Canberra has always had a great skateboarding scene. We host one of Australia’s more significant annual weekend skateboarding events, Belco Bowl Jam and the other festivities around it:

We also regularly have free “Learn to Skateboard” sessions at a grassroots volunteer level at local skateparks:

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Local skaters consistently produce awesome skate videos ( See @ParliamentaryZone or @VXPals on Instagram ). Some of our older skate parks, like Erindale Brick Banks, Kambah U-Pipe, and Charnwood Bowl, are iconic in the international skateboarding media ( See: CSA Historic Skateparks ). Skateboarding-based local businesses like Trilogy Skate Shop and Church Cafe have contributed to the local economy and supported the community.

We used to have a reputation for provisioning great skate parks and smaller neighbourhood facilities to fill the gaps, but that reputation has waned in the last decade.

We’ve had no new skate parks in Canberra for over a decade and an omission of skate elements in almost all new play spaces.

This is all despite massive growth and many new suburbs going up.

At the last ACT election, I helped draft an open letter to candidates about Skateboarding and Skate Parks in Canberra. It had two suggestions, both of which were committed to by Labor if they won:

  • A competition-spec vert half pipe at a public skate park ( which is thankfully in the late stages of planning ).
  • The ACT Government develop and implement a comprehensive plan for the ongoing maintenance of our existing public skateparks and the construction of new skateparks and skate-friendly public spaces. This hasn’t happened yet.

Over the last 10 years, I’ve advocated for new skate parks and better maintenance. I’ve volunteered hundreds of hours running Learn to Skateboard sessions and other events to foster a healthy skateboarding scene. These have been joint efforts with Tony Caruana and a handful of volunteers in the Canberra Skateboarding Association.

We’ve had minor success in attending community workshops to make a case for skate parks and skate-friendly spaces in future suburb planning. We’ve also tried our best to encourage people to speak up in ACT Gov “YourSay” surveys by spreading the word at our Learn to Skateboard sessions and on CSA social media. We’ve met with some MLAs who support skateboarding, and we’re working on drafting a petition for a skate facility in one electorate right now.

We’ve also had many frustrations, like skate park repair work resulting in little improvement or deteriorating just days after completion. One ongoing issue we’re having is that Tuggeranong skate park lights have not worked for almost a year now, with no ETA on a fix from TCCS.

Research shows that skateboarding provides significant community and public health benefits (e.g. Skateboarding and the Inclusion of Young People in the Community ). Skate-friendly public spaces with robust architecture will often result in areas becoming safer by way of activation and passive surveillance. For these reasons, I think that skate parks and skate-friendly spaces are something that most people should consider supporting, whether you’re a skateboarder or not.

If you’d like to help the cause, please consider mentioning skate parks, skate-friendly spaces or a skate strategy to your local MLA or in a YourSay survey about your neighbourhood.

Please consider follow Canberra Skateboarding Association, we’re often posting about news and progress we’re making and events we’re running.



If you’ve made it this far, then thanks for reading!