'We're not a bunch of kids in baggy jeans and hoodies' – skaters pleased with two-park progress

THE decision to submit planning applications for two skate parks has been welcomed by the Jersey Skateparks Association – and is something they did not think was possible.

An artist's impression of what the Les Quennevais skate park would look like
An artist's impression of what the Les Quennevais skate park would look like

Association representative Daco Fernandes said the idea of one skate park being built in town and another in the west of the Island, in a short time frame, is beyond what he expected and he hopes the Island will soon have the facilities to support its plethora of skating talent.

Earlier this month, the States Assembly voted to approve the submission of plans for a park at both the Les Quennevais and South Hill Gardens sites.

Fernandes believes the vote gives the skating community the best chance of getting a world-class facility.

'The idea of putting both plans forward is great and something we didn't think was possible,' he explained. 'This gives us the best chance of getting one over the line as soon as possible, but we understand things can take time, and we don't mind waiting if it means we get the proper, world-class facility we have always asked for.'

A recent public consultation featured a 60% vote in favour of the South Hill site, compared to Les Quennevais, although Fernandes said the JSA supports both sites.

'We represent what the majority of users want and there is a clear desire to have parks in both locations,' he said.

'It was never the plan to just have one park, we have always wanted multiple parks, in both town and out west, as well as others designated spots around the Island, but its always been about what is possible within certain time frames.'

The government have aimed to submit both applications by the end of February and Fernandes believes the projects will help overcome negative connotations surrounding skaters.

'I think people are starting to realise this isn't just a bunch of kids in baggy jeans and hoodies,' he said.

'We have so many talented skaters in the Island that range from young kids, who come up to the park with their families, the core scene of skaters who are always pushing the boundaries, amongst them you have professional level skaters and we even have people in their 50s and 60s who want to use the park.

'Skateboarding is an Olympic sport, but it all starts from a grassroots level, just like any other sport. We need to provide spaces for these kids to get out and enjoy the sport, especially during and after this pandemic.'

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