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Concern over closed skate park

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There aren’t any upcoming competitions to train for but the fact remains that the skate park keeps many children off the street and out of trouble

UNHAPPY: A city resident with an interest in skateboarding pointed out yesterday that while the Kumba Skate Plaza had already been closed to the public for over a month for maintenance work, little progress has been made in this time, leaving skateboarders with little option but to take to the streets. Picture: Danie van der Lith

WITH the new service provider for the Kimberley Diamond Cup (KDC) yet to be finalised, concerns have again been raised over access to the Kumba Skate Plaza as maintenance work at the facility has already rendered the complex closed to the public for more than a month.

Bids for the appointment of the project and event management service provider for the KDC programme closed on Friday, after the tender, which would see the the extreme sports extravaganza return to the city for the first time since 2015, was advertised in the Government Gazette at the end of last month.

While the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism remains optimistic that the incumbent service provider, who will replace the World Skateboarding Grand Prix, will be able to bring this major event back to the city in the foreseeable future, the local skateboarding fraternity has called for the skate park to be reopened immediately and for ongoing repairs to be completed as soon as possible.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a city resident with a vested interest in the sport said yesterday that while the facility had already been closed to the public for over a month, little progress been made in this time, leaving skateboarders with little option but to take to the streets.

“Skating in the city could die a slow death unless something major happens and the park reopens very soon,” she said. “It’s been over a month that the gates have been shut and the skaters still have nowhere to go.

“Maintenance staff did start touching up the paintwork, until they ran out of paint, while the bottom of the vert has been broken up, preventing anyone from using it.

“There aren’t any upcoming competitions to train for but the fact remains that the skate park keeps many children off the street and out of trouble.

“I can understand that the facilities need to be maintained but there is no reason why the whole place needs to be shut down, leaving the skaters with nowhere to go, when they can as easily just cordon off the affected areas and keep the rest of the park open to the public.”

Meanwhile, the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism spokesperson, Zandisile Luphahla, said yesterday that the tender process continued and that the successful bid would be announced soon

Subsequent to the most recent instalment of the Kimberley Diamond Cup (KDC) in 2015, the CEO of the World Skateboarding Grand Prix (WSGP), Tim McFerran, blamed corruption and mismanagement for the cancellation of future events, saying that the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (Dedat) had failed to meet the deadline for proposals to hold the event over the first weekend in December 2016.

In response, Dedat cited the fact that McFerran refused to allow the event to be downscaled for the cancellation of the event, with Luphahla saying that the current economic climate simply did not allow for a KDC on the same scale as previous years.