Having the ability to confiscate skateboards in the inner
city would be ''extremely useful'', Dunedin police say.
City councillors seem set to recommend that the power to
confiscate boards from people riding in prohibited areas in
the central city be added to a reviewed skateboarding bylaw.
The proposed changes to the existing bylaw also include
expanding the prohibited skating area to include footpaths at
Queens Gardens, Albion Pl and on the retail side of George St
between Frederick and Albany.
The skateboarding bylaw hearings subcommittee of Crs David
Benson-Pope (chairman), Kate Wilson and Neville Peat
reconvened yesterday to hear from police and Age Concern
about the extent of the actual problems with skateboarding in
The committee had asked for their feedback before advancing
the review further.
An informal survey of members revealed no actual incidences
of injury from skateboarding but, ''perhaps not
unexpectedly'', unanimous condemnation of skateboarders,
Niall Shepherd, of Age Concern, said.
The main concerns of members, who mainly used the George St
and Octagon area, were near misses, the fear of being hit by
a skateboarder and intimidation.
Central Dunedin community constable Michael Gasson told the
subcommittee in the four months he had been in the job he had
issued eight warnings to people riding skateboards in the
His predecessor had issued 30 fines for the same in the
previous financial year, and told him the issue was not
constant or massive, but was a problem on and off throughout
No actual physical contact had been reported, although he had
heard anecdotally of a lot of near misses.
He had not seen huge problems with skateboarders so far and
it was not the biggest problem police faced in the area, but
shopkeepers he had spoken to about it, particularly in Albion
Pl, thought it was a huge problem and said skateboarders
riding on the street were an everyday issue for them.
Having the ability to confiscate skateboards, as was
proposed, would be helpful to police, because legally they
could not fine people aged under 14 at all and because others
simply never paid fines, so it was not a deterrent.
He believed if people had their boards taken away groups
might move on from problem locations.
Cr Wilson said she was concerned about discouraging commuter
use of skateboards as a legitimate form of active transport,
especially among younger children, and asked how he saw that
working with the prohibition.
People could just pick up their boards and walk through
prohibited areas, Const Gasson said.
Asked about mobility scooters causing problems, he had not
noticed the same issue, perhaps because they moved at the
same speed as pedestrians.
Cr Benson-Pope said having the police and Age Concern
information made him more comfortable about the proposed
changes, and he felt the proposed bylaw should proceed as it
was because it would add a useful tool to the enforcers'
Cr Wilson still wondered if the bylaw was the most fair the
subcommittee could come up with, and had some concerns about
mobility scooters, although she was advised by staff those
concerns could be addressed in a proposed use of public
She would prefer a 10kmh speed limit for skateboarders in the
CBD, Cr Wilson said, but Cr Benson-Pope said that would be
''totally impractical'' and unnecessarily complex.
Cr Peat agreed.
The subcommittee adjourned again for some technical and
formatting details to be resolved before signing off on the
changes for approval by the full council.
• The area within Moray Pl, including the Octagon and Library
• George St, from Frederick St to Moray Pl, Stuart St, from
and including the Railway Station and Anzac Square, to Moray
• Princes St, from Water St to Moray Pl.
• Queens Gardens, including Cenotaph and nearby garden areas.
• Wickliffe Square (Exchange area).
• St Clair Esplanade.
• Dunedin Botanic Garden.