Creative local school children are carving out a welcome role in Christchurch City Council’s skate park revamp plans.
A group of 16 children from St Albans School presented their design ideas for a planned extension to the St Albans skate park to Council staff members who were invited to attend a meeting at the school.
The children are members of the school’s student council, representing children from all year groups across the school from new entrants up to Year 6.
Their suggestions – put together in a professional power point presentation - include adding a smaller ramp and obstacle course designed for younger skaters and scooter riders, providing chalk for drawing on the concrete, a storage shed for sports gear, "a nice shelter" and seating, more games and "pretend traffic lights" for practising road safety.
St Albans School Teacher Niamh O’Connor says the kids are motivated and enjoying being part of a real-life design project.
“The whole process is a fantastic opportunity for them. They’ve experienced how the Council consults with the public and to allow our student leaders to have a voice in the community is quite empowering.”
St Albans student Oscar says it was really fun to hear what the younger children wanted. “Some of the ideas were a bit tricky to put in our presentation but we think we did a good job at making sure every idea was put forward.”
Fellow student Mannat says it will be exciting to see what happens next. “It would be pretty awesome to see some of the ideas we collected end up in the final plan.”
A draft plan for revamping the existing St Albans skate park on Forfar St to include new elements for skaters and scooter riders at a beginner level should be ready for consultation later this year so that construction work can begin next year.
The Council hopes another local school will be keen to get involved and contribute ideas for Bishopdale Park’s skate area which is nearing the end of its lifespan. The skate area, which is part of Bishopdale Park, off Harewood Rd, is due for a full renewal.
A draft plan will be created and formally consulted on later this year and the plan is for building work to get underway next year.
Council Head of Parks Andrew Rutledge says having local schools get involved in skate park projects is incredibly valuable. “Council staff are always looking for interesting ways to really engage with the community, especially its younger members, so this project has been very satisfying and enjoyable for everyone involved.
“We hope the final outcome will be that we have young people feeling part of a new development in their area and we can also create great skate parks that meet their needs.”