Ballarat’s skate community is mourning the demolition of a historic skate bowl, beloved by learners and experts alike.
The Wendouree Bowl, which was built more than 30 years ago, was reduced to rubble recently to make way for the Ballarat Sports and Events Centre.
But local skaters had no idea the bowl and half-pipe, a historic cornerstone of Ballarat’s skating infrastructure, would be removed.
Former City of Ballarat youth councillor Dylan Lewis said skaters were disappointed no consultation took place and the “historic and significant” bowl was pulled down without warning.
The entire skate community is like, ‘what the hell?’ because it was done without any notice or consultation.Dylan Lewis, skater
“It had been there since when skateboarding really first started, lots of professional videos were shot there, it was just an important space,” he said.
“It was a good place to be able to learn how to do certain tricks, you could get there and there weren’t bike riders.”
City of Ballarat refused to comment on the demolition, or respond to The Courier’s questions around why skaters weren’t notified and what condition the bowl was in.
The skate park half-pipe next to Civic Hall is also slated for demolition, to make way for ‘additional hard surfaces, garden beds and trees’ at the GovHub development.
And while the city’s major skate park at Barkly Street is slated for an upgrade, basic infrastructure on the site such as water taps had been left broken for years.
Skater Casey Tosh said he hopes “council can be open for solution or negotiations” for updating the city’s main skate park.
He said sponsored skateboard teams would travel specifically to skate the Wendouree Bowl, with pro-am skater and King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard musician Ambrose Kenny-Smith one famous example.
Mr Lewis said while other cities prioritised recreational spaces, City of Ballarat was forgetting about the city’s youth.
“It feels like they’re not taking it seriously,” he said.
“If you look at like what Geelong puts into skate parks, they have the waterfront which is incredible, but every single suburb has a skate park and an indoor park.”
Have you got pictures of the Wendouree Bowl? Email firstname.lastname@example.org