Derby girls upset at venue decision

SHARE

The Waismack Roller Derby team’s wheels are in a spin.
The enthusiastic group of North Canterbury mums and professional working women, who have been training hard for the past couple of years to learn how to play Roller Derby, are frustrated that their request to use the Amberley pavilion for training has been denied by the Hurunui District Council’s Amberley ward committee.
‘‘We are upset and the decision almost feels judgemental of us,’’ the team says.
The group has fallen in love with the sport which is helping improve their fitness, physical and mental health, and is flabbergasted the ward committee turned down their request because of ‘‘potential’’ damage to the floor.
The Roller Derby team has called foul on that point.
It says the Amberley pavilion has hosted roller skating discos in the past and the wheels on those skates had much more potential to damage the floor than those on their $300 skates with rubber wheels, as did the high heels on some women’s shoes.
It says the committee was provided with information, albeit from Australia, and a letter offering it the opportunity to contact the sports centre manager for the Christchurch City Council, who was happy to alleviate any concerns about the floor as the sport of Roller Derby is a growing activity in Cowles Stadium and other city council venues.
‘‘The short answer is that the rubber wheels of the skates do not damage the floors. We offered to come and demonstrate how we play roller derby, butthis opportunity was not pursued by the council,’’ the team says.
‘‘Despite the fact that some of us are ratepayers, the council declined the request to practice roller derby at the Amberley pavilion, based on an incorrect assumption that our skates might damage the floor, with no conversation with us or questions about any of their concerns,’’ the team says.
‘‘This year we have all worked hard to train for our international skills test with the Otautahi Roller Derby league in Christchurch, with a view to starting a team in North Canterbury for our local community.’’
Now the team needs a wooden floor to practice on and their plea has reached out into the community where some members are livid the girl’s request has been denied.
Barry Foster, a local electrician, who has a roller derbying daughter in the city, says it is a fantastic sport and there is no way the rubber wheels would damage the floor.
Mr Foster is now visiting councillors and council staff to try and help the team find a home.
The team, meanwhile, just wants the council to understand they are members of the community who want nothing more than to pursue their interest in a responsible way.
‘‘We are extremely disappointed that the council did not have a conversation with us before declining our application.
‘‘We would like them to reconsider, by taking the time to follow up on other sports centres and make a decision based on evidence, not assumptions.
‘‘We are contributing members of our local community who very much wish to provide an exciting new sporting opportunity in a safe environment to other interested North Canterbury women,’’ they say.
Hurunui District Council chief executive Hamish Dobbie says the ward committee’s decision was based on the information provided. If there was further information that could be provided the committee may consider having a second look at the proposal.