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Council looking for solutions to anti-social behaviour – Gore District Council

Gore District Council and Mataura Community Board representatives plan to meet with the Police and Hokonui Runanga this week to work on a solution to the anti-social behaviour of youth in Mataura.

Ongoing issues with young people loitering outside the Mataura Library/Service Centre after school and intimidating staff and customers came to a head last week. To ensure people’s safety it was decided to close the library at 2:30pm.

Gore District Mayor Ben Bell, Mataura Community Board chairperson Nicky Coats and Mataura ward councillor Nevile Phillips met with staff today.

Gore District Libraries Manager Emma Sherie said it was unacceptable that staff had to put up with the verbal abuse and threatening behaviour.

Mataura Library was single-staffed, which had become an issue given the youths’ behaviour, she said. It was decided to ensure two staff were on duty in the short term.

Mrs Coats said she had been overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support for the librarian.

“Eve (the library assistant) is a local icon.”

The community was angry and fed up with the youths – “this is a community problem, and as a community, we need to find a solution”.

Mrs Sherie said there have been a lot of questions about turning off the wifi, as it seemed one of reasons young people hang around the area.

The service was provided by a third party APNK, which provides wifi to all public libraries through the Department of Internal Affairs.

“We’ve been told it can’t be easily turned on and off, but we are looking at possible solutions.

“We have a lot of customers who rely on our wifi, so it’s important we retain this service,” she said.

The library would continue to close at 2:30pm for the next fortnight. The Council was considering several other options and looked forward to getting input from the Police and local iwi.

The youths are believed to be aged between 14 and 19 years. Anti-social behaviour happens when teenagers who are not in school arrive to wait for the school buses to drop off their friends, and then they all loiter around the area and in the building.

 

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