George St skater-friendly move welcomed

Making a small part of George St skater friendly is a good start, Dunedin’s skating community says.

The new George St build includes two concrete blocks that do not have metal bearings on them to stop skating outside skating and clothing store Pavement and Irish pub The Bog.

Dunedin’s skateboarding community is pleased the city’s urban planners are embracing skate culture but feel its incorporation into the city’s architecture could go further.

Pavement owner Craig Strong was a part of conversations with the Dunedin City Council to have the skate stoppers removed from the concrete blocks in George St.

He said it was great to have multi-use aspects to the street.

"Why not have that kind of stuff to let more different parts of the community interact together and make use of things?

"It’s something that is happening in Europe and Aussie and different parts of the world, so why not do it here?"

However, it was still a novelty item and more skating infrastructure was needed in Dunedin, Mr Strong said.

"It’s a token thing but they still need to build new parks, which have been promised for a long time and nothing is really happening there."

Dunedin skater Harry Dolan shreds a new ledge in George St outside skating and clothing store...
Dunedin skater Harry Dolan shreds a new ledge in George St outside skating and clothing store Pavement yesterday afternoon. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
With new infrastructure such as a new skatepark or indoor facility the city had potential to be a big drawcard for skaters from around the world, he said.

Dunedin Skateboarding Association committee member Dr Olivier Jutel said the city had a distinctive Gothic layout that made for a fresh backdrop for skate videography.

Attracting skaters from overseas would give local skaters an opportunity to mingle with them and advance their careers, he said.

"Very few groups love the city as much as we do and we should be a part of the calculation."

Dunedin skater Joel Field said the ledges in George St added an extra option for skate boarders

"There is so much you can do here that I can’t even see.

"There is definitely people who are a lot better than me who can do some amazing stuff here."

With the high level of skate boarders in Dunedin he would love to see a skate party organised in George St in the future, he said.

"Recently, Pavement had a thing at the stadium like a competition and people came from out of town.

"It’s just so fun to watch."

The DIY skatepark in Fryatt St was an amazing spot that showed what could be done with no budget and skaters could do a lot more with some funding, he said.