THE Fremantle Esplanade’s horseshoe-shaped mound will be reshaped to accommodate a 3500sqm skateboard park under a number of designs on display in the council foyer.
The preferred concept for the southern end of the park near Marine Terrace will see five to six tonnes of concrete poured on to the reserve later this year.
One option includes leaving the mound as it as, another blends it into the skate park by straightening its doughnut shape into a de facto viewing area.
The first workshops held in January by Convic Skateparks attracted 50 people including residents and skateboarders who were told the mound would stay.
Speaking after a further two workshops in March, Cr Dave Coggin said the mound would be carved up and reshaped into a straight, elevated hillside.
“It creates a bank people can still lay on and watch what’s going on,” he’d told the Herald at the site. “We will have a great-looking promenade that will draw people through from Essex Street to Bather’s beach and fishing boat harbour. It’s a fascinating design, it will go off. It will become a very vibrant place.”
Mayor Brad Pettitt had said before the workshops the popular grassy knoll would be moved if it could not be incorporated in the final design.
He’d described the mound as a pile of dirt with grass on it, adding, “there is a community love for it, but it has no heritage value nor is it an ancient part of the city” (it was reclaimed from the ocean in the 1970s).
Cr Coggin agrees: “There is no heritage significance. There’s nothing, best guess it’s leftover earth.”
He hopes the council will award a $1.2 million building contract within the next two to three months, with completion expected by the end of the year.
Annual Anzac Day commemorations will also have to be moved but Cr Coggin noted the anti-Kimberley gas hub protest easily accommodated about 15,000 on the northern part of the reserve.
Carriage coffee shop lessee Kel Smith believes the skate park is a white elephant that will claim one third of Fremantle’s “green lung”.
His apocalyptic vision includes the concreted surfaces becoming a graffitied nightmare, a giant heat trap in summer and a cold and wet wasteland in winter.
Fellow critic Chris Grisewood says, “our worst fears have been realised”. He says the skatepark opens the door to other “crazy projects”: “This is perhaps a good idea, but in the wrong place,” he says. “Roll on October when we can vote out at least some of our city council.”
by CARMELO AMALFI