Related: Skateboarders given marching orders
A group of Bendigo skaters ordered to dismantle the indoor skate park they built in an abandoned, government-owned building have been ‘overwhelmed’ by support since going public with their campaign to maintain the site.
Toby Gujer, 21, who spearheaded the effort to build and now save the place he calls the ‘Neighbourhood’, said the support he and his friends had received in the last 24-hours was “mind-blowing” and had led to a meeting with the department which wants to evict them.
The registered nurse started a petition – ‘Save the Neighbourhood’ – which had notched 697 supporters by 3pm yesterday.
By midday today that figure had reached 1,218 supporters. A Bendigo Advertiser readers’ poll had received 1400 responses – 90 per cent in favour of the skateboarders being able to use the site – and an Addy Facebook post received more than 80 comments and 60 shares.
Mr Gujer said he had no idea his petition would attract that much support.
“Honestly, I thought we’d barely get 100 signatures,” he said.
“That overwhelming amount of support is just mind-blowing.
“Obviously, people must think it’s a good thing we’re doing and a good thing, not just for us, but for the community.”
The Castlemaine Health nurse said his group had now arranged to meet with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning which owns the building.
DELWP Loddon Mallee land planning and approvals regional manager Adam Melis confirmed the meeting was scheduled for this Wednesday at the site – the former Bendigo State Government Battery in Golden Square.
"We contacted Toby Gujer this morning and have arranged a private meeting on Wednesday between Mr Gujer and DELWP officers to discuss the group’s needs and any requirements that need to be addressed to authorise any potential future use of the site," he said in a statement.
Mr Gujer said he wanted to “hear them out” and work towards making the site safe for future use.
In the meantime, he had a message for all of those who have reached out to the group.
“I’d just like to thank everyone supporting the cause,” he said.
“We’re happy to be contacted if anyone would like to get involved – either contact myself of Tyler Wilkinson or Thomas Prince via Facebook.”