A skateboarder makes his way down George St, in Dunedin.
Photo by Craig Baxter.
Having a bylaw for skateboarders said more about ''boring
old fartitis'' on the Dunedin City Council's part than any real
risk from skateboarders, a submitter has told a panel of
councillors considering a redrafted bylaw.
And a 13-year-old submitter said young people using
skateboards as a form of transport felt unsafe using roads
and respected other footpath users, and were sometimes
themselves sworn at or had food thrown at them.
Kavanagh College pupil Harry Dolan said he saw young people
congregating outside shops, but they were not skateboarders,
just other kids ''hanging out''.
The bylaw, introduced in 1995 and updated in 2004, was due
for 10-yearly review in 2014, but its review was brought
forward because of police concerns over the difficulty of
enforcing the bylaw and complaints from the public concerned
about safety; and complaints from CBD retailers about more
skateboarders gathering in the area and putting customers off
Council environmental health team leader Ros MacGill noted
surveys indicated a significant increase in the number of
skaters in the CBD in the past three years.
To address the concerns of police and retailers the council
proposed adding to the bylaw the ability for an authorised
officer to confiscate skateboards (under the bylaw, police
can fine people, but people are not paying the fines) and
extend the CBD skateboarding ban to include an extra block,
from Frederick St to Albany St, and to include Albion Lane.
Thirty-nine submissions were received on the draft bylaw,
nine in support and 30 opposed.
The main concerns of those opposed were the confiscation rule
and extending the areas where skating was prohibited.
Thirteen submitters, all opponents, indicated they wished to
speak to their submissions at a hearing, but only two turned
up to this week's hearing in Dunedin.
Submitter Lindsay Smith said he felt the draft bylaw was
attempting to address a non-existent problem, given the few
skateboarders in the city and that skateboarding issues were
at their height 10 years ago.
Complaints about people whizzing past them said more about
people simply being old and scared, rather than any real risk
to them, and scooters, mobility scooters, footpath signs and
the state of the footpath itself caused more personal
injuries than skateboarders did, he said.
Year 8 Kavanagh College pupil Harry Dolan (13) said a lot of
young people chose to use skateboards for transport. They did
not want to use the road because the injuries to cyclists
showed how dangerous it was.
He said he was not sure if the panel was aware that the
Dunedin public sometimes disrespected skateboarders, by
swearing at them, or throwing food, and he had never seen any
skateboarder hit another member of the public or cause anyone
Panel chairman Cr David Benson-Pope said the bylaw was needed
because there needed to be a way to deal efficiently with
people that caused problems while skateboarding.
He asked whether confiscation would really make enforcement
any more successful, to which Ms MacGill said it was a
deterrent that would only be used as last resort, following a
Crs Neville Peat and Kate Wilson expressed disappointment
police were not present to support their submission seeking
stronger enforcement options, and the panel resolved to
adjourn the hearing to seek their attendance at its next
It would also ask them to bring figures on how many
complaints and incidents they dealt with and more details
about the issues they experienced trying to enforce the
Information and figures on injuries caused by skateboarders
would also be sought from St John and ACC for the panel to
discuss when it reconvened next year.