RETAILERS say they are losing money and Ballarat’s reputation is being tarnished by troublemaking youths swearing, littering and fighting outside Central Square.
A business owner, who did not wish to be named for fear of reprisals, described the situation as “nothing short of disgusting and a disgrace”.
He said be believed it was also costing the retailers of Central Square a lot of money.
“The issues are huge,” he said. “There’s been people pushed over, there is so much rubbish and there has been so much bad language.
“An old lady has been knocked over. It’s a disgrace this is allowed to happen.”
He said increased police numbers in the past few months had been very encouraging.
Another business owner in the complex said that at times his staff didn’t feel safe because of the groups of teenagers who gathered on Armstrong Street South.
“They’ll be throwing things at each other, intimidating people, swearing,” he said. “There are customers that won’t come to the centre because of it, I’m sure of it.”
Central Square managment was approached for comment on the issues but did not reply yesterday.
Ballarat resident Marie Mishkinis used the Armstrong Street South exit after shopping at the centre yesterday.
Ms Mishkinis said she felt unsafe walking through the area some days.
“Just with lots of young people being around – a couple of times I’ve had to dodge a ball or other things,” she said.
“I work with a lot of elderly people. They really feel the same way.”