The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) has removed paint on a skateboarding fun box at an extreme sports park following complaints made by skaters that the new surface was no longer slippery. Meanwhile, netizens have slammed the Department for its ignorance and say that better protocols and more professional guidance are needed in making decisions related to the park.
Last Wednesday, netizen Warren Stuart shared a screenshot of several pictures posted by another internet user on a local skateboarding community group’s Facebook page. One photo showed a skateboarding fun box with its edges painted with yellow lines, and in another photo, the paint has chipped off. The third picture appeared to show a staff member from the park telling a skater off.
The caption of the post read, “At a skateboarding park in Mei Foo, a fun box used for grinding was painted with anti-skid paint, such that the originally smooth platform was no longer slippery. When the fun box was used [for skating] and the paint scratched off, the management company wanted to sue for damage to public property…”
Stuart, who brought the incident to the group’s attention, said, “[The] LCSD in [Lai Chi Kok] have painted the edges of the fun box in a grippy yellow- what is this yellow line? The MTR? Will the ledge be safer when it’s yellow? Anyway, the ledge is now grippy and does not slide or grind.”
“You would think LCSD would know how skaters use this obstacle, especially after more than 10 years watching us skate it. Whoever made this happen has no idea!” he said.
‘Merely a misunderstanding,’ said LCSD
Following an enquiry by HKFP, the LCSD’s Information and Public Relations Section responded on Monday saying, “In September, our staff found that at the extreme sports park in Lai Chi Kok, some of the facilities were rusty and their paint was chipping off, so we arranged for a paint job to return them to their original appearance.”
“However, following a suggestion submitted by the Hong Kong Federation of Extreme Sports a few days ago, we learned that the paint could be an obstruction to the sport of skateboarding. After a review, the Department has removed the paint for the convenience of skateboarders.”
“As for the matter of the staff giving the citizen a verbal warning, after an investigation, we believe that it is merely a misunderstanding. The manager of the venue has reminded the relevant employee to be sincere and kind when responding to comments and suggestions from members of the public.”
Better protocols needed
An internet user, Daryll Griggs, said that the Department should have better protocols when it comes to making decisions relating to the park. “They should always seek professional and experienced guidance when making changes to existing parks. They are lucky no one suffered any injury that could have been serious because of modifications made without the right expert advice,” he said.
The Lai Chi Kok Park skateboard arena opened in 2004, the first of its kind to be located inside a public park. In 2014, the LCSD announced that four more venues would accommodate extreme sports to meet demand due to their increasing popularity in Hong Kong.