Politicians are being asked to confirm Les Quennevais as the preferred site of a new skatepark after it emerged new locations were being considered.
Put forward by former Assistant Minister for Sport, Senator Steve Pallett, the proposition requests that an application to build the new skatepark be brought forward no later than 26 February 2021.
According to a report accompanying his proposal, plans for the skatepark had been on track throughout 2020, including the appointment of designers, and ecological ground assessments.
However, these were halted in mid-September when officers stated they wanted to consider an alternative park in South Hill in St. Helier instead, citing “concerns on the long-term development of the Sports Centre at Les Quennevais.”
Pictured: Concept designs for the park had been drafted up by CONSTRUCTO Skatepark Architecture.
Describing the turn as “out of the blue” and “a bit of a shock", Senator Pallett said in the report that he “reluctantly agreed to a short-one month review” of South Hill, but believed “the change of heart was driven by external interference.”
Following Senator Pallet’s resignation as Assistant Minister in November, however, he no longer had any involvement in overseeing the project.
Commenting on South Hill’s suitability, Senator Pallett said: "The latest ‘uncompleted’ feasibility study also commented that the stability of the rock face needed to be assessed, that there is ground contamination and that a skatepark development would have 'significant impact' on the site as a Grade 2 Listed Place."
Pictured: New North Quay Skatepark was closed in 2018, but was reopened with the agreement that a new skatepark would be sought as soon as possible.
He continued: “The site itself only has 1,125m2 of available space compared with the 2,000 m2 that is required. I therefore think it’s fair to say that South Hill is not a suitable option for the new main skatepark for Jersey.”
Emphasising the need to choose Les Quennevais, he added: “The only way that can realistically happen is to proceed with Les Quennevais and not change track and consider an alternative site whether it be South Hill or another site.
“To move to another site will involve a similar degree of consultation that was carried out for Les Quennevais Sports Centre, and that will undoubtedly require several months to complete.
“Failing to consult with all key stakeholders and the wider public would undermine the process that has been followed to date at Les Quennevais and further damage any confidence the public has in government.”
Pictured: Senator Steve Pallett had been overseeing the new skatepark at Les Quennevais until his resignation in November 2020.
Earlier this week, a letter to Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham from Deputy David Johnson similarly requested answers to why the feasibility study on South Hill had taken place, and if Les Quennevais was still an option for the new skatepark.
It's the latest chapter in a three-year search for a new Skate Park, which began when Ports of Jersey closed the New North Quay skatepark in 2018 due to safety concerned.
Though the park reopened after an agreement between Ports of Jersey Limited and the Economic Department, it was signed with an understanding the Government would progress to seek a new site for the skatepark.
As part of this, specialists PMR composed a report in 2018 suggesting four new sites for the skatepark – Jardins de la Mer, Coronation Park, Springfield Stadium and Les Quennevais Sports Centre.
Pictured: Months of work on the Les Quennevais skatepark was suddenly complicated in September, when officers decided to assess South Hill as an alternative.
Growth, Housing and Development then followed this with a report on all four sites, plus 11 alternatives, dubbing Les Quennevais the best option for the site.
After a public consultation which saw 1,150 responses, funding was agreed in the Government Plan to finance both Les Quennevais and a number of ‘satellite’ facilities around the island.
Senator Pallett’s proposition is scheduled for debate in the States Assembly on 9 February.
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