GET YOUR SKATES ON: SkateZone owner-manager Darren Nyberg says council charges have taken a toll on the business's finances and the rink will close after its Halloween party next month. (Pictured: Joely Adamik enjoying a skate when the centre first opened).
GET YOUR SKATES ON: SkateZone owner-manager Darren Nyberg says council charges have taken a toll on the business's finances and the rink will close after its Halloween party next month. (Pictured: Joely Adamik enjoying a skate when the centre first opened). LEEROY TODD

'Devastating': Why treasured Gympie business has to close

ROLLER skating memories are locked in the heart of any kid that grew up in Gympie in the 1980s, along with the feeling they all ended too soon.

Now with the closure of Gympie SkateZone, the next generation of Gympie skaters could share the same fate and Gympie Regional Council planning laws could be partly to blame.

Darren and Lena Nyberg said the $33,000 change of building use council planning fee they were charged when they built the Dennis Little Dr business from scratch two years ago was a blow.

SkateZone owner-manager Darren Nyberg (left), with previous manager of Skateland Allan James.
SkateZone owner-manager Darren Nyberg (left), with previous manager of Skateland Allan James. LEEROY TODD

Mr Nyberg said it was the same fee applied to new buildings to cover extra vehicles on the road and sewerage and water infrastructure.

"Where does all this money go and how can that be a fair estimate of costs?” he asked of the charge.

"All these services were already in place - they had already been paid for when the building was built.”

High rents and an illness in the Nyberg family were the final straws.

SkateZone played a critical role last year in putting Gympie on the map, when all eyes turned to the region dubbed Australia's "80s revival town”.

Gympie was featured on The Today Show as 'Australia's 80s revival town'.
Gympie was featured on The Today Show as 'Australia's 80s revival town'. Frances Klein

Featured on news.com.au national television's The Today Show alongside one of the few-remaining dine in Pizza Huts and a last-man-standing video store (that has also since closed) the newly-opened SkateZone was in the spotlight for keeping good-old fashioned 80s fun intact in Gympie.

A rare sight that drew the nations' attention.

RELATED: Gympie's last video store forced to close for good

Mr Nyberg said the business, which was started as a community service to host roller sports in Gympie when the council could not provide a facility, had been paying for itself but not making a profit.

Roller Hockey Senior Men Australia vs New Zealand - Bevan Hurley Australia
Roller Hockey Senior Men Australia vs New Zealand - Bevan Hurley Australia LEEROY TODD

He said it had also hosted council-supported international roller hockey tournaments and there

were now 50members from juniors to veterans in the Gympie Roller Sports Club who would have nowhere to train.

It would be a great loss to regular social juniors, whose parents had praised their development at the rink, he said.

"It's devastating to us. We're pretty upset by the whole situation.”

Skatezone - Shaicee Weller
Skatezone - Shaicee Weller LEEROY TODD

Mr Nyberg said he had sold the business's assets and while whispers of a new rink opening in Gympie looked favourable for the sport's future, he hoped any new business owners did not run into the same hurdles they had.

SkateZone will remain open until the last skate at its Halloween party on October 27.

Gympie council has been contacted for comment.

"If you love skating, please come to a session and show us your support,” Mr Nyberg said.

Skatezone, Zayne Bonnick
Skatezone, Zayne Bonnick LEEROY TODD
Gympie Times


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