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Community & Business

7 February, 2021

The Peter Veness Skate Park is now open

At this year’s Australia Day ceremony, the late Peter Veness was honoured for his efforts in making the skate park a reality in Gilgandra along with his friend Todd Gregory. The park was officially opened as the Peter Veness Skate Park, with the sign at the park designed by Mr Gregory.

By Telden Nelson

Pictured are friends of Peter Veness, Julian Leembruggen, Todd Gregory, his mother and father Cheryl and David Veness and friend Warwick Newell. Photos courtesy of Narelle Rodway.

In 1998 a group young people headed by the late Peter Veness and Todd Gregory formed the “Stunt Factory” and began fundraising for the project. The skate park was completed in 2001 and for his efforts Peter was named the Gilgandra Young Citizen of the Year.

Peter sadly passed away in 2012 of a rare form of brain cancer at the age of 27.

Present at the ceremony last week was Peter’s mother and father Cheryl and David Veness.

“The award to our late son Peter, was really a community award because he did have a lot of help in getting funding for the skate park,” said Mr Veness.

“It’s very touching as far as the family is concerned, we think it’s great that the community has honoured our late son’s memory. We’re pleased the way all parts of the community respect the facility and the fact that the community looks after it so well.”

Mr Veness spoke of the support that members of the Gilgandra Shire Council had given Peter in his efforts to raise money and build the park.

David Veness addresses the Australia Day crowd in Hunter Park.

“Probably most important thing when he was at the high school was the council members supporting the project. The community spirit in Gilgandra is really great, we get out there at least once a year for the high school presentation.”

Mr Veness said that it still surprises him to this day the kind of impact his son had on the people around him.

“We’re just gobsmacked that he’s made such an indelible memory on lots of lots of people over the years.”

Gilgandra Shire Council’s acting mayor Ash Walker praised Peter’s vision to create this skate park even though he was not a skater himself.

“This is a great legacy for the community that Peter has left, not only raising funds but also raising awareness for the need of a skate park in Gilgandra,” said Mr Walker.

“Over $100 thousand has been spent on the extension/upgrade of the skate park and thankfully this has been funded by NSW government under Stronger Country Communities. This sort of community infrastructure is used by our local youth on a daily basis and is greatly appreciated.”

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