21-year-old skater Gijs van Schaick Zillesen has started a petition against the plan of the municipality of Eindhoven to ban skating in parts of the city centre.
Gijs is the initiator of the petition that has already been signed more than 1,200 times. The ban will be discussed in the city hall on Tuesday evening. It particularly concerns the covered shopping centre Piazza and the Catharinaplein near the Catharinakerk, two popular places for skaters.
Youth worker Boukje van der Zijden of youth centre Dynamo in Eindhoven hopes that the ban will be lifted. “Otherwise, they would miss out on a meeting place. A place where they can be very active. At the moment there is a lot of loneliness among young people. There should be many more places like this.”
The municipality says that shopkeepers, local enforcement, and the caretaker of the Catharinakerk have asked for the ban. Skating could cause nuisance, but also damage to the road and street furniture.
Bert Wijnveen is the manager of Piazza Centre and also wants a skating ban. He says that the skaters regularly cause damage. They destroy the floor and the railings with their skates and skateboards. He also regularly sees the skaters skim past shoppers. “Why can’t you cycle there, but you can skate?”
Skater Gijs denies that it would be dangerous. “You can also bump into someone when you are running. We are not a danger to other people because we always skate in the evening when there are not many people around.”
Eindhoven does have a designated place for skaters: Area 51. After the renovation of this huge covered hall, it is no longer what it used to be, according to Gijs. “It has been modified so that it is more attractive to BMXers and less so to skaters. In Eindhoven, we have street skateboarding. Outside, in your own place, rolling with your friends. For free.”
Gijs receives support from PvdA councilor Arnold Raaijmakers. “As a municipality, we have agreed that urban sports are one of our core sports. So why an area ban? That is a heavy measure for a small group of people. Make the public space suitable for exercise. Young people need space to meet each other.”
Next Tuesday the decision will be made about a possible skating ban in certain places in Eindhoven.
Source: Omroep Brabant
Translated by: Yawar Abbas