Bar Beach bowl damaged by fire

13 Feb 2017

Newcastle City Council has engaged contractors to make speedy repairs to the skate bowl at Empire Park after the highly regarded facility was rendered unusable by vandals over the weekend.

A small section of the concrete surface in the middle of the bowl was damaged when a wiz bin was burned inside it on Saturday night.

The bowl will be fenced off from tomorrow morning for fast tracked repairs ahead of the Australian Bowl Riding Championships on Saturday 25 February.

Bar Beach Skateboard Club's Scott Mckenzie and John Bogaerts inspecting the damage this morning with Council Projects Coordinator Rod Maughan.

"We were extremely disappointed to learn of the fire damage to the skate bowl at Bar Beach yesterday morning," Newcastle City Council Infrastructure Director Frank Cordingley said.

"Council officers have assessed the damage this morning and appointed a contractor to make quick repairs."

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said Council provided this first-rate facility for the Newcastle community in 2011, and over the ensuing years it has been looked after well.

"Council staff will be working hard over the next fortnight to ensure the facility is ready for the Championships which Council proudly supports," Councillor Nelmes said.

Veteran skater and Bar Beach Skateboard Club events coordinator John Bogearts, who was instrumental in the bowl's development, said the skating community had been left "devastated" by the wanton act.

"It's probably the most highly used facility in Newcastle and it's devastating that it's out of action," said the former pro.

"It's the first time that we have had any substantial damage and it's very disappointing given its polularity."

The Bar Beach - Empire Park skate park's 7- 11 foot bowl and plaza-style street section make it one of the most progressive, diverse skate facilities in the country.

Next week's Australian Bowl Riding Championships will be the fourth consecutive year they have been held at Bar Beach.

Anyone with information about the weekend's vandalism should contact crime stoppers on 1800 333 000.