By ERWIN CHLANDA
Were the benches just “skateable” or were they meant for skating?
If skating isn’t allowed in the CBD – which had come as a surprise even to Mayor Damien Ryan – how come skate furniture was included in the $5m revamp of the northern end the Mall?
It was a puzzle at the town council meeting on Monday.
Lyndon Frearson, of CAT Projects, was the project manager, under instruction from the council, of course.
He puts a long-term view of what was put in there, and why. He said when asked to comment by the Alice Springs News Online:-
“In overseeing the design and development of the CBD Revitialisation Project we were faced with managing many constraints – several of which we have discussed before.
“Critically however was the need to recognise that design decisions made today would influence the use and engagement with the urban landscape for the next 20 or 30 years.
“Consequently we worked with the council and a design team to ensure that maximum functionality was built into all facets of the design – recognising that if done well, children not even born yet, will be using the area and buying coffee in the mall in 20 years!
“The impact of this was that the space at the northern end of the Mall was always recognised as a space for congregation given the proximity to the Cinema and so on, and thus required a large seating area.
“The design of the seats recognised that the seats had to be functional and engaging for all different age groups.
“As Mr Buxton pointed out, the seats are ‘skateable’ – meaning that they won’t be damaged if they are skated upon, however it was always recognised that the council would need to manage the use of the space.
“I should note that the design wasn’t just about skating or not skating. The slopes and concrete plinths were also there to encourage play by smaller children – my kids love walking along the ‘balance beam’ on a Saturday morning.
“Beyond this I am not really in a position to comment further.”
By ERWIN CHLANDA