Lights out in Grafton car park leads to safety fears

EMPLOYEES and business owners in the Grafton CBD are fearing for their safety when they use the car park behind the Grafton library at night.

An owner of the Grafton Mall Butcher, Alana Kenny, said the lighting in the car park had become worse over the years and since parking under the library had become time-limited, she had been parking behind the building.

Ms Kenny said most of the time she leaves work with her employees in the butcher shop, but if she is walking alone, she feels afraid.

"The other night it was just me and my five-year-old and I was thinking, 'what if someone came out at us now?" she said.

"I'm also worried for the young girls from the chemist shop walk

ing back to their cars in the dark."

She said there had been well-documented problems with people hanging around the library causing problems.

"They're there at night as well," she said. "When you're going back to your car, you're aware there are people hanging around not too far away."

She said there had been problems with young children tipping rubbish and throwing bottles.

Ms Kenny said business staff do the right thing for the mall by parking behind the library, freeing up the convenient parking for customers.

"I know a lot of business tenants in King and Prince streets park there as well," she said.

"There's nowhere else they can park around nearby."

She said she contacted the council, coincidentally about the same time it informed car park users the space under the library was about to become two-hour parking.

"They said they would look into it, but so far I haven't heard back from them," Ms Kenny said.

"It was all ok when you could park under the library, but when they made it into two-hour parking, everything changed."

Ms Kenny said only a few lights worked in the car park and apart from the lights near the back of the Clocktower Hotel, the carpark was about 90% in darkness.

A quick count on Thursday night revealed only three of the 14 lights were working.

"I don't know what the problem is. It could be just maintenance. Like replacing bulbs when they go.

"The car park has become a bit of a grubby place since the library was built. There used to be people in there mowing and doing the edges, keeping the place tidy, but it's become a bit dirty."

Clarence Valley Council acting works and civil director Greg Mashiah said it was unusual for so many lights to be out at the same time and suspected there could be an issue with the control panel.

"We'll get an electrician to investigate it and make the repairs," he said.



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