Backflip on skate park

LONG GRIND: The Hills councillor Jeff Lowe has spearheaded a campaign to ensure the skate park at Balcombe Heights Estate is upgraded. Picture: Isabella Lettini.
LONG GRIND: The Hills councillor Jeff Lowe has spearheaded a campaign to ensure the skate park at Balcombe Heights Estate is upgraded. Picture: Isabella Lettini.

COUNCILLORS initially opposed to upgrading the Balcombe Heights Estate skate park have done a 360.

It was initially left out of The Hills Council’s 2017-18 budget, but there was unanimous support for the skate park upgrade at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

The $360,000 skate park upgrade will be approved on the condition a report will be shown at the next council meeting on Tuesday, July 25.

The report to provide more details on the upgrade caused some frustration as many projects were recently approved despite having little information in council’s 2017-18 budget.

Councillor Alan Haselden included the condition to ensure that “if we do it, let’s do it right”.

Fellow councillor Jeff Lowe, who has spent a lot of time at the skate park to find out what people want, told the council it had 15 items worth more than $4.8 million of major projects with very little detail in the 2017-18 budget. 

Some of those projects include $1 million for the Castle Hill Showground redevelopment design and $1.8 million for three playing fields at Box Hill. 

Councillor Ray Harty was disappointed with the decision to wait for a report, saying it would not provide any new information.

Fellow councillor Michelle Byrne said she would vote for the skate park upgrade when it next came to council.

Despite the small delay in getting the upgrade approved, Cr Lowe described the unanimous support of councillors as a great result for residents.

“It was a victory for the skating community,” Cr Lowe said.

“Not only has the Balcombe Heights Estate skate park been put on the agenda, this has put all skate parks in The Hills on the agenda.”

The issue attracted a lot of interest from the skating community, with several families showing support.

Connie Keith from the Balcombe Heights Estate 355 committee was also present to show her support for upgrading the skate park.

“Balcombe Heights Estate is a community facility for everyone, no matter what age you are,” Ms Keith told the News.

Mayor Yvonne Keane thanked Cr Lowe at Tuesday’s council meeting for “putting skate parks on council’s strategic radar”.