Skateboarders ride on war memorial

Marks of disrespect: Skate marks on the new Frankston war memorial at Beauty Park. Picture: Gary Sissons

SKATEBOARDERS have been using the new Frankston war memorial in Beauty Park as a skate ramp just days before Anzac Day ceremonies.

Black and blue skid marks have marred the names of servicemen and women engraved on the memorial’s curved wall just days before Anzac Day ceremonies held at the Beauty Park site for the first time.

The $480,000 memorial was officially unveiled on Sunday 10 April. Frankston RSL hosted a dawn and late morning service at Beauty Park on Monday 25 April.

Several skateboarders have been seen skating on the memorial’s wall featuring the engraved names of local World War I veterans in the days leading up to Anzac Day.

Perhaps it is not surprising that the memorial attracts skateboarders. The company that built it, Convic Pty Ltd, also designs and builds skate parks.

Convic project manager Alexis Sartitsis said Frankston Council had provided a concept design shape for the memorial to the company.

Mr Sartitsis said the Frankston war memorial is the first memorial Convic has constructed.

“We’ve done feature works before but not statues or memorials,” he said.

“We’ve done youth space and outdoor recreational spaces.”

Magnet for skateboarders: The design of the newly unveiled Frankston war memorial. Picture: Gary Sissons

Cr Glenn Aitken previously voiced concerns about the design when councillors debated how best to honour local veterans when moving the memorial from Davey St to Beauty Park due to traffic and crowd congestion.

“I told everybody this will be an absolute magnet for skateboarders and that is exactly now what is happening,” he said.

“The shape of this memorial is a natural attraction for any skater.”

Skate park design experts Convic, usually tasked with encouraging skateboarding, provided advice on anti-skate measures to council.

“That advice was taken onboard by council,” Mr Sartitsis said.

Cr Aitken took photographs of the Bali memorial in Melbourne to show fellow councillors and council officers how skateboarders desecrated that memorial.

Melbourne City Council has been forced to spend about $300,000 on design changes to discourage skateboarders from riding across the memorial in Carlton’s Lincoln Square to victims of the 2002 Bali bombing.

Just last week skateboarders were accused of vandalising Melbourne’s Bali memorial causing tens of thousands of dollars damage.

“The people who said there would be no issue [in Frankston] and chose to pay little or no attention to it need to be reminded the city is now left with a significant problem,” Cr Aitken said.

“The only thing realistically that could be done to prevent skateboarding on that surface now would be the installation of multiple blades so that there’s not going to be a smooth ride for people.”

The simplicity of the design could be at risk and the installation of blades will cost more money, according to Cr Aitken.

“But if something is not done the skateboarding will continue and the surface of the memorial that we’ve paid so much money for will be scarred and possibly may need to be repaired at significant expense.”

Lest we forget: The first Anzac Day services will be held at the new Frankston war memorial on Monday. Picture: Gary Sissons

Frankston RSL president Kevin Hillier said he is “not happy” about the new Frankston war memorial being used as a skate park.

“I would encourage parents who have children who use skateboards to educate them about the respect due to a war memorial,” he said.

“I went down there and had a chat to some older skateboarders. I encouraged them to honour the memorial and ask them to speak to any kids they see skateboarding over it.”

Offenders can face fines and up to two years jail for wilfully desecrating a memorial.

Frankston Council did not respond to questions, despite having several days to do so, asking whether measures will be put in place to stop skateboarders riding on the Beauty Park war memorial.

Names marred: Black and blue skateboard marks on the war memorial’s wall. Picture: Gary Sissons

This article was amended on Monday 25 April to include comments from Convic Pty Ltd about its construction of the Frankston war memorial.

Published in the Frankston Times – 25 April 2016

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7 thoughts on “Skateboarders ride on war memorial

  1. Why don’t the government make more a memorial that doesn’t have ledges rails banks and ramps or make spots that allow people to ride them like in other country’s

  2. If you didn’t want any one to ride it why get a famous skate park building brand “Convic” to make a perfectly good skate spot/ memorial.

    By labelling it as a war memorial didn’t stop Lincoln Square (most famous street spot )in the heart of Melbourne from being used “.

    Frankston council is just attention seeking, why winge take just take action.

    It would take minor adjustments, that would only cost maximum $1000 to prevent it being used as a “skatepark”.

    Maybe upgrade the current skatepark with some new features to make up for taking away another spot. Just so the skatepark community doesn’t get upset and start taking to the streets.

  3. How could the council not have foreseen this happening?
    A company that builds skate parks builds a skate park shaped memorial, with metal coping to protect the surface from damage and people have skateboarded on it.
    I was truly hoping this was a conscious decision and a new progressive outlook on the use of war memorials and other public spaces but I guess the old mindset wins again.
    A memorial is a half-million dollar piece of concrete to be looked at once a year.

  4. This horrifies me, such disrespect for men and women who died on foreign ground for them and their freedom, maybe we could have the culprits sent to foreign soil and then see how they feel.

  5. I don’t understand one thing, why create a skate-park when it is not allowed for skater to skate their. Its true that it looks bad when people skate on memorial monument but site designer had to make it sure skater doesn’t get that chance. There must be other places on that park where skater enjoy their riding.

  6. It’s upsetting to see this kind of disrespect on a war memorial. I wish skaters would take their skateboards and use the local skate parks instead. Hopefully people will learn from this story and we won’t see articles like this again.

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