Council ask for public comment on youth plan

Karen HuntManjimup-Bridgetown Times

Public comment is being sought on an expansive draft plan for youth in the Bridgetown-Greenbushes shire.

Shire president John Nicholas said the plan, which provides an extensive list of items that would make the shire an attractive place for young people, would feed into the council’s broader community strategy.

It was presented to the council on December 19.

“It will guide what council will be doing next year, and the year after, and the year after that,” Cr Nicholas said.

“We put this strategy in place because we want to find out what kids need, and it’s being driven from the bottom up.”

Council received $20,000 in State funding to pay for youth consultants Liz Storr of Storybox and 2015 Young West Australian of the Year Rhys Williams, who have prepared the youth plan.

Young locals were recruited to help engage their peers and in August 2016, discussions were held with representatives of clubs, schools and other organisations.

Feedback was sought via surveys conducted at youth events and online, with 194 responses received, including 157 from a total of 450 young locals aged 12 to 18.

The surveys identified priorities such as developing better facilities for recreation, mentioned by 50 young people, and social activities, with 15 calling for a youth hangout space.

“One of the things we can do is upgrade the skatepark,” Cr Nicholas said.

“It was built on a shoestring and when they ran out of money they just stopped.”

Other priorities identified were mental health and counselling services, plus more events and programs that appeal to youth interested in the arts and technology.

Inclusivity and accessibility were identified as issues with a lack of transport a barrier to participation for some.

A youth advisory group will be set up after the public comment period ends in February, Cr Nicholas said.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails