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A concept illustration of Tairua Skatepark. Photo: SUPPLIED/TCDC

Controversial $1.1m skate park approved for Tairua

Design plans have been finalised for Tairua’s new skate park.

Thames Coromandel District Council unveiled the design at its meeting on April 26, and gave the go-ahead for construction of the $1.1 million structure.

The skate park will be located at Cory Park Domain, sitting between the tennis courts and the rugby fields. The new build will cover a total of 1245 square metres, including landscaping and seating. The 571 square metre skateable area features a 1.5 metre deep skating bowl, a quarter pipe, and various raised platforms, rails and ledges.

The skate park project has been in development for a number of years, with the Tairua-Pauanui Community Board outlining its intention to develop a skating facility in its 2018-2028 long term plan. Legal action in 2021 forced the project to stop, and the board agreed to revoke all previous decisions and develop a new timeline.

The Preserve Cory Park Domain Incorporated Society, representing some 41 property owners and interested parties neighbouring the domain, had previously opposed the location of the skate park. It requested the park be located at Pepe Reserve, citing concerns around noise.

In a letter to the council on April 3, the society stated: “[our] legitimate concerns have been mischaracterised by other submitters as efforts by a small, wealthy, minority to hold the community to ransom … The society is concerned that efforts to mischaracterise its position have contributed to the council disregarding the legitimate concerns the society has raised.”

The council responded, saying “the views of the community throughout the consultation process have been given appropriate consideration [and] the level of community support was taken into consideration throughout the site selection process”.

The park’s design includes acoustic mitigation elements such as landscaped bunding, mounds of soil designed to disrupt noise pollution between sites. Testing showed predicted noise levels in the vicinity of Cory Park Domain were in line with acoustic engineering recommendations. The council also noted that noise from skating activity was permitted in the domain, and any amplified music needed only to meet the permitted standards for noise in a residential area, of less than 50 decibels. 

Pepe Reserve was considered but was not a preferred option, council said, due to issues with noise, district plan and Reserves Act compliance, and environmental considerations. Although Cory Park Domain was not the desired location for the majority of community members, its environmental design, district plan and Reserves Act compliance, and preference by Mana Whenua made it the preferred location overall. 

The Tairua Rugby and Sports Club also raised concerns over the skate park, citing health and safety issues. The finalised design includes features such as signage and extended bunding to mitigate these issues. Some existing park amenities like seating and drinking fountains will also be moved to maintain public safety in the space. 

Construction is expected to commence in July and be completed by the end of the year. 

By ALICE PARMINTER, Public Journalism funded by NZ on Air