With plans for a new skate park to be built at Les Quennevais waiting to go before the Planning Committee next month, one islander has made a plea for the whole community to get behind them.
Natalie Mayer had this to say...
That Jersey families are in need of a decent skatepark isn't a point that requires further conversation.
The incredibly well used, despite being embarrassingly old and inadequate, port-side excuse for a skatepark was built from substandard materials and poorly situated from the start. The government that provided this facility did not put children first.
That government sidelined children with a cheap, impermanent solution to a long-promised facility.
Pictured: "In their election manifestos, our current Government made grand promises to change things for these children. They promised a 'world standard skatepark'." (Natalie Mayer Photography)
The children currently using this skatepark are caged up. There's no supply of water to drink, no toilets in the near vicinity, and no passing onlookers to admire their skills, encourage them in their sport, or most importantly, to remind them that they are part of a friendly and welcoming community.
In their election manifestos, our current Government made grand promises to change things for these children. They promised a 'world standard skatepark', a beautifully designed play space made of the best materials, situated in a prime location, which would encourage passers-by to watch, and families to hang out with their kids.
A space that would foster community and encourage multiple age groups to spend precious time together, sharing in a fun outdoor activity - which is free for all, wholly inclusive for all ages and abilities and will help promote sport and keep our children active and healthy.
Pictured: "Families are rejoicing that such a facility could soon be a reality for the island." (Natalie Mayer Photography)
Finally, triumphantly, Government have put something on the table that fits the bill. The current plans promise the best materials (smooth, quiet, wheel-friendly concrete), designed by Constructo, a French company who are responsible for some of Europe's best skateparks. Families are rejoicing that such a facility could soon be a reality for the island.
At the end of November, the Planning Committee will sit and decide if these plans are to be given the go-ahead. I hope they will keep in mind how long it took to get to this place, and how many promises to children have been broken, when they consider their decision. If they approve the plans, we are promised, by Lyndon Farnham, that building work will commence in January, meaning a lot of smiling faces will be making use of the facility by next summer.
As we have learned, anything can happen in these scenarios, and it's been very disappointing to hear whispers that key members of the St Brelade community have been working against these plans. We need to stand up to any short-sightedness with positivity, so that there is no chance that Government can fail to deliver.
Pictured: "The current plans promise the best materials (smooth, quiet, wheel-friendly concrete), designed by Constructo, a French company who are responsible for some of Europe's best skateparks." (Natalie Mayer Photography)
Everyone has a chance to do their bit, by filling in a comment on the Planning Application. You can write as much or as little as you like about why these plans are so important for the island, and you have until 2nd November to do so.
Reassuringly - despite some questions about why the South Hill skatepark plans were logged at the same time as the Les Quennevais plans, then instantly taken down - we are told that once the Les Quennevais plans are underway, there is still a genuine intention to provide St Helier with the facility it has long deserved.
It seems like finally children are being heard, and I hope people across the island will support these plans, so that building can finally start and everyone can see what is possible for the island.
Pictured: "It seems like finally children are being heard, and I hope people across the island will support these plans, so that building can finally start and everyone can see what is possible for the island." (Natalie Mayer Photography)
Four years ago, we were promised a facility in every single parish. Children were overjoyed. But year on year, not even a simple box or a grind-rail appeared, let alone a full skatepark. Just more offices, with more shiny, tempting, skateboard-able surfaces, and more 'NO SKATING' signs and skate-stoppers, banning them from having their energetic and healthy fun.
We have to turn this around, and right now is the perfect opportunity to start.
Please, put your support in for these plans!