Skateboarders to put case for mall by-law rethink

An ongoing dispute between rangers and skateboarders over skating in the centre of Alice Springs will come to a head at the town’s council meeting on Monday night.

Skateboarders say they want a better relationship with rangers and are lobbying for a by-law prohibiting skating in the Todd Mall and the CBD to be repealed.

Local skateboarder Matty Day says the top end of the mall was redeveloped to encourage more people into the area, with the council installing skate-friendly seating.

“I think excluding skateboarders from that part of town and from the CBD really sends a message to young people that they’re not welcome and I think skateboarding is a key part of youth culture and youth culture goes, well there’s too many rules, it’s not a fun place to be. Why would we want to go there?” he said.

He says the council rangers should not alienate the youth of Alice Springs.

“The original vision of it and the purpose of it as well is to create a place where young people feel comfortable,” he said.

“Hopefully by having more young people in the CBD being young people enjoying themselves, feeling safe, that they’ll also start shopping more with local shops in the area.”

Councillor Steve Brown says he will be voting against changing the by-law at Monday’s night’s council meeting.

“You have to balance it for the entire community and that’s it,” he said.

“I mean everybody’s got to use that space and this whole furore has arisen around … a couple of seats halfway up the mall where they’re supposedly designed to skate on,” he said.

“They’re actually designed so that they can be skated on but they’re designed to sit on. They’re seats.

“I don’t think there was ever any misunderstanding on my part in that direction.

“I’ve always understood what the issues were and the issues haven’t changed.

“The mall and the CBD is the area that there’s been a bit of confrontation over and it’s for everybody and skating is a sport and just one sport and the two things don’t mix.”

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