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Monday February 20, 2012
Palm trees, disco balls, roller
skates, retro music and bright
lights transformed Garema
Place into a vibrant oasis for
Roller Skate in the City.
The Canberra CBD Ltd initiative
followed on from the popularity of
Skate in the City, which saw the centre
transformed into a winter wonderland.
How did the first Roller Skate in
the City measure up? Canberra CBD
Limited chief executive Stephen Gregory
thought the event proved popular
with Canberrans of all ages, attracting
7000 people across its month-long
"The event proved popular with
Canberrans and there is no doubt it did
serve as an opportunity for adults to
introduce their children to the sport,"
"Beginner lessons were more popular
than advanced lessons and there were
always lots of children on the rink with
"Under fives only accounted for about
10 per cent of the patrons so there was
a large group of six to 12 year olds
practicing new moves.
"We've been very pleased with the
outcomes -- it's certainly transformed
"Numbers have been very promising.
It was a very hard thing to predict with
something that's new."
The coldest Canberra summer in
living memory coupled with the time
of year to create attendances that were
lower than expected but those that
ventured onto the rink gave glowing
reports about the experience.
"The event was always focussed on
activating Garema Place in an otherwise
quiet time for the city centre," Gregory
"We expect comparisons to be made
with the ice skating held in the winter
but our roller skating event is a very
different event with its own uniqueness
-- any comparison drawn between the
two is purely subjective."
Along with family activities, the Roller
Skate in the City rink also contained its
fair share of high-octane action, with
the local roller derby league and roller
soccer clubs using the facility, drawing
intrigued looks from Canberrans.
The integration of the sports into the
event went well, Gregory said, with the
initiative building community spirit and
The initiative provided people with
a chance to reconnect with roller
skating and Gregory said there was
strong spectator support for not just the
demonstration activities but also feature
shows and evening films.
Classic roller skating films such as
Boogie Nights, Xanadu and Can't Stop
The Music were shown on the outdoor
"Our highest audiences have been
for the retro movie nights and the roller
disco; we could easily adapt different
themes to that activity," he said.
A decision on Skate in the City 2012
is expected in late March but Gregory
can see a positive future for the event
and roller skating in Canberra.
The inaugural Roller Skate in the City has wrapped up a summer
of fun in Garema Place. Canberra CBD Ltd chief executive Stephen
Gregory explains why he considers the event a success.
Roller derby action lit up Garema Place this summer.
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