Cheeky skate protest for posh Perth suburb

Rebecca Le May
Australian Associated Press
Some residents of upmarket Perth beachside suburb Cottesloe oppose plans for a new skate park
Some residents of upmarket Perth beachside suburb Cottesloe oppose plans for a new skate park

A tongue-in-cheek event is planned for one of Perth's wealthiest coastal suburbs after a bizarre campaign by some locals against a proposed skate park suggested it would lead to antisocial behaviour in an area graced by "smarter" professionals.

Signs posted in Cottesloe by the Grant Marine Park Residents Action Group claimed the development would bring "increased undesirable night-time activity" including drug dealing, gangs and "non-resident visitors".

A letter distributed by the group said "it should be no surprise" nearby Fremantle and Scarborough had skate parks as their residents had much lower rates of higher education.

Post Newspapers cited a council meeting attendee as saying a skate park was "a lower socio-economic facility".

Christopher Lesiter has organised a "skate-through Cottesloe" protest on Saturday afternoon, inviting people on wheels of all kinds to rail against "not-in-my-backyard" attitudes.

"Make a point, make a stand," the Gosnells resident told 6PR radio on Wednesday.

He labelled the group's comments "classist", saying skate parks were pro-social venues for young people, getting them active and off their digital devices.

"All young kids should have equal opportunities to access great facilities."

Treasurer Ben Wyatt weighed in to the controversy, posting on social media a photo of himself on a skateboard, alongside his daughter on a pedal scooter, with the caption "I call this Cottesloe Gangsta".

Premier Mark McGowan urged the group and the council to support activities for young people in the area.

"I took my kids to skate parks when they were younger and they loved it," the Labor leader told reporters.

"A lot of the reaction there has been completely unreasonable and completely overblown, and frankly a bit embarrassing for that area."

Sam Barnett, the son of former Liberal premier Colin Barnett, can see the site from his Cottesloe balcony and says kids need a place to play.

"Skateboarding is now an Olympic sport ... unfortunately in this area there tend to be old fogies that don't want the area to change," he told AAP.

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