Appeal to Central Coast Council to apply for Safer Communities Funding to make the Peninsula Recreation Precinct safe at night
Dear Mayor Jane Smith, Deputy Mayor Chris Holstein and Central Coast Councillors
I am writing to inform Council of the soon closing Federal Funding available through the Safer Communities Fund.
The Safer Communities Fund provides grants of up to $1 million to community organisations and local governments for local crime prevention and security infrastructure activities and to protect community organisations that may be facing security risks associated with racial and /or reglious intolerance. Project activities can include:
• installation of fixed or mobile CCTV cameras
• installation of security lighting
• installation of bollards
• crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) including the removal of environmental characteristics, such as a lack of lighting or poor natural surveillance, that can facilitate street crime and violence.
Grants of up to $1 million will be available to fund up to 100 per cent of eligible project costs.
Projects must be completed by 30 June 2020.
I appeal to Council to please apply for Safer Communities funding to:
- install solar powered flood lights in the Peninsula Recreation Precinct (PRP), Umina Beach - to light the PRP every night of the year and deter youth crime and violence
- install additional CCTV cameras in the PRP to monitor activity in the Precinct and catch vandals and perpetrators of crime and violence
- fund additional random security monitoring of the PRP from a new security contractor (not Allpoint Security)
- conduct community initiatives to provide real lasting solutions to youth antisocial behaviour in Umina and in the PRP
The PRP is a site for regular night time violence, youth drug and alcohol abuse, fight clubs, car-burn-outs and bashings.
Just this year (2017), two young men have been seriously bashed in the PRP, both hospitalised in intensive care.
I have witnessed on multiple occasions, hundreds of young people coming to the park, the car park at the end of Sydney Avenue, and the beach at night to hang out at night.
Due to the lack of safe night time activities for teenagers and young adults on the Peninsula, the PRP is a popular destination for young people to gather and take part in antisocial and very dangerous activities including but not limited to:
- breaking into Jasmine Greens cafe (the shop has been broken into over thirty times in three years)
- vandalising the public toilets in the PRP and by the surf club
- graffitiing the PRP buildings and park facilities
- burning out cars in the Sydney Avenue car park
- attacking innocent passer by
- lighting fires in the PRP and on the beach
- smashing the cars and even the house windows of residents, especially on Melbourne Avenue and on Sydney Avenue
- threatening local residents with acts of violence
- consuming and selling illicit substances
- consuming alcohol and smashing bottles all though the park and onto the windows and walls of Jasmine Greens cafe
- causing a menace
- disturbing the peace
- frightening residents and tourists
- breaking into the Umina Beach Holiday Park
- smashing the cars of guests at the Umina Beach Holiday Park
- devaluing property prices in Umina by giving our area a reputation for being dangerous and increasing the crime rates in the area
I have had my cafe set alight, broken into, parts of the building ripped off, surrounded by drunken gangs of over 50 kids at a time, glass bottles smashed into my shop and kids climbing allover the building in the day and especially at night.
The security concerns are so grave that I have been unable to trade as a restaurant at night due to safety concerns for my staff and for my customers.
Just last Sunday, my bread delivery, made at 5am, was stolen from outside my cafe door and burnt in the PRP.
Most weekend mornings, my staff and I spend at least one hour cleaning up smashed glass, blood and debris from the nights violent activities, before we can open our cafe to trade.
In the 2017 June School Holidays, the public toilets at the back of my cafe were vandalised every day int he first week, every toilet was smashed every day for a week, until Council locked the public toilets for the rest of the holidays, leaving visitors to the PRP with no public toilet facilities.
The financial and social costs of this senseless violence and vandalism is massive, to Central Coast Council and and to our whole community and local economy.
The CCTV cameras in the PRP have not worked in the past three and a half years that I have been a tenant of Council in the PRP.
Every time there has been a violent attack on a person or a break-in to Jasmine Greens, the CCTV footage that is meant to feed back to base to Gosford Police station has not been found, as the cameras do not work.
Additionally the cameras currently in the PRP are not designed to film in the dark, they need light to capture video footage and catch the perpetrators of this criminal activity.
In May 2016, I held a public meeting at Jasmine Greens, attended by over 50 local residents, Woy Woy Area Command, Council staff and security experts.
Then overall sentiment at this meeting is that the community and security experts want to see the PRP lit up at night to make the park safe for people to use for recreational purposes after dark, and to feel safe travelling through the PRP after dark.
Additionally, security experts and the community want to see working CCTV cameras in the PRP, more security patrols of the PRP and more Police presence in Umina and in the PRP.
After the above mentioned public meeting, I collected over 400 signatures on the attached petition, in one week.
I have received response to this petition from the Prime Minister, Hon Malcolm Turnbull, from the former NSW Premier, Mike Baird, from the State Minister for Police, from the Hon Lucy Wicks MP, from the former State Member, Kathy Smith and other recipients of the petition.
I am still waiting for a formal response from Central Coast Council to this petition.
I am still waiting for Central Coast Council to take this matter seriously and act on solving these important community safety concerns.
Lucy Wicks MP has invited me to apply for Safer Communities funding to light the PRP and make it a safe and community and family friendly park in the night, as it is in the day.
I believe it is the responsibility of Central Coast Council to apply for this funding.
While there are only two weeks left to apply for this grant, I believe it is possible and imperative the Council works with the community to apply for this grant.
$1 million will be an amazing constitution to installing solar lights int he PRP, fixing the existing CCTV cameras in the PRP, and working on a community safety engagement plan and community led initiatives to work with our young people and provide lasting solutions to their current antisocial activities in Umina and the PRP.
I look forward to meeting with you and to working with a task force to apply for this funding by November 14, 2017.
Thanking you in advance for your action on this urgent and vital community safety matter.