A long-term view of the 'skateable' Mall furniture


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.”


  1. @ Lyndon
    “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”
    Sorry Lyndon, as project manager you should have seen that the outcome of using furniture of this design would result in conflict. It is in a busy mall, in close proximity to traffic … an accident waiting to happen.

  2. You should note that it was about skating. Also that it was taking into consideration that it was close to the cinema. It seems to me that it was taking into account that this space is frequented by the youth! Just let them use it.

  3. This should draw lots more young US tourist couples if the word were ever to sneak out … children friendly AND skateboarding.
    PS: My darling wife disagrees but, but there ought to be a way … thinking, thinking.

  4. @Melanie Ross
    Melanie, I truly hope that is is not one of yours that gets hospitalised by a flying skateboard or person.

  5. @ Terry.
    One of the things that I admire about Melanie is that she’s prepared to sign her name to her convictions, whereas your serial contributions are lacking in that you’re not prepared to stand up and be counted when it comes to putting your name to what needs changing in this town and region. You could be anything.

  6. @Russel Guy
    Thanks for the insulting post.. I do not give my name because I do not have to.. I am no longer a resident of The Alice, but lived there and loved the town for many years.. I can have no influence on anything of matter in the town now, but I still love the place, and hate to see it as it is today.. I would suggest to you Russel, that you direct your energies toward righting the wrongs in the Alice, rather than worry about a few home truths from me. Terry.

  7. to install furniture that is designed to be skated on and then continually argue the point of whether or not to let skaters skate on it is ridiculous. Why don’t we set up a jumping castle in the mall but as a mother walks past with her small children let her listen to her children cry because it isn’t there to play on, just to look at! Really! If there is a danger to windows etc in the close vicinity of the furniture but a barrier there for protection, or how about putting a sign stating “this area is reserved for skateboarders to use (insert appropriate days/time here)”. Let’s be fair to EVERYONE in the community.

  8. I honestly thought that the design was to prevent vandalism to the seats at first. Then to hear they were to accommodate skateboarders confused me. I don’t want to walk down the Mall and be made to dodge flying boards!
    If they’d designed something like the fountains that Darwin Mall had, where children of all ages played in, I’d say ‘Well done”, but skateboarding is not a sensible idea for a PEDESTRIAN mall.


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