful and emotive.
“We’re pleased to be supporting the new Jersey Skateparks Association who are taking a focused, structured and coordinated approach to promoting the sports, developing athlete pathways and opportunities from beginner to elite rider and representing the voice of the skateparks community in Jersey. The association is at the very early stages and our role is to support the shadow committee and offer on-going support.”