Wednesday, 20 March 2019

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Fundraising for new skatepark formally underway

Fundraising for a new skatepark in Whitianga is formally underway. A sign close to where the new skatepark is earmarked to be built at Taylor’s Mistake has been put up. The sign contains a barometer indicating how much of the newly established Mercury Bay Skate Park Trust’s initial target of $150,000 has been raised.

Thames-Coromandel District Council allocated $10,000 to be spent on the new skatepark in their current financial year and $14,000 in their 2019/2020 financial year. They’re planning for the skatepark to be built in their 2020/2021 financial year and allocated $469,000 towards the development costs.

“Council is expecting the community to raise half of the $469,000 earmarked to be spent in our 2020/2021 financial year,” says Allan Tiplady, TCDC District Manager North.

The Mercury Bay Skate Park Trust has assumed responsibility for the community fundraising that’s required to build the skatepark and will also work with TCDC on the design of the skatepark. The trustees of the trust - Chris Devenoges, Benson Lockhart, Caleb Jennings and Ford Leins - are not only keen skateboarders and scooterers willing to put in the hard yards to make the skatepark happen, they are also happy to put their money where their mouths are. Through their own contributions and a generous sponsorship from The Informer, the trust has already $6,000 in its bank account.

“We’re in the process of printing t-shirts which we’ll be selling around the Mercury Bay area to raise funds and we’ve also set up a Givealittle page where people can donate to the cause,” says Chris. “People are also more than welcome to donate directly into our bank account. We’ll be incorporating some form of recognition, something like a plaque, into the skatepark, embedding the names of those who supported us into eternity.”

The design for the skatepark has not yet been finalised. Once that has been done and construction quotes have been obtained, the Mercury Bay Skate Park Trust will apply for grants from gaming trusts and other community funders. “A design brief for the skatepark has been finalised and sent out to prospective contractors who have the capability to design and build the skatepark,” says Chris. “We’ll take the preferred design to the community for their input before it’s signed off.”

The design brief requires the skatepark to be an open, safe and transparent area for young people to get together and socialise, to be shaded, to cater for all levels of ability, to have viewing areas and seating for spectators and to potentially incorporate other sports like basketball and parkour.

“We hope to get good traction with our fundraising,” says Chris. “Skateboarding and scootering is something the whole family can do. It’s convenient, fun and cheap. It’s a never-ending challenge. There’s always an envelope that can be pushed.

“The existing skatepark in Whitianga is very popular, but is woefully inadequate. The Mercury Bay area really needs a good quality skatepark that will be able to serve the community for many years to come.

“If our fundraising goes well, we hope to see the new skatepark being built earlier than planned.”

Allan Tiplady says it’s possible for construction of the skatepark to start before TCDC’s 2020/2021 financial year, but that will require Mercury Bay Community Board and council approval.

The sign that has been put up in Taylor’s Mistake containing the fundraising barometer has been sponsored by TCDC, David Bayer Designs and Coastal Signs. PlaceMakers Whitianga is also on board with the new skatepark and will supply some of the materials that will be required during the construction process at cost price.

To donate to a new skatepark in Whitianga, go to www.givealittle.co.nz (search for “Whitianga Skatepark”) or make a deposit in the Westpac bank account of the Mercury Bay Skate Park Trust, account number 03 1578 0110921 000.

The Informer will report at least monthly on how planning of and fundraising for the new skatepark are progressing.

Caption - The trustees of the newly formed Mercury Bay Skate Park Trust at the fundraising sign for a new Whitianga skatepark in Taylors Mistake and their children. From the left – Ford Leins, Chris Devenoges, William Lockhart, Benson Lockhart, Ruben Jennings, Caleb Jennings and Lennox Jennings.

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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.