Youth Plaza skates into troubled times

IT’S ONLY been open for just over three weeks and already the Goonellabah Youth Plaza is causing its fair share of problems.

Violence by a small number of malcontents has marred what is otherwise a first-class skate park and games facility.

Police have already identified the site, on Oliver Avenue, as one of Lismore’s top trouble spots.

An SMS from one of our readers on Tuesday described how ‘innocent users’ had been attacked by ‘violent locals’.

And just as the skateboarders who use the park are capable of pulling off some radical moves, Lismore City Council has been forced to take some fairly radical action in order to fix the problems.

The council has hired some security guards who now patrol the site daily

Two closed circuit television cameras in the area have been re-directed to cover the site and a third will be installed soon.

The council has co-opted a couple of youth workers to go to the skate park and work through some of the issues which are threatening to de-rail the vast majority of innocent users who just want to have fun.

The council has also vowed to lobby Federal MP Janelle Saffin to secure funding to hire the youth workers on a longer-term basis.

The skate park has been 10 years in the making, cost $684,000 to build and looks set to become a further drain on the public purse.

When young people are crying out for something to do after school or on the weekends, this sort of backlash is a worrying sign.

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