Clean your CBDs

By TOBY WALKER

twalker@dailyexaminer.com.au

PUBLIC drunkenness, vandalism and anti-social behaviour have turned some parts of Grafton and South Grafton into no-go areas for residents fearful of their safety.

A number of letters have arrived at The Daily Examiner's offices in recent days penned by people afraid to venture into Market Square for fear of intimidation and violence.

Several hundred metres down the road, the vandalism plaguing Grafton's skatepark has left a concerned mother dismayed.

Worried her children, who use the skate park, would suffer at the hands of those giving the area a bad name, the woman requested to remain anonymous.

She pointed to the latest act of vandalism over the weekend in which bottles were smashed around the skatepark, leaving the area littered with glass.

The woman conceded it was a minority of the people using the park that were causing the problems, but asked for more to be done by police and Clarence Valley Council to make the area safer for the children who use it.

Meanwhile, at Market Square, the problems associated with public drinking in the park and anti-social behaviour continue.

Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell knows those problems more than most. His office looks across the road to Market Square and he claims to have been confronted by intoxicated people hurling abuse at him on several occasions.

"We've had aggressive drunks come into the office, the ladies who work here have had things said to them by the drunks hanging around," he said.

"I've had people complain about the problems in the park, they're not being assaulted, but they're being intimidated though and I think it's unruly behaviour ... and most of it is Aboriginals there and the same over in Wharf Street in South Grafton.

"It's a problem in Market Square, but there's also places over in South Grafton, in Through Street at the park there, where the same thing is happening, where it's becoming a refuge for people who want to go there during the day to get drunk and cause problems."

Mr Cansdell believed the public wished to see habitual offenders, particularly young offenders, punished for their actions more quickly.

Through a Private Members Bill he plans to introduce into State Parliament later this year, Mr Cansdell hoped to facilitate a system that would mete out justice without tying up the courts.

The views expressed by Mr Cansdell are not necessarily shared by The Daily Examiner.



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