National award for skate park

Maroochy Shire Council in Queensland recently won the National Healthy Hearts Award for the best Outdoor Recreation Facility in Australia. Maroochy's Petrie Park Skate and Bike Facility was opened last February.

The idea to build the skate and bike park was initiated by a group of young people seeking somewhere safe and legal to skateboard. Enlisting the support of the Nambour Youth and Community Combined Action (YACCA) program, the group was able to attract the necessary funding from the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments and Council.

The YACCA program, which focuses on youth safety, crime prevention and recreation facilities, was itself highly commended in the 'Outstanding Project by a Community Organisation' category of the Healthy Hearts Awards.

As well as assisting with the development of the skate and bike facility, the program provides information and referral services for local young people, along with recreation and outreach programs. It has been cited as having directly influenced a reduction in graffiti related vandalism in Nambour.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the award winning park is the training initiative it provided for young people in the Shire. Five unemployed young people, working with a coordinator, were employed by Maroochy Shire under the Local Government Municipal Workers' Traineeship Program to complete the project.

"The development of the Petrie Park Skate and Bike Facility has not only provided our young people with an excellent recreational facility, but it has also given them the chance to actively participate in a community oriented program, and to recognise themselves as important members of the community," said Maroochy Mayor, Don Culley.

Council plans to continue to involve local youth in the ongoing management and development of the skateboard park. A second stage will include the installation of the half pipe section, renovation of the old skate bowl and a community arts project recognising the contribution of young people.

"To be judged as having the best outdoor recreation facility in Australia is quite an achievement, and one of which we can all be proud," the Mayor said.

For further information contact Geoff Adamson CEO, telephone (07) 5441 8211.