So can you tell us a little more about what the C.I.S.A is about?
In 2002, the Channel Island Skateboarding Association was formed by a few of the more experienced participants and also includes BMX riders and Inline Skaters, with the aim of having a permanent skatepark built on the island. The association quickly gained support from the general public, and has received a lot of praise for their ideas and proactive approach. When the C.I.S.A presented plans for a skatepark at St Helier Parish Hall, parishioners voted almost unanimously (52:1) in favour of giving the park the go ahead. Various factors have now led to Jersey?s young people being offered a permanent facility on the New North Quay.
Give us a brief run down of the history of extreme sports facilities on the island…
Skateboarding has been alive in Jersey since before the very first skatepark was built in the 1970s at Belle Vue. Since then, we have seen four other skateparks rise and fall. In the 1980s Skate West was built at Les Quennevais. The 1990s saw two facilities both at Fort Regent and most recently the Rendez Vous skatepark which was a temporary facility built on the Waterfront in early 2000.
There have been some smaller amenities at various youth clubs. The half pipe ramp at St Ouen recently underwent a major overhaul, a project managed and partially funded by the C.I.S.A. This is now the only permanent and legal facility for extreme sports enthusiasts.
A new skatepark, fantastic! How did it come about?
The campaign for a permanent skatepark, which has been ongoing for the last 6 years was a process which required several Parish Hall assembly meetings and negotiations with various States and Parish departments. Off the back of the C.I.S.A campaign, our politicians sat up and listened. Ben Fox put forward Proposition 8 in January this year, to provide the island with a skatepark (an all encompassing name for a facility that caters for many of the closely related disciplines that use them, such as rollerblading, skateboarding and BMXing). W.E.B. took on the project, and coupled with their target of opening by the end of this year, you can see that they really mean it!
The good news is, however, that they are approaching things from the best possible angle, and involving the people who know what they are talking about when it comes to facilities like this: the riders themselves. W.E.B have succeeded so far where previous projects have failed by working in conjunction with the C.I.S.A as end-user consultants. With W.E.B.?s international contacts and established management team showing the responsibility and commitment to involve the C.I.S.A, the project is off to a flying start.
Why are WEB and the States being so generous?
Young people in Jersey have been crying out for more to do. Side effects of the boredom they develop are not only the drugs, alcohol and other anti-social behaviour we read so much about (it was the number one complaint to the police in 2007), but other modern issues like obesity (BUPA reports that 25% of 11-15 year olds are classified as obese). You don?t even need to read one of the thousands of reports documenting the link between a lack of amenities and high crime rate; by merely glancing over to less fortunate and affluent communities on the mainland, it is clear. Kids simply need to be given something to do.
WEB have already put in £100K, that is a heck of a lot of money isn?t it?
The £100K they have put into the budget so far is a very useful and generous donation. However, although £100K sounds like a great deal of money, a large amount will be eaten up in preparation of the site; this includes meeting health and safety guidelines, securing the site, providing drainage etc…In short, to provide the best chance of a successful and permanent concrete installation, another chunk of at least £100K must be added – and soon. If the money cannot be raised in time, the skatepark will most likely be built from pre-fabricated steel ramps. This may sound good enough, but it will doom the skatepark to failure. Composite solutions are out dated, will not make the best use of the allocated area and are prone to running up huge maintenance costs when rivets pop and the units come out of alignment or the surfaces need treating with anti-weather agents. A concrete facility would not suffer from any of these problems and once in place is guaranteed maintenance free for 10 years.
Once plans are finalised (the project is currently out to tender and quotes are being assembled by several concrete park manufacturers), private sector sponsorship will be sought to top up the balance to make this great plan become a fantastic reality. Ideally, this would include a sum of money to set aside for the long term protection of the arena.
What?s it going to be like?
The facility will accommodate for all levels and abilities from beginner to advanced, and will also provide spectators with viewing areas. We are asking for input from riders as to what they would like to see to ensure that everyone has a chance to contribute towards the facility, so get in touch with C.I.S.A and involve yourself if you want. Anyone who has ridden a concrete park knows that the possibilities are endless due to its versatility.
All right, but can?t kids skate anywhere though?
To a point, yes, but to avoid the problems of road safety issues, noise complaints and accidental damage to property, we need to provide the kind of safe, controlled environment which Proposition 8 refers to.
When?s it happening!?
Now! It?s all systems go with the plans at the moment, and in order to open by the end of the year, we really need to get our skates on with the fund raising!
How can the public help?
We need all the help we can get in terms of support from the public and financial backing, so get on board and help build towards a brighter future for Jersey?s youth. Log onto www.cisa.uk.com and get involved!