Skaters and “haters” are set for a showdown at Fremantle Town Hall on Tuesday.
Supporters of the $1.2 million Fremantle skate park have, on a Facebook page, dubbed the mostly grey-haired members of Fremantle’s Inner City Residents’ Association who oppose the park as “haters”.
FICRA holds out little hope the special electors’ meeting on June 2, called to discuss the youth plaza, Arthurs Head and the warders’ cottages, will convince the council to change its mind, but it does hope to turn up the political heat and perhaps win some concessions.
James David posted on the Facebook page that opponents of the youth plaza were, “a group of antiquated, atavistic thugs—who will stop at nothing to stagnate the growth of Fremantle’s cultural development”. The meeting was “an attempt to stop the Fremantle Youth Plaza becoming a reality”. “They do so on a platform of vilifying Fremantle’s youth labelling them as criminals, as delinquents, as dangerous, as a threat to the community.”
Plaza opponent Liesha Jack from Defending Public Spaces WA hit back: “Calling members of the community opposed to the location of this skate plaza ‘haters’, is beyond nasty it is disturbing. It is also very misleading, because though a few people have raised concerns about ‘anti-social behaviour’ associated with skateboarders around Fremantle and skate parks, most are just concerned about the actual location, which many feel is inappropriate.
“Not everyone wants a massive concrete structure and all of the extra amped-up activity in the Fremantle Esplanade Park, which is already overused with the current activity and too many events.”
FICRA member Chris Grisewood describes the “haters” tag as ludicrous.
“Skaters versus haters, what a load of rubbish!” he barked. “This is the icon of the West End of the city, so leave the bloody thing alone. It’s not a NIMBY thing, I don’t live anywhere near this but I use it with my grandchildren.”
With bulldozers expected to start tearing up the grass in spring, he denies the meeting is a waste of time.
“We have to try to do something, we can’t sit on our arses and do nothing and let them do what they want.”
by BRENDAN FOSTER