revamped Broch

Improvements underway: Councillor Ian Tait and youths look on as Chris Harrison, Broch Skateclub chairman gets busy improving the ramps at the skate park. picture: Alison Kennedy
Improvements underway: Councillor Ian Tait and youths look on as Chris Harrison, Broch Skateclub chairman gets busy improving the ramps at the skate park. picture: Alison Kennedy

Improvements are underway at the Broch skatepark as the Skate Club, with the help of a local councillor, get set to revamp its deteriorating facilities.

The club which was formed last year, set a short-term goal of tidying up the present skate park and aim to provide better facilities in the town for skaters.

In order to achieve these goals, Chris Harrison, chairman of the club, approached councillor Ian Tait for assistance and to discuss how the equipment at the park could be improved.

Councillor Tait is delighted to announce that the Area Committee has agreed to award the club £250 to help it improve the existing facilities. He said: “The skateboarders pointed out to me that the edges of the ramps are not clean, making them difficult to use. These can be infilled with a filler to give a temporary solution, so I encouraged them to ask the Area Committee to meet the cost of this, some £250. This seemed to me to be a very small amount to allow the ramps to be used by so many youngsters and I am delighted to say the Committee agreed to my request.

“While I was down at the skatepark, I noticed the steel fence was deteriorating and asked the skateboarders if they needed this. They advised me that they would be delighted if I could have it taken down. I approached the council officers and have been advised that the fence will be taken down this week.

“There was also an exposed cable which officers told me was not dangerous, but for the sake of safety, that cable has been sunk down too. Finally, the overhead lighting was not pointed in best directions for the skateboarders so I asked the officers to look at this and they have changed the direction of some of the lights to provide better illumination.”

Discussing long term solutions in connection with the ramps, Cllr Tait explained the difficulties due to the instability of the ground. He said: “The present ramps are approaching the end of their life in terms of giving a good skateboarding experience, however it is not just a simple case of seeking to replace them.

“The ground there is very unstable, I have had the council’s engineers down to the skatepark and they have confirmed the ground difficulties as it is not able to support heavy loads, making future choices difficult. For example, the present ramps could be lifted and new lightweight ones be put in their places, but not everyone likes these lightweight smooth ramps. An alternative option would be to replace like for like, but that would be difficult because of the weight of the cement ramps. The ramps in place have probably sunk as far as they will sink but to replace them would mean removing the sub-soil and in-filling with stable material much the same as was done at the Tesco site, however, this is very expensive.

“The club is looking into the long term options at the moment but when they have decided on the course of action they want, I will look at that with them again and hopefully move things on. They are actively looking to encourage more parents to become involved and that would be the best thing for them. The more shoulders to carry the load, the easier it becomes.”

Chris added: “I would be delighted to see some more parents at our next meeting, everyone will be most welcome.

“I would also like to thank Claymore homes for the assistance they have provided and would encourage other local business to get in touch if they are able to assist us in any way.”

The next meeting of the skate club is today (Thursday) at 7pm in the Community Centre, Alexandra Terrace.

For further information on the club contact Chris at info@brochskateclub.com or harrison@brochskateclub.com