Delay to skate park opening 'ridiculous'
Bored youths in Fanling have been given a HK$51 million present - a state-of-the-art skate park - from the government, but they will have to wait until the end of the year before they can unwrap it.
The park in the On Lok Tsuen industrial area was built on an unused plot of land after the North District Council requested more 'active and innovative facilities for youth'.
Construction of the 2,200 square metre skate park, which includes a BMX cycling ground, started almost two years ago and was finished earlier this year.
Warren Stuart, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Extreme Sports, was invited by the company that built the park to test the venue to ensure it was safe. He, along with other experienced skaters, tested it extensively more than four months ago but the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has yet to open it to the public.
'It's just ridiculous,' said Stuart, who was previously told that the park would open at the end of July.
'A month ago, they said it would open in early September but now it's been postponed again and they can't give me an answer on why.'
Stuart said senior members of the department had failed to understand the dynamics of a skate park and where the potential dangers lay.
'They are worried about the big ramps and transitions but if they actually do their homework, there's more injuries on the low areas.
'If you trip on a six-inch trick, it's like slipping on a banana peel because you have no time to anticipate the fall. It's very dangerous.'
Stuart is due to meet government officials on Wednesday to discuss the skate park's safety in the hope that the venue will open to the public sooner, instead of sitting idle.
A department spokesman said the park had not been scheduled to open this weekend and that 'all equipment for the venue should comply with the international safety standard and the suppliers are required to provide certificate on safety test of these equipment'.
'We have also consulted the Hong Kong Federation of Extreme Sports about the design of the skateboarding facilities. Besides, notices will be erected at the entrance while our on-site staff will also remind the users of the safety measures to be taken in using the facilities, such as kneepad and gloves et cetera.'
He expected the facilities to be opened for public use in late 2011.
Currently, there are five skate parks in Hong Kong: the Chai Wan Poolside Garden at Chai Wan, Tin Shui Wai Park, Tung Chung North Park, Kwai Shun Street Playground in Kwai Chung and Tsing Yi Northeast Park in Tsing Yi.