The skate park safety initiative and meeting held last week for the Cootamundra community saw over 50 people attend, who discussed ways of ensuring the park remains a safe space for everyone.

Case Manager of Youth and Family Services for Mission Australia (Cootamundra), Sharon Reddie, told The Times that the barbecue was a success.

“Young people, parents, grandparents, leaders and representees came to the skate park to enjoy a free sausage at the event hosted by the Council, NewSouth Wales Police and Mission Australia,” she said.

“There were some great conversations and ideas proposed, including the need for a clear set of rules at the park about appropriate behaviour.”

Sharon explained that there will be consequences put into place for those not respecting the park rules and encourages parents and young people to report any misbehaviour to police.

“There will be some warnings, but ultimately people could be banned from using the skate park for quite sometime,” she said.

Conversation on the afternoon of the barbecue also saw community members suggesting a program where older skaters could provide leadership for young people using the site, to encourage a good behaviour model.

“We have also had some generous church members offer to run a fortnightly barbecue at the skate park on a Sunday,” Sharon said.

“This will hopefully begin in the coming weeks and allow some of the younger skaters to build a connection with the community.”

The continuation of the barbecues will also allow the community the opportunity to make suggestions of how they can continue making safe choices at the park.

“We spoke about putting up extra cameras in the park to supervise behaviour,” Sharon explained.

“We are looking at erecting signage at the skate park as well, which will be simple behaviour rules, but also displaying the police phone number for people to call in the event of an incident.”

Officer in charge in Cootamundra, Inspector Nadine Roberts said that the initiative is about creating a safe space and inclusive environment for all kids to enjoy.

“The police are committed to working closely with the council to ensure this occurs,” she said. Mission Australia, Council and thePolice encourage the Cootamundra community to remain involved in discussions surrounding the skate park’s safety so that they can make improvements.

Rebecca More