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Boniface defends park estimate
Councillor objects to horrendous amount of money' it will cost ratepayers
Supporter: Invercargill City Councillor
Neil Boniface is defending projected
cost of skatepark revamp.
Against: Invercargill City Councillor
Thelma Buck -- unhappy at park cost.
Are you happy with the plans and
projected costs for Invercargill's
skatepark on Elles Rd?
Let us know at our Facebook
Or email: email@example.com (write
SKATE in subject line)
By LOUISE BERWICK
A city councillor is defending the
seemingly over-the-top cost of
skateboard park, saying the
proposed $800,000 budget is ''only
Finance and policy standing
committee chairman Neil
Boniface also said the Invercargill
City Council may not even need to
stump up its extra and contro-
versial $200,000 contribution for
the much-discussed facility on
Mr Boniface said the overall cost
was not set, even though the
projected amount was already
almost double what other
skateparks throughout the
country have cost.
The skatepark contract was yet to
go out for tender and when it did
it would give the council a better
indication of how much it would
really cost, Mr Boniface said.
The proposed skatepark cost
works out at just over $700 a
square metre, which was nearly
twice what the Queenstown Lake
District Council spent on their
skatepark in 2008.
Invercargill's new skatepark,
which is proposed to cost $807,446
for the 1135sqm facility, includes
everything from new fencing to a
kidney bowl, obstacles and an
Fellow ICC councillor Thelma
Buck is angry at the projected
cost, believing the amount likely
to be spent per square metre was a
''horrendous amount of money.''
She was the only councillor to
vote against the ICC increasing its
loan to the skatepark from
$100,000 to $300,000 at a meeting
''I'm disappointed for the rate
payers because that is another
$200,000 through loans that they
will have to stump up,'' she said.
Queenstown Lake District Coun-
cil community development gen-
eral manager Paul Wilson said
when they built the Queenstown
skatepark it averaged out to cost
about $350 a square metre,
including everything from drink-
ing fountains to landscaping.
It was ''money well spent,'' he
''We tried to do a really premium
park. It is recognised as a good
The Queenstown skatepark is
slightly bigger than the proposed
Invercargill facility but was well
used by the community, he said.
''I think it has been a really good
addition to the community's
Hastings District Council projects
and public spaces manager Rus-
sell Engelke echoed Mr Wilson
and said skateparks were always
controversial for councils to
build, but they were well used.
He said the Hastings District
Council was about to begin
building a new skatepark, which
will cost about $400 a square
metre and, again, much less than
the Invercargill park.
Boys and 82 year old delighted with skatepark funding
Stoked: Thrilled skatepark
supporters, from left, are: Aiden
Burgess, 8, Taylor Hogan, 13,
and Cobin Burgess, 13. They are
pleased to hear the skatepark
will go ahead with its $800,000
Photo: DOUG FIELD. 627561945
By LOUISE BERWICK
The three boys who stood in front
of the Invercargill City Council to
ask for more funding for the
skatepark are ''stoked'' the coun-
cil has come to the party.
But the teenagers credit the
funding for the skatepark to
Invercargill pensioner and former
city councillor, Geoff Piercy.
He spoke out against the council,
asking them to foot the $200,000
needed to meet the costs of the
suggested the new skatepark.
"The council is saying it is a child-
friendly city but I am just saying
put your money where your
mouth is,'' Mr Piercy told The Eye
His story sparked Taylor Hogan,
13, Cobin Burgess, 13, and Aiden
Burgess, 8, and to write a letter to
The Eye voicing their concerns.
Their letter received a huge
response from the com-
munity and ICC community
development manager Mary
Napper encouraged them to
speak at the January council
meeting. They told the council
that the skatepark could have a
number of benefits for the city and
asked the council to consider
funding the extra $200,000 on top
of the $100,000 they were already
contributing to the facility.
Taylor said he was pleased to hear
the council had heard their plea
and it was ''awesome'' to think
they may have made a difference
in convincing the council to give
the park the extra money.
Mr Piercy said he was ''very
proud'' of the boys and was
looking forward to the opening of
the new park, though he won't be
using it. At 82 years old, he was
too old to learn how to skateboard,
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