Residents slam approval of Pialba skate park
VANDALISM and anti-social behaviour would run rampant on the Esplanade if the council moves ahead with construction of it's new skate park, according to a group of Pialba residents.
But Ian Poulter, who lives near the Pialba adventure playground, claims himself and other residents weren't consulted over the proposed $2.6 million youth precinct for the area.
The Fraser Coast Regional Council approved the development of the park in a 6-4 vote on Wednesday, with councillors Denis Chapman, George Seymour, Rolf Light and James Hansen opposed.
Under the proposal, a new skate park will be built near the adventure playground.
Part of the project involves revamping the existing stage lights and toilets and installing an LED screen for outdoor movie nights.
Mr Poulter says the skate park risked bringing down anti-social behaviour down to the Esplanade, which he said was the "main entrance" to Hervey Bay.
"Skate parks can be hives of drug dealing, vandalism and anti-social activity," Mr Poulter said.
"This park down the front, and the foreshore, doesn't need any more development.
"But the biggest factor is it's a waste of millions of dollars of ratepayer money."
The State Government provided about 45 per cent of funding for the project under the Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program.
Mr Poulter, who moved into his property in 2015, said he and other residents weren't told of the plan until public consultation on the project was over.
By the time he had found out about the plans, the consultation period had ended.
"That foreshore area is used for parties and activities like kicking balls and flying kites around, if we put a skate park in there, those family events likely won't be held if there is anti-social behaviour in that park," he said.
Wayne Higgins, another resident in the area, questioned the need for another skate park in the nearby area, saying there were already three in Hervey Bay alone.
Once the park is completed in April next year, the park on Torquay Rd will be demolished.
Councillor Daniel Sanderson said the park was outdated and prone to flooding, and didn't fit the location's development into a commercial zone.
Councillor Denis Chapman, who voted against the motion, said it was important the council consult with the entire community on projects like this.
"People say these residents should have found out themselves, but the council should be letting these people know beforehand," Cr Chapman said.
"At the end of the day, we need to look at where we're spending the money, because this funding could be spent in better places."
But councillor Stuart Taylor said if they continuously made and broke decisions on major projects, the council would earn a 'flip-flopping reputation.'
"There is a need for a healthy environment for kids to grow up in, this project has gone to community consultation and has been budgeted for," Cr Taylor said.
"The choice is that we go ahead and build it, like we committed, or give back the money and earn that reputation."