And the issue has become even more confused as it now appears that South Hill Gardens has become the frontrunner for the new site, despite former sports minister Senator Steve Pallett submitting a formal proposition in the States Chamber calling for a sign-off of advanced plans for Les Quennevais.
Deputy Hugh Raymond, who took over political responsibility for sport following Pallett’s resignation in November, says the government is still committed to having a ‘high-quality’ skate park built in 2021 but its location is apparently now dependent on Islanders’ current preference. A consultation was held in 2019 to assess opinions on the use of Les Quennevais, after it ranked highest in a report looking at potential venues. South Hill ranked joint-third, alongside Coronation Park and Grainville and behind Springfield, in second.
If South Hill is chosen as the main site a ‘satellite’ park will instead be built at Les Quennevais, with another constructed in the east of the Island.
A total of £1.3million had previously been set aside for all skate-friendly projects.
A government letter released by Deputy Raymond, on behalf of Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, stated: ‘I would like to reiterate that there is no change in the government’s commitment to deliver a skate park and satellite facilities in 2021.
‘Everyone involved is working to deliver a solution to create a world-class facility that is the best long-term option, the most inclusive and provides the best value for money. We have now confirmed there are two possible sites for the main skate park. They are Les Quennevais Sports Centre and South Hill Gardens. I would emphasise there is enough space on both sides for a world-class 2,000-square-metre skate park with features and obstacles for all users and all abilities.
‘The timescale to opening the skate park would be the same for both sites. Our aspiration is to bring a high-quality skate park facilities that makes the sport accessible to as many people as possible across the Island. A skate park at South Hill Gardens would be supported by satellite facilities and Les Quennevais Sporting Centre has been identified as a site for one of these.
‘We would also aim to build a facility in the east of the Island and with the facility at St John’s Rec there would be facilities in the north, east and west. The central South Hill Gardens will be closest to the bulk of the population.
‘Before we submit the planning applications for the main skate park at the end of February we would like to know what Islanders and potential users would prefer. We are holding online consultations to have your say and let us know where you would prefer the skate park facilities to be located.’
The consultation will be opening the week commencing 18 January and details can be found on www.gov.je/consultations.