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