Photo by Casey Foley. Words by Steve Rodgie.
Melbourne skateboarders are being accused of causing ‘tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to Lincoln Square – which is currently being destroyed by excavators and jackhammers.
Incredibly, this is not a joke.
Channel 7’s typically bigoted and poorly-researched news report, which aired last night, labels the Lincoln locals as ‘vandals’ who are retaliating against the Melbourne City Council’s decision to dig up and remodel Lincoln, making it unskateable.
The video below shows the shocking extent of the damage caused ... by the council ... using $450,000 in taxpayer’s money.
Channel 7 News report.
Local skater James Whiting, who was interviewed in the 7 News report, left a comment on their Facebook page, saying; “Thanks, [Channel] 7, for ignoring 99% of what I said and then taking that remaining 1% totally out of context”.
The Herald Sun’s article reflects Channel 7's viewpoint with a similar anger-mongering report, titled “Vandals On Wheels Attack Bali Memorial”.
So, what has actually been happening down at Lincoln Square over the past week? Let’s observe some of the ‘vandalism’ in the Instagram video below, posted on Monday.
Is this what constitutes as vandalism?
“The claims are insane”, says skateboarder and photographer Isaac Matz. “We’ve been there every night and all people do is skate the ply wood. It’s ridiculous. They’re trying to make it look like skaters are destroying it, when it was already destroyed.”
“They have definitely gone overboard this time”, adds Lincoln regular Casey Foley. “The place has been completely destroyed already. There’s no way that over $10,000 of damage has been caused. All the videos from the news are taken of rubble caused by the renovations. I really don’t understand where they got these figures.”
A commenter on 7 News Melbourne’s Facebook page noted; “I thought these changes had been planned some time ago. Are the skateboarders to be used as a scapegoat for tens of thousands of tax dollars being spent?”
Geoff Campbell, switch crooks, Lincoln Square, 2014. Photo by Casey Foley.
Thankfully, there have been some more positive reports on the benefits Lincoln had to skateboarders and the Carlton community. Writing for redflag.org, Sandra Bloodworth scalds The City of Melbourne and its Lord Mayor Robert Doyle for the colossal waste of Lincoln’s destruction.
“Why would a council spend $450,000 destroying such a popular space – full of life, friendship and what would be called ‘community spirit’?”, asks Sandra.
“Residents of Melbourne receive a glossy magazine boasting about the ‘culture’ and ‘inclusiveness’ of the city,” she continues. “What it doesn’t tell you is if you’re not middle class with lots of money involved in what respectable people approve of, or if you want to make your voice heard about inequality and injustice, then you’re excluded.”
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, who describes Lincoln skateboarders as ‘boneheads’, ‘ratbags’, and ‘thugs’, has voiced his intention to employ security guards to monitor the area – in an effort to ensure that no further rubble is disrupted while excavators annihilate the remains of what has been a treasured icon of Melbourne skateboarding for the past decade.
Photo by Jon Fitzgerald.
Update: In an interview conducted by Triple J's Tom Tilley, which aired on Hack last night, Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle admitted that he had only received only "half a dozen" complaints from the local residents about skateboarding at Lincoln Square. He also admitted to have never visited Lincoln to observe what took place there. You can listen to the whole interview here, or read the highlights.