Skateboarders rumbling down George St, in Dunedin, in
defiance of a ban could soon lose their boards, as part of
a tough new approach being considered by the Dunedin City
Council. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Skateboarders could be forced to hand over their wheels
as part of a crackdown being considered by the Dunedin City
The new approach would allow council officers to confiscate
skateboards for up to 28 days from those found to be flouting
the city's skateboarding bylaw.
The idea, backed by retailers and police, was endorsed at the
council's planning and environment committee meeting
That was after prolonged debate led by Cr Jinty MacTavish,
who staunchly opposed the tough stance, and Cr Neil Collins,
who cheered it on.
The vote that followed meant the council would consult on an
updated bylaw including the power of confiscation.
Albion Lane and a section of George St, between Frederick and
Albany Sts, would also be added to the prohibited zone
covering much of the central city, including the Octagon, and
the Esplanade at St Clair.
Council regulatory services group manager Kevin Thompson told
yesterday's meeting retailers worried about the safety of
elderly customers had prompted the review.
Some customers risked being ''run down'' as they stepped out
of stores and into the path of skateboarders travelling at
speed down footpaths, he said.
Dunedin police worried the existing bylaw lacked teeth, as
$100 instant fines could not be applied to those aged under
A small group of younger ''repeat offenders'' were immune and
knew it, and were thumbing their noses at the bylaw, he said.
He could not say how many accidents had occurred, but said
defiant youngsters asked to stop skateboarding could be
It was hoped the power to confiscate skateboards would act as
a deterrent and not be used, he said.
However, Cr MacTavish opposed the tough stance, saying a
skateboard was a legitimate transport option for young
people, just as mobility scooters were for older people.
Council staff should instead review the way all ''wheeled
pedestrians'' were treated - including skateboarders and
users of mobility scooters - to find a more ''holistic''
approach, she said.
Her resolution pushing for that was defeated, leaving other
councillors to vote for the tougher stance instead.
However, Mayor Dave Cull and Cr Teresa Stevenson both worried
the ban would drive more young skateboarders on to busy
roads, which could put them in a life-threatening situation.
Mr Cull said the ''sloppy'' bylaw would also cover others,
such as an 8-year-old girl on inline skates, and encourage
However, Cr Collins said the trio had ''completely lost
track'' of the bylaw's purpose, which was to protect people -
and the city's paving tiles - from damage.
''They are dangerous, and pedestrians and skateboarding don't
Skateboarders should use the skate park facilities the
council had built, and the new approach gave police some
''muscle'' to act, he said.
Crs Syd Brown and Andrew Noone backed the tough approach,
with Cr Brown saying police needed the tools to act against
skateboarders ''who choose to disregard the safety of
Cr Noone said the council needed to start enforcing existing
bylaws, at some point.
Deputy mayor Chris Staynes' support for the tough approach
saw him vote against his Greater Dunedin colleagues Mr Cull,
Cr MacTavish and Cr Kate Wilson.
The public will have until October 14 to have their say on
the bylaw's changes, followed by a public hearing if needed.