City of Vincent approves centre for at risk youths despite resident concerns

City of Vincent approves centre for at risk youths despite resident concerns

VINCENT councillor Roslyn Harley has asked Edward Street residents and business owners to approach a youth drop-in centre with an “open heart and mind”.

Despite resistance from people at the August 22 council meeting and 86 objections during the community consultation process, councillors unanimously passed an application for change of use of 143 Edward Street, Perth to allow for Passages to operate there.

The St Vincent de Paul Society and Rotary Club of Perth-run service, which helps at risk youths from 12-25 years, is moving from its Northridge premises.

Gavin Forrest, Sharon McMaster and Margaret Henderson, from Edward Street, spoke against the location for the centre, all agreeing anti-social behaviour would increase.

“I have had a business there for longer than 15 years and there have been recurring issues with homeless people using office verandas,’ he said.

“A property to the left has had to barricade its veranda; there is a concern that people will congregate and not leave.”

Ms McMaster said there was a potential for loss of business and Ms Henderson said she already had to be escorted by police to her front door because people were camped out the front.

Cr Harley stood up for the service.

“We just had Homelessness Week; it is a growing problem and councils must be part of the solution,” she said.

“There is no evidence that anti-social behaviour will increase.

“I ask that people approach this with an open heart and open mind; I hear a lot of ‘not here’, but where else in Vincent would it go?”

She said she welcomed the service to Vincent.

“I would go there and meet people and volunteer there,” she said.

A maximum of 27 clients and seven staff would be permitted at the centre, which would be open Monday to Friday from 9am to 4.30pm.

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