Fury over skaters' damage to new gallery benches
A GROUP of Lismore skaters has progressively wrecked a series of brand new concrete benches in the Lismore art gallery precinct so they can use them for rail grinding.
The vandalism has outraged some shop owners on nearby Keen St who are angry over the damage to public and ratepayer's infrastructure.
At least four of the benches are severely damaged, with steel 'grind blockers' ripped off and wax smeared across the length of the bench.
On several others the steel strips have been ripped off and concrete has been ripped out in the process.
Lismore art gallery director Brett Adlington said it was "unacceptable" that public property had been damaged and there had to be "mutual respect" if skaters were to use the area.
He said skaters were not currently banned from the precinct but a blanket ban was likely if the destruction continued.
Mr Adlington said security cameras in the precinct had been operational for several weeks.*
Skating is currently banned in the streets of the Lismore CBD.
The Northern Star visited the site on Tuesday and spoke with one skater, who did not want to be named, who said he was not involved in the vandalism.
"I don't know how to get up there, I couldn't slide on those things if I tried," he said.
He said he didn't agree with the vandalism but understood young people were looking to engage in urban spaces.
"I understand it's annoying for people who have to pay for it, and I see kids who have no responsibilities and just want to have fun. We were all kids, growing up and learning."
"I feel like it's just a part of skateboarding to use public spaces without care or worry or consideration for other people."
One long-time retailer on Keen St, who did not want to be named, said a line had to be drawn.
"They have destroyed public property. That's an offence," he said.
"That sort of damage has been done in a month. Can you imagine what it will be like in a year?"
He also said people with disabilities and the elderly "took fright" when they heard skaters in the area.
"You can't use the excuse that kids have got to have somewhere to play. The CBD is supposed to be a skateboard free area."
The shop owner added that skaters were not permitted "anywhere near" the Tweed Regional Gallery in Murwillumbah.