Open Letter to ACT Election Candidates about Skateboarding and Skate Parks in Canberra

With the 2020 ACT Election upcoming, we have sent the following letter out to candidates which outlines what we think could improve
skateboarding and skate parks in Canberra. A PDF version can be found below if you would like to pass this on to a candidate in your electorate.

Dear Candidate

One of the many rad things about Canberra is its gnarly skateboarding community. We are stoked that our community is growing, but Canberra’s skateparks are failing to keep up.

Canberra Skateboarding Association’s members would love to see the ACT Government develop and implement a comprehensive plan for the ongoing maintenance of our existing public skateparks, and the construction of new skateparks and skate-friendly public spaces.

With the election coming up, would we have your support in the Legislative Assembly?

Canberra Skateboarding Association is a volunteer-run not-for-profit association that represents Canberra’s skateboarding community and provides free skateboarding lessons at local skateparks.

Canberra’s skate parks are always busy with families and people of all ages, genders, backgrounds and abilities, riding anything from BMX, roller skates, and (of course) skateboards. With many having lights, Canberra’s skateparks are used for up to 16+ hours per day on every day that the sun is shining. Research has also shown that skateboarding provides significant community and public health benefits (e.g. Skateboarding and the Inclusion of Young People in the Community).

Canberra has produced some of Australia’s most talented skateboarders, including some who compete internationally at the elite level and could be Olympic contenders.

Canberra has a near 40 year history of being a world leader in providing public skateparks, initially with facilities like Charnwood bowl, Kambah halfpipe, Erindale ‘banks’ and the original Belconnen skatepark. Many Australian and international skateboarders and skateboarding companies include Canberra in their annual travel itinerary, particularly for iconic events like Belco Bowl Jam.

Unfortunately Canberra is beginning to fall behind in the provision and management of contemporary skateparks. Some facilities are lacking in repair and maintenance, and Canberra does not yet have a vertical halfpipe that meets international competition standards. The 2011 redevelopment of Belco skatepark required the demolition of the existing halfpipe. A replacement was included in the design of the new facility, but was not delivered (see image):


Modern facilities being built across Australia are leaping ahead in design and quality, with large competition bowls (Bar Beach, Bateau Bay, Ryde, Nobel Park, Scarborough Beach), competition-standard vertical halfpipes (Mona Vale, West Beach, Sydney Olympic Park), pump tracks (Terry Hills, Meakin, Murray Bridge, Rivergums, Browns Plains, Glenroy) and modern street facilities (Eveleigh, Sydenham, Boxhill, St Claire, Onslow).

We are grateful that the ACT Government recently allocated $500,000 for much needed repairs to Woden and Belco skateparks, and hopeful that this maintenance will be planned in consultation with the skateboarding community as previous works in some cases resulted in little improvement or deteriorated prematurely.

Our community would be stoked to see a comprehensive plan for the ongoing maintenance of Canberra’s skateparks, and the construction of new skateparks and skate-friendly spaces.

I encourage you to have a look at what modern skate-friendly regions are doing, such as the Skate Melbourne Plan.

I hope that we can receive your commitment to maintaining Canberra’s status as an internationally renowned skateboarding destination.

Canberra Skateboarding Association and its members are more than happy to share our ideas and expertise with you further.

Canberra Skateboarding Association

25 September 2020