Skate-park plan bagged

TEACHERS and parents from Tweed River High School fear a proposed skateboard park near their school could endanger students and attract undesirable behaviour.

Acting school principal Narelle Howell told Tweed Shire Council's public access session this week that the school community held concerns over the location of the park to be built on the corner of Minjungbal Drive and Heffron Street, Tweed Heads South.

Council and Tweed's registered clubs will split the estimated $150,000 cost of the facility between them.

Ms Howell said the school did not object to providing a skateboard park for young people, but the location on a very busy road was a real worry in relation to safety of young people. The park, she said, would encourage young people to loiter around the school, which could cause a possible increase in vandalism to school property outside school hours.

Child-protection and drug-related issues, she said, also were a concern with people being around the school who were not students.

The skatepark would also provide a facility for students to "hang around" before or after school and it could also contribute to a rise in truancy for students, as it would be a place they could go if they chose not to attend lessons.

Relieving deputy principal Cathy Dickson told councillors that the school worked hard to maintain its positive image and the facility would detract from that.

Cr Barbara Carroll said she worked at the Home and Community Care office next to the block of land where the park would be built, which was used by Tweed River High students "for smoking and other activities".

Cr Carroll said there was no tangible evidence for the teachers on which to base their fears, and the issue should be explored before jumping to assumptions. Ms Dickson said she had anecdotal evidence of "kids causing grief", "wasting time there and drawing other undesirable elements".

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