MACEDON Ranges Shire Council thanked Romsey residents who attended a community forum last month to discuss ‘multi-faceted’ issues and said a community approach was essential.

The forum, hosted by Victoria Police, came to be after Romsey man William Nixon expressed his concern for the lack of action by police and council surrounding several youth and safety issues in the town.

The community gathered at Romsey Mechanics Institute where they were given the opportunity to speak with council representatives, a youth worker for the shire and Romsey police Sergeant Eddy Barake.

Some of the main issues raised at the forum included the safety of residents while making use of public spaces, particularly the Romsey skate park, the anti-social behaviour by youth in the shire, and the lack of appropriate activities and facilities made available for youth in the region.

Many residents questioned council and police about the length of time it took for them to act on the issues.

Council issued a statement earlier this month to thank residents for their attendance.

“Hearing from residents, community groups, and community members of all ages, has shown that a combined council, police and community approach will be essential when tackling the multi-faceted issues raised,” the statement read.

“Council recognises the need for ongoing communication with the people of Romsey, providing updates as well as chances to hear concerns and feedback. This is a highly-engaged community who are coming together to express their concerns and find possible solutions.

“Council will work with Victoria Police to provide additional opportunities like Wednesday’s forum for community discussion and input.”

Council said the forum demonstrated providing a space for young people to voice their concerns and advocate for changes meaningful to them was a crucial part of the conversation.

“While it can be easy to group young people in the ‘youth’ catch-all, there are a range of different needs of the young people in Romsey based on interests and age,” the statement read.

“Council plans to further engage with the young people of Romsey via an ideas workshop to hear directly from them about what they want to see. Input will be sought face-to-face and via social media.

“Council recognises that while it is vital to provide services and opportunities for young people in Romsey, it is also important to explore transport solutions that enable young people who cannot drive to socialise with their peers and access services across the shire.

“While COVID-19 restrictions impacted Council’s ability to deliver some youth programs throughout 2020, Council is currently ramping up its youth offering. For current opportunities visit mrsc.vic.gov.au/youth.”

Council said they provided CCTV footage to police ‘willingly’, which was another issue raised by residents.

Although CCTV signage is frequently targeted by vandals and removed, the cameras remain active. Council is in the process of installing more CCTV signage and investigating opportunities for additional cameras.

“Council contractors clean and inspect facilities every morning and evening Monday to Friday, and Security Patrol Officers visit Lions Park Reserve Romsey and Romsey Skate Park to close the toilets on Saturday and Sunday nights,” the statement read.

“Council would like to remind the community to please call 000 for police attendance or in the case of emergency or contact the non-emergency police line on 131 444.

“Please contact Macedon Ranges Shire Council at 5422 0333 to report facilities damage or suspected breaches of the local law.”