Geraldton’s beloved Rollerdrome proposed to reopen

Elise Van Aken & Reuben CarderGeraldton Guardian
Jemma Bell and Mandy Smith practising figure skating at the Geraldton Rollerdrome during the 1980s.
Camera IconJemma Bell and Mandy Smith practising figure skating at the Geraldton Rollerdrome during the 1980s. Credit: Lost Geraldton/Facebook

The much-loved and missed Rollerdrome could be making a comeback in Geraldton, with a new operator applying to the City of Greater Geraldton to re-fit and reopen the centre.

Geraldton Sporting Aboriginal Corporation has made an application to “use and develop” 15 Simpson Street in Beresford, which has been vacant since 2015.

It was the Geraldton Rollerdrome more than two decades ago, and more recently the Sun City Christian Centre.

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Geraldton's old Rollerdrome at 15 Simpson Street, Beresford.
Camera IconGeraldton's old Rollerdrome at 15 Simpson Street, Beresford. Credit: Elise Van Aken/Midwest Times

GSAC is looking to lease the space from Wonthella Sands and Building Supplies and run indoor sports including roller derby and hockey, cricket, soccer, netball and basketball, youth activities and cultural events.

The application said the activities would “not be dissimilar to land uses previously undertaken from this site when the Geraldton Rollerdrome and church youth groups operated,” with the corporation proposing to remove the stage and carpet from the main room that were installed when the church took over the space.

“The Rollerdrome site has served Geraldton and been used for private recreation activities for several decades, and is fondly remembered by generations of Geraldton residents,” it read.

“The applicant ... who has been operating successfully for three years, however, is now constrained by the lack of a suitable multi-purpose centre.

“The vision of the site is for active engagement and participation to bring the community together.”

Inside the vacant property at 15 Simpson Street, Beresford, formerly the Geraldton Rollerdrome and Sun City Christian Centre.
Camera IconInside the vacant property at 15 Simpson Street, Beresford, formerly the Geraldton Rollerdrome and Sun City Christian Centre. Credit: WA Planning and Logistics Pty Lt

GSAC chief executive Adrian Bartlett said the project had been in the works for 21/2 years.

“We’re excited by the prospect but we’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves — we’re certainly hoping it’s a positive (outcome),” he said.

“As we’ve found with all this rain ... outdoor sports, roller skating, roller hockey can’t train. Youth space is also minimal.

“It’s ideal for safe youth space and general community use.

“If we get the nod, it’s an exciting time and we’re looking forward to promoting those activities.”

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said if the drome was reopened, he hoped the public would support the venture, which had closed because of a lack of patronage under its former operators.

“The plans at the moment are still at a somewhat high level, but anything that increases youth activities and sport is always a good thing,” he said.

Historically, things like games arcades, 10-pin bowling and indoor sports existed in Geraldton but weren’t supported by the community enough to make them viable.

- CGG Mayor Shane Van Styn

“With this potential return we’d like to see the community show their support through patronage.”

Public consultation on the plan is open through the City of Greater Geraldton until August 18.

Mr Van Styn said depending on the public feedback, City staff had the authority to approve the land use without it having to be considered by the council.

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