Mullewa youth to gain free entry to local pool under City of Greater Geraldton plan to help tackle crime spike

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Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
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The Mullewa public swimming pool.
Camera IconThe Mullewa public swimming pool.

Mullewa children will be able to swim for free this summer, with City of Greater Geraldton councillors unanimously voting to grant free entry to the local pool for a one-year trial.

It comes after a spike in crime in the town, in which 60 offences were attributed to one group of six boys aged between 14 and 16 years old. It prompted a meeting earlier this month between 30 locals and senior district police officers.

The motion was put forward by Cr Jennifer Critch, who said she hoped free access to the pool would guide youth away from antisocial behaviour.

“We are well aware that this might not be a quick fix, but we would like to see this trialled for a year and the impact it has on crime levels,” she said.

“Mullewa townsite is unique and different to the city centre; we are over an hour away from the shops, except for a servo and a small supermarket, and beach, and it is over 40 degrees (in temperature) in summer.

“Most days there is not much to do in the heat except the youth centre or the pool, and as expected when they are bored the children do get up to mischief around town.

“I do understand crime is a bigger problem and we need to engage parents, Elders, police, politicians and all community members, but this is a start and shows the community we are listening and are there for them.”

In response to concerns from Cr Steve Cooper about adequate support for staff working at the pool with an increased number of youth patrons, City chief executive Ross McKim said he hoped senior members of the Mullewa community would attend the pool to help supervise unaccompanied children and manage their behaviour during the trial.

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