Skate park will be reopened

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Assistant Minister for the Economic Development Department Steve Pallett, who has responsibility for sport, said he was intending to sign a contract later this week passing official responsibility for the New North Quay facility, which is on land belonging to Ports of Jersey, to Economic Development.

However, he said that the park would need to be supervised and would only be opening during weekends and school holidays. He added that the move was a temporary measure.

Mr Pallett said: ‘We never wanted to see a much-loved and great venue shut down but from a health and safety point of view it is in a commercial port with a lot of heavy goods traffic passing by. It should never have been put there.

‘Ports of Jersey and the Economic Development department are looking to sign an agreement lasting until 1 September which will essentially see EDTSC take over the running and management of the site.’

Mr Pallett added that he was determined to find a new site within the coming months and named South Hill, Lower Park and Victoria Avenue as potential locations. He said: ‘Long-term, we are looking at putting something in a safer position which people can access the majority of the time. It all depends on where it is. We have to be mindful of issues such as noise and potential vandalism. I think it needs to be in St Helier – about one-third of the population live there. We are also looking to set up a working group to help find a solution.’

Following the closure of the New North Quay facility, Ports of Jersey pledged £50,000 to find a more suitable location for the facility.

Patryk Kucza, a frequent user of the skate park, said that any new facility needed to be of a high standard and that provision for extreme sports was very limited in the Island.

The BMX rider, who won the JEP’s Pride of Jersey Ambassador of the Year Award in September, also said that fellow cyclist Alex Coleborn – who is billed to take part in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo – had been forced to leave Jersey to train in the UK over the lack of facilities.

‘Freestyle BMX and skating is going to be included in the next Olympics and we have some really talented skaters and riders here,’ he said. ‘Alex has been nominated for the 2018 CI Sports Personality Award and is one of the best BMX riders in the world – he could be Jersey’s first extreme sports Olympic athlete. We are seen as a sideshow – people do not realise the talent we have here.’

This week, it was announced that the First Tower Residents Association – which was unsuccessful in building a new skate park in St Andrew’s Park last year – was now looking at two other potential sites.

Asked what he thought of the proposals, Mr Kucza said that he believed that the First Tower area was a suitable location but was sceptical over whether it would ever be completed.

He said: ‘It sounds like there has been a lot more money put on the table and people have been talking but this is not something that will happen overnight.

‘I can still remember when they closed the one at the Waterfront, it was two or three years before they replaced it.’

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