Rocks Laneway reopens with special hours after two-week closure trial to curb antisocial behaviour in area

Anna CoxMidwest Times
The Rocks Laneway in Geraldton
Camera IconThe Rocks Laneway in Geraldton Credit: Anna Cox/RegionalHUB

The City of Greater Geraldton has reopened Rocks Laneway on Marine Terrace after a decision to trial the closure of the vexed walkway due to antisocial behaviour.

In an official statement from the city on March 12, it was announced a two-week closure trial would begin the following day to help curb antisocial behaviour, in co-operation with local police.

Staff from businesses in the area said they had been calling the police “every second day” for behaviour they described as loud, violent and a deterrent for pedestrians.

The walkway connects Marine Terrace to the foreshore, and the only other way to access the high street is to walk around the length of the street, or cut through using Blooms Chemist, Wondabke or Chemist Warehouse.

The city’s decision was the result of the actions of a small portion of the community.

Workers said it was routine to find the laneway trashed with toilet paper, bottles and other litter by the end of the day.

The Rocks Laneway in Geraldton
Camera IconWorkers said it was routine to find the laneway trashed with toilet paper, bottles and other litter by the end of the day. Credit: Anna Cox/RegionalHUB

The laneway was reopened on Tuesday, with ongoing activation, a security presence and reduced hours of 9am-3pm part of the initial responses the city is putting in place as it considers a range of initiatives to manage the antisocial activity.

City CEO Ross McKim said local police would be stationing their mobile policing vehicle in the carpark next to the laneway for the next eight to 10 weeks.

Mr McKim said the council was still seeking constructive feedback on the closure, and open to hearing alternative options for the operation of the laneway — but right now the best option was to reduce opening hours.

Pop-up markets on weekends and special opening hours during cruise ship visitations were all being considered.

Director of corporate services Ryan Hall said each decision made by the city was one “made with compassion”, conscious of the sense of displacement which could be felt by those who typically reside in the laneway.

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