Council closes 'crime alley'
FOR the past 16 years, Milgate Close resident Karen Pratt has put up with a lot of trouble in her neighbourhood.
Police also have been kept busy in the Goonellabah street.
Crime statistics for the area for the year to August show there were 168 incidents, including a homicide, malicious damage, fires, assaults, personal violence, resisting arrest and other offences.
Mrs Pratt said most of the trouble could be traced back to the narrow laneway at the end of the cul-de-sac, which leads through to Phillip Street.
“It's been a drama since the very first day we moved in,” she said.
“If the police were chasing someone, then down the pathway they would run.
“There's so much broken glass, vomit and shopping trolleys down there ... but the main problem is that it's a quick getaway for people.
“They should not build these laneways because they cause nothing but trouble.”
But now Mrs Pratt is looking forward to letting her grandchildren play in her street without worrying what might happen to them.
Lismore City Council last night voted to permanently close the pathway.
It's a move which will make a big difference to residents' lives.
“Having the pathway closed has been my pet project for a while now. I even started a petition and got most of the street to sign it,” Mrs Pratt said.
“The council put a street light in, but that only made the problems worse.
“But all our hard work to get this pathway closed is now paying off. I really want to thank Donna Clark, my neighbour, who has backed me on this and helped a lot.
“This will be the best Christmas present we could ask for.”
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said it would be great to have the pathway closed.
“It provides people with an escape route,” she said. “You always see people running from the top of the street down towards the path because they know they can get away from the police that way. If it is closed it will stop a lot of the trouble in this street.”
Normally a pathway like the one in Milgate Close takes about three years to close.
But, as indicated in a report presented to councillors last night, it was treated as an urgent matter. “Due to the community's safety concerns, a request will be made to the Department (of Lands) to treat this application with urgency,” the report states.
“Until the application is determined, the pathway may be temporarily closed with appropriate signage and temporary fencing.”