IS BALLARAT’S historic Camp Street precinct the right place for a bumper one-stop youth services hub to play host to our city’s young people?
Ballarat City Council is considering a proposal to establish a new youth space in conjunction with Headspace, the federal government’s mental health service for young people.
A report tabled at Wednesday night’s council meeting has found the existing youth space in Armstrong Street South has outgrown its building and, with lease expiring in May, the time to move has arrived.
So why Camp Street?
The proposal currently being considered by the council says that Camp Street is already home to youth services, educational facilities and a range of amenities for young people. The bustling little area includes existing youth services in the Ballarat Learning Exchange (BLX) and the University of Ballarat Camp Street campus, a primary base for art courses.
Report author Jane Stanley argued that the council’s youth space must work flexibly with existing organisations and complement what is already provided for the city’s young people.
Ballarat’s Dylan Hope and Jayde Higham, both aged 18, said it would be great to have a complete precinct where young people could hang out – and have it still be cool.
Both said activities and services already provided for the city’s young people were good, but an all-in-one precinct could offer real identity. Higham suggested designated space for graffiti, especially tagging, instead of the controversial artform springing up randomly across the city.
Reader talk on thecourier.com.au yesterday put up the empty Civic Hall site as an alternative site that should be considered for a youth space.
The report submitted to council suggested the use of two nearby buildings in Camp and Field streets. “It is a quirky building, already decorated in bright colours and could be an attractive environment for a range of services,” Ms Stanley said in her report. “It is possible to secure the upper floor offices from the ground floor and basement space, which is an advantage in providing for after-hours access.”
Ms Stanley’s report says engagement with all young people, not just high-risk or high-need youths, was still a relevant focus for the council’s youth strategy.
Councillors voted to develop an implementation plan and process to resolve the issue by 2013.
Centacare Ballarat director David Beaver has been appointed to lead the Headspace project but was unavailable for comment yesterday.