Through young eyes
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
COURTNEY Golding, 15, has enjoyed growing up in Lismore, but still wants to leave as soon as she finishes school.
Her plans were echoed by fellow Lismore Young Citizen of the Year nominees Tim Forbes, 15, and Jennifer Williams, 17, who believe there are simply not enough opportunities for young people in their home city.
"I like the sporting facilities here, and the schools are really good," said Courtney.
"The shopping in Lismore isn't too bad either, and it's in a good location being so close to the beach and Queensland."
However, the Kadina High School student said she hoped to move to Brisbane after she completed Year 12.
"Lismore just doesn't have that many employment and training opportunities.
"The TAFE is pretty good and SCU has a good reputation for particular courses, but the variety isn't there like it is in capital cities.
"I want to experience real city life.
"I want an apprenticeship with a good restaurant and there are more up there than in Lismore. I'll probably come back when I want to raise a family."
Jennifer, of Richmond River High School, said she had recently moved to North Lismore from the coast and found it hard to adjust with no beach on her doorstep.
"Lismore needs more things for kids like the under-age nightclub they have in Ballina," she said.
Tim, also of Kadina High School, agreed Lismore should look to Ballina for ideas on how to cater for its youth.
"I liked the skatepark here, but the one in Ballina is better.
"We need more night-time activities for under-18s in Lis- more, and more night-time public transport."
Lismore City councillor Jenny Dowell said the teenagers' concerns were common among the area's young people.
"We need to convince young people, particularly in their 20s and 30s, that Lismore is a great place to live," she said.
"So many people work here already and commute from the coast. We need to make them realise that Lismore isn't so bad and it's a good place to work and live as well."
All said, the young people's vision for Lismore was a more vibrant, youth-friendly city that would change the demographics of the population and entice young people to stay.