The existing facility at the New North Quay, which opened in 2014, was temporarily shut in January after some users were filmed on CCTV throwing concrete blocks into the marina and climbing onto a temporary roof which had been put up to allow work to take place on the adjacent Maritime Museum. It was reopened some weeks later with Ports of Jersey, which own the area, pledging £50,000 to help relocate it.
A grassy section of Jardins de la Mer – east of La Frégate Café – has been announced as the preferred location for the new facility. During the recent election hustings, a number of questions were asked about the new skatepark and six of the eight Senators elected have pledged their commitment to ensuring the project goes ahead.
Penny Lochhead, director of UK consultants PMR Leisure, which has been employed to help develop the plans, said that it was important to ensure that the politicians stick to their promises.
‘Six of the eight Senators who got in have committed to supporting the skatepark, so we have got to keep them to that,’ she said. ‘We have made it clear that we think Jardins de la Mer is the best site and we are holding meetings with planners to work out what challenges we could face at that site from a wider, technical point of view. So far no one has expressed any position against it.’
Ms Lochhead added that she did not know exactly when the new park would open but that she was working towards having a new facility in place by the end of 2019. She also said that an association dedicated to the delivery of the park, made up of 300 members, was to be officially formed in the coming weeks.
‘The Jersey Skatepark Association are about to have their first annual general meeting to make a fully fledged organisation and we are just drafting the terms of governance,’ she said. ‘We are now making an appeal to the public to support Steve Pallett [the newly elected Senator helping to lead the campaign] to help him deliver the process.’
It is not the first time a skatepark has been based at Jardins de la Mer. The Rendez-Vous facility was built at the site in 2000 but closed some years later before being replaced by the current New North Quay park.
Ms Lochhead added she and the Jersey Skatepark Association had now moved on to the early stages of the design and implementation process.
A planning application would eventually have to be submitted.
She also said that she wanted to challenge some Islanders’ negative perceptions of what a skatepark looks like and that the new facility could be a structure the public would be proud of.