Tougher se­cu­rity for skate parks

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Alexis Gill­ham alexis. gill­ham@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

SKATE parks will be bol­stered with more se­cu­rity and pos­si­ble around-the-clock CCTV sur­veil­lance sys­tems.

A Townsville City Coun­cil re­view has found safety at the of­ten trou­bled youth hang­outs to be lack­ing.

An­nounc­ing the plan at yes­ter­day’s Com­mu­nity Safety and Health Com­mit­tee meet­ing, chair­man Dale Last said the cam­eras would add to an in­crease in se­cu­rity pa­trols.

Cr Last said the in­creased se­cu­rity mea­sures at skate parks would be added dur­ing school hol­i­days and other peak pe­ri­ods to curb anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

‘ ‘ T h e r e v i e w ( o f s a f e t y mea­sures at Townsville’s four skate park fa­cil­i­ties) looked at ex­ist­ing mea­sures we have at skate parks and those of other coun­cils to see how we can im­prove safety in light of an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour that comes from time to time,’’ Cr Last said.

‘‘ The chal­lenge we’ve got is to con­vince young peo­ple that the skate parks are for their use and caus­ing trou­ble or dam­ag­ing the fa­cil­i­ties is dumb and un­ac­cept­able to the broader com­mu­nity.

‘‘ Se­cu­rity pa­trols and sur­veil­lance are es­sen­tial, but on their own won’t be the en­tire so­lu­tion. Hav­ing a stronger se­cu­rity pres­ence at the skate parks when there are a lot of young peo­ple around makes good sense but I think it’s im­por­tant that we also con­tinue to lobby for gov­ern­ment fund­ing to in­stall CCTV at all of our skate parks.’’

The skate parks are lo­cated at Pi­o­neer Park at River­way, Murr a y S p o r t P r e c i n c t , P e g g y Ban­field Park and Horse­shoe Bay, Mag­netic Is­land.

River­way’s fa­cil­ity is al­ready cov­ered by CCTV.

Peggy Ban­field Park at Bush­land Beach, which cost ratepay­ers more than $ 640,000 to cre­ate, has been a con­stant tar­get for van­dals, with thugs rip­ping out trees, spray­ing graf­fiti, de­stroy­ing lights and ir­ri­ga­tion and re­peat­edly throw­ing rub­bish all over the fa­cil­ity since it opened two years ago.

‘‘ In most cases the trou­ble is caused by peo­ple who don’t use the skate parks,’’ Cr Last said.

‘‘ The re­view found that hav­ing a broader strat­egy in­clud­ing more se­cu­rity pa­trols dur­ing hol­i­days and high-us­age times is an ef­fec­tive way to deal with the prob­lem.

‘‘ Ob­vi­ously we want to make skate parks a safe place for young peo­ple to gather and en­joy ac­tiv­i­ties.’’

Teens us­ing Peggy Ban­field Park last year didn’t seem con­cerned about the piles of rub­bish strewn around the park.

They said there was only one bin, which was too far from where they liked to sit.

At least one bin was set alight dur­ing one of nu­mer­ous van­dal at­tacks on the park since it was built.

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