A gunpoint robbery of a teen of his BMX in Boitanio Park in February has inspired the Boys and Girls Club of Williams Lake to propose running a mobile youth centre at the park from June through August.
At the committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, April 5, the club’s executive director Matt Neufeld shared details of the project with city council.
“We are suggesting our youth centre workers could go to the skate park and biking area to provide alternative recreation activities, food or support services if anyone needs them,” Neufeld told the Tribune Thursday. Staff would be at the park from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and would carry cell phones in case of any emergencies.
It’s about providing a presence in the park, as opposed to having no one there observing what’s going on, Neufeld said of the proposal.
“When nothing’s going on in a park crime tends to happen, but if people have a sense of safety and there is some trained staff there providing something, it would be a better scenario.”
He pointed to last Sunday’s Take Back the Park rally in the park as a positive example because it attracted hundreds of people.
“People felt safe going there because there were lots of people there,” he said.
The project wouldn’t involve setting up anything physical such as a trailer, just maybe a barbecue or a tent now and then.
Council accepted the $14,400 project in principle, but told Neufeld they will have to see if they can find the money.
“This isn’t going to end the crime wave or anything like that, it’s just an idea to bring something positive to the park,” Neufeld said.