Pe­ti­tion draws sup­port

Bid to re­lo­cate ex-cons from El­len­dale gath­ers mo­men­tum

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - BEN WATER­WORTH and JEN­NIFER CRAW­LEY

A PE­TI­TION call­ing for the re­lo­ca­tion of the Free­dom Cen­tre in El­len­dale has at­tracted more than 2000 sig­na­tures and will con­tinue for an­other week.

The pe­ti­tion was launched 10 days ago af­ter out­rage over the hous­ing of three for­mer sex of­fend­ers in a prop­erty owned by the Free­dom com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tion.

El­len­dale res­i­dent Tony Don­aghy, a mem­ber of the com­mit­tee seek­ing to have the for­mer of­fend­ers re­lo­cated, says that pa­per copies of the change.org pe­ti­tion as well as the on­line ver­sion, had col­lected 2016 sig­na­tures by Mon­day.

“We’re very happy with the re­sponse we are get­ting so far,’’ Mr Don­aghy said.

The prop­erty which houses three elderly for­mer sex of­fend­ers has di­vided the small town with many peo­ple an­gry about the lack of con­sul­ta­tion they re­ceived as well as the po­ten­tial danger the men pose to the close-knit com­mu­nity.

The change.org pe­ti­tion, which is di­rected to the board and direc­tors of Free­dom Cen­tre Inc, states “we, the deeply con­cerned cit­i­zens of the town of El­len­dale, the sur­round­ing dis­tricts in the Cen­tral High­lands and Der­went Val­ley, and con­cerned cit­i­zens in Tas­ma­nia at large, hereby pe­ti­tion that the Free­dom Cen­tre Inc re­lo­cate their premises from the re­mote, iso­lated and small town­ship of El­len­dale to a far more suit­able lo­ca­tion”.

The word­ing of the pe­ti­tion also ex­presses dis­ap­point­ment about the man­ner in which the fa­cil­ity was in­stalled.

It also states the com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tion re­lo­cated the men to El­len­dale, “covertly and hastily” as well as not con- sult­ing the com­mu­nity and “no ef­fort made at risk as­sess­ment and mit­i­ga­tion”.

The pe­ti­tion will be sent to Free­dom Cen­tre di­rec­tor El­iz­a­beth Cole­man as well as Fed­eral State and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

One per­son, who signed the pe­ti­tion also wrote about the lack of safety they now felt within the town.

“My son will never be able to take a walk to his grand­par­ents’ home, the park or the only shop in El­len­dale due to the only ac­cess avail­able for him is straight past this house,” the per­son wrote.

“My daugh­ter is un­able to catch the bus to and from school as it is the only pub­lic trans­port and these men are able to ac­cess this ser­vice with our chil­dren.”

An­other who signed the pe­ti­tion said they had moved to El­len­dale due to feel­ing safe in the small town.

CON­TENT: El­len­dale’s Tony Don­aghy is pleased by the pe­ti­tion re­sponse.

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