Neighbourhood Centre youth worker Jill Cross-Antony, Brad Hawkins, Gordon McDermaid, Daemondo Edwards and Dubbo City Council social services manager John Watts at the skate park yesterday. Photo: BELINDA SOOLEAdults keen to wipe out a spate of bullying at Dubbo Skate Park will be visiting it from today.
Nanjing Night Net

Dubbo City Council’s manager of social services John Watts said they were “striking while the iron’s hot” after being informed by the community of “issues” at the $400,000 world-class facility.

Bullying, littering and vandalism prompted an informal community meeting and barbecue at the Talbragar Street facility yesterday where council officers and others were told of a “small group” of youth causing problems at “various times”, but mostly after school.

Mr Watts believes the “three or four” offenders may be disruptive because they “want to participate but don’t have the equipment” to do so.

His talks with skate park users have given rise to hope that the current bullying can be nipped in the bud, in part through the willingness of youngsters to “give tips and help out” others.

But an informal roster of adult visitors to the skate park, and encouragement of families to watch their skateboarding enthusiasts, are seen by Mr Watts as a means of “regulating” the environment.

A contingent of council staff took part in the meeting, along with representatives of the police, Juvenile Justice, Mission Australia, the Smith Family and UnitingCare Burnside.

Parents and “interested” adults also made their way to the barbecues near the skate park yesterday.

Mr Watts said plenty of hands went up for the informal roster, kicking off today.

“It was a good roll-up with lots of kids and adults,” he said.

Along with stories of “harassment”, he heard of “older kids helping younger kids”.

Mr Watts said Mission Australia was preparing a written report on the bullying and would “quietly” go about identifying the troublemakers in an effort to talk to them.

On returning to his office yesterday afternoon, the manager said he continued to field emails and calls related to the skate park.

He intends passing on to colleagues the infrastructure concerns of users raised at the meeting.

Dubbo City Council and the Department of Sport and Recreation each chipped in about $200,000 to pay for the facility which opened two years ago this month.

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