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OPEN LETTER: Safety first! Don't put the skatepark in a hazard zone

OPEN LETTER: Safety first! Don't put the skatepark in a hazard zone

Monday 08 February 2021

OPEN LETTER: Safety first! Don't put the skatepark in a hazard zone


Did you know South Hill is an industrial hazard zone? An islander has written to politicians to urge a rethink on the idea of putting a skatepark there, warning them: "You are choosing to put islanders, of all ages, at risk because of politics, flawed arguments and process based on emotion, not facts."

While the likelihood of an industrial emergency may appear slim, Peter Lightbody notes that few would have expected a pandemic to happen either...

"Dear Ministers and States Members,

This week you will all debate the proposed main location for a skate park in Jersey. Before doing so can I put one last argument across.

Regardless of the recent flawed survey, and the significant planning issues at South Hill Gardens (SHG) (it is a Site of Special Interest (SSI), has a Grade Two listed park in its footprint, and has a busy road directly in front etc) that ultimately means it is unlikely to pass the planning process, can I ask all of you just to focus on the safety of young children, and families that will ultimately use the park.

Video: A look around the South Hill area.

Many of you, for whatever reason, are already minded to support SHG as the preferred location. I agree and understand many of the arguments that support a more centric location.

That said, you are personally about to put your name and credibility behind a site that sits in an Industrial Hazard Zone, that for safety reasons is established to deter large meetings of the public because of the risks to people should (God forbid) an incident take place at the La Collette Industrial area.

You are choosing to put islanders, of all ages, at risk because of politics, flawed arguments and process based on emotion, and not the facts.

While in your own minds you may feel able to justify such a decision, I am not sure in the event of an incident the public of Jersey, or courts, will be so forgiving. 

la_collette_incinerator.jpg

Pictured: "The probability of an industrial accident at La Collette is low but... who would have thought only a year ago we would see a pandemic unfold?"

While in your own minds you may feel able to justify such a decision, I am not sure in the event of an incident the public of Jersey, or courts, will be so forgiving.

All decisions are difficult, doing the right thing is difficult, but please consider the facts and put the safety of the public first.

Safety and risk management are not a 'tick box' exercise. Of course, the probability of an industrial accident at La Collette is low but it should be viewed as a genuine possibility, not a probability... who would have thought only a year ago we would see a pandemic unfold?

I have attached the links to your own Government of Jersey documents that outline the reasoning for the Industrial Hazard Zone, and the compelling argument against developments of exactly this nature within it:

Kind regards,

Peter Lightbody"

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