Dear Brisbane slackliners,
In recent months, tension has been rising between Brisbane City Council (BCC) and slackliners engaging in their chosen sport in council parks. To address concerns on both sides, a couple of slackliners and I met with several council staff representing a number of branches of council in an attempt to identify and resolve the issues. While no formal agreement was reached, the results of this meeting were extremely positive. In particular, the following guidelines were established:
- no slacklining is permitted in the City Botanic Gardens, Orleigh Park along Hill End Tce (near the ferry stop) or other high-profile parks (a bit vague, but ANZAC Square was used as an example);
- no use of artificial structures for anchoring (except those explicitly designed for such – none of which exist yet); and
damage to trees to be minimal at worst.
In return, BCC should not bother us in other parks.
We cannot stress enough how much we would encourage people to abide by the above rules. If this experience has taught us anything, it’s that the law means next to nothing – if we’re a headache to council, they can easily shut us down and decimate the sport we all love. Whether you agree with council having this power or not, it is the truth.
Due to the fragmented nature of the community, self-regulation will be very difficult, which makes it even more important for those of us reading this not only to abide by it, but encourage others to do so as well.
We realize not everyone will be happy with all of these rules – personally, I loved slacklining in the Gardens, and I know eliminating structures as anchor points seriously limits options at Kangaroo Point – but if we are to continue enjoying our little-understood sport, we must be willing to give some ground occasionally. This agreement gives much less ground than we feared we’d have to, going into the meeting.
The meeting also outlined a plan for the future. Together with council, we are looking towards developing:
a. a comprehensive list of locations in which slacklining should not occur (clarification of point 1 above);
b. a ‘best use’ policy to minimize damage to trees, such that point 3 above can be easily and fairly abided by and enforced; and
c. ‘slackline parks’, involving installation of artificial anchor points in selected parks to allow for slacklining.
I imagine there may be a short transition period in which council workers are informed of this informal change to policy, so if you are asked to pack up in the next week or so, please do as you’re asked. If this continues, let us know and we’ll look into it.
We understand that none of us present at the meeting were elected community leaders, and some may feel we had no right pretending to represent slackliners as a whole. However, given the lack of elected leadership and an unacceptable status quo, we did what we felt was necessary. If you feel some (or all) of the above conditions are unacceptable, please feel free to contact us and we’ll consider revising it with council.
Finally, thanks must go to Ugo Capozzoli, Matt Cochran and Michael Webb for their contributions before and during the meeting, Dave Reeve for his insight into BCC mentality and Brian Lowe, Anton Trenorden, Danny Van Der Walle and Barry Conroy from BCC for their attendance and positive attitude.
0415 096 374
P.S. Those who are interested in becoming more engaged with the slacklining community are encouraged to join the Slackline Brisbane facebook group and are welcome to attend weekly Saturday afternoon community sessions at Musgrave Park, starting from 3pm. Also feel free to discuss on these forums.
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