Issues raised over Parrsboro youth activity

Andrew Wagstaff
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Littering, loitering among irritants brought to council

PARRSBORO – Although many have welcomed the new youth centre as a positive addition to the town, not everyone is happy with its location or the traffic it has created.

Several residents raised issues at the Nov. 28 town council session, complaining of litter in the Main Street/Dominion Street area of the new centre, and problems with some of the neighbours.

Randy Mosher, whose senior citizen mother lives nearby on Dominion Street said the location of the centre has been a problem for them.

“ The amount of litter has gone up exponentially since the opening of the youth centre, and youth are shortcutting across our property on a regular basis,” he said. “Today I invested $200 in a short piece of fence to attempt to redirect them back onto public thoroughfares, and I expect to have to spend another $700 if the situation doesn’t improve.”

Mosher also described incidents of people tapping on his mother’s windows.

“It sounds fairly innocent, but when you’re 84 years old and accustomed to living at home, things like that scare the pants off her and, in turn, me,” he said. “I wish the youth centre was anywhere except next door to where my mother lives.”

Mayor Lois Smith explained that the youth centre is neither the responsibility of town council nor the youth town council, but said she would have no problem speaking about the matter to Tom and Sharon Brown, instrumental figures in the creation of the youth centre.

“It’s great, and I’m glad young people are going there and playing their games and such, but I do know where you’re coming from with a senior citizen living right behind there,” said Smith. “We’ll do what we can for you.”

When contacted after the meeting, Mr. Brown said the issue of tapping on the neighbour’s windows was resolved a long time ago, and that the litter in the area gets picked up, “Just like everywhere else in town.”

“You can’t do nothing good in this town without people bashing it,” he said. “I’m kind of fed up with it.”

Brown said the youth centre is used by 30-40 young people on any given day, playing games, watching movies or catching up on their homework, instead of hanging out on the steps of the old post office. Operated by a staff of 32 volunteers, the centre recently won $10,000 through the Kia Drive Change contest for community projects.

“I think it’s making a difference, and I’ve even seen some change in kids,” he said. “One of the Mounties came up to me about one kid who had been a problem kid, and said he hasn’t been in trouble since the youth centre opened. He’s been a part, and volunteered in there.”

Unfortunately, he said some people in town have been against the project from the start, and have spread negativity about it.

“You’d think we opened a bloody methadone clinic here,” said Brown. “I’m ready to put a for sale sign on the house, and shut the youth centre down and leave. That’s how pissed off I am right now.”

Another nearby resident, Bill Wheaton, raised the issue of youth loitering on the steps of Trinity United Church and leaving their litter behind.

“Before too long there’s going to be a serious accident happening there, either due to the fact of drugs or that they’re smoking and leaving their trash there,” he said. “I pick it up all the time, and they don’t put much in the barrel.”

Another resident, Sandy Graham, agreed that litter in the United Church area has become a problem. Although he pointed out that it is not only youth that litter, he said he has raised the issue himself with young people who gather there.

“It falls to the older ones who should set the example,” said Graham. “Maybe what we have to do is get to the Grade 12s and say, ‘If you make this happen, it will help it fall in place’… If they’re approached in the right way, it might be productive.”

A retired teacher, the mayor said she would also have no problem speaking to the school principal about the matter.

“It is a problem, and it’s a problem for all communities,” she said. “I believe how we address it is through education… perhaps through the school system and the youth town council, and hopefully it will improve.”

Organizations: Trinity United Church

Geographic location: Dominion Street

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Recent comments

  • Unknown
    November 30, 2012 - 08:05

    The people of Parrsboro are so toxic. Whenever something good finally happens there they have to put a stop to it. No one can just go about their miserable day, they have to drag everyone down with them. The littering has always been a problem at the church, way before the youth centre. It's a shame that nothing but good has come of this and people are already trying to trash it. That's how it works there, someone gets bored so they have to beat up on other people and things.

  • blahrkvd
    November 29, 2012 - 10:03

    When a good thing comes to Parrsboro, it only seems like Parrsboro want's to destroy it. There has been littering at that church for many years. PUT A GARBAGE CAN THERE. Stop complaining and get over it. The Brown's have done nothing but a great thing for Parrsboro and the youth that need a place. I think they need more respect for this. “It falls to the older ones who should set the example,” said Graham. “Maybe what we have to do is get to the Grade 12s and say, ‘If you make this happen, it will help it fall in place’… If they’re approached in the right way, it might be productive.” Hmm , make the grade 12's do the work for you . They have enough on their hands with school work and graduating, leave them alone. I am disgusted with Parrsboro and will probably never live there ever again.

  • Doug Forbes
    November 29, 2012 - 09:26

    First of all those who are painting all the kids with the same brush simply shows the naiviety and close mindness of sopme people. No matter how many good kids you have you will always have a few that are do silly things and harass people that is where the parents need to be a bit more vigilant with instilling some respect in them. I have not personally been in the youth centre as yet but I have awesome things about it and look forward to seeing it on my next visit there. As a youth growing up there we did not have the luxury of a youth centre like the current one as many arcades existed in many parts of the town not did we have the rink they have their now,. We had the outside rink near the Lions rink now and the aboiteau so the youth are here are foprtunate to have people like Tom and Sharon Brown and a score of others who felt the need to do what they have done so to those who are standing in judgement of all over a few look at the positive things that this centre can do and embrace it and show the kids that they are valuable to you surprisingly they are not much different then we were as kids..I remember a good many night on the steps of the old post office or sitting in the coop parking lot in cars and talking it was what we did Be thankful for what we have and hope for more!

  • Kathleen Higney
    November 29, 2012 - 07:28

    Tom and Sharon Brown - I can't thank you enough for what you're providing for the young people of Parrsboro. I don't live in your community but as a mother of five grown children and grandmother of six, I understand the importance of teens having a safe place to hang out, play games, watch movies and do their homework. I hope you will get some funding and positive recognition from your town in order to enhance the project. And perhaps you could have a few seniors coming in to volunteer. If you can bring generations together to learn from and help each other, you will be building social capital for all involved. The end result will be a stronger, happier and more secure town.

  • Adrienne Tambeau
    November 29, 2012 - 00:41

    The following comment has no disrespect towards the town intended. However this article makes alot of comments towards the youth center which has been nothing but a great thing for the town of parrsboro but not once has the town thought of where the blame should really lay. When the youth center was created the only thing the town of parrsboro loaned was a tv no financial support from the town was offered. Tom & Sharon Brown had thousands of dollars come out of their pockets to go into the center to build and operate it, fortunately the money they spent will be coming back to them but regardless they did it out of the kindness of their hearts for the youths in this town. The town of parrsboro needs to look at whats going on in their town and realize its not the Youth Center's fault this stuff is happening for years back as far as when my mom was a teen and the town did nothing to help youths. Parrsboro should look at what can be done for our youths and do it, the rumor around town is Parrsboro council is taking 3.0 million dollars to build a new town hall which is a good thing however some of that money could also be used to build a civic center with a pool and other activities inside so seniors can do water aerobics and kids have a place to go swim and have fun in. Yes we have the skating rink but there is hardly ever skate nights because it is used mainly for hockey and that is great but if you are/have a child who isnt athletic or a family who cant afford for their child to play hockey then the arena is useless to them. I am not slamming the town or our mayor but instead of laying blame on the youth center realize that there is a lack of attention being paid to our youth and frankly this article sounds like our youth are not the priority here the youths are the future to this town and how they are treated by the town may affect how they treat the town. Parrsboro is no longer a retirement town there is alot of young people living here and there is nothing but the youth center to keep them occupied, You cant force kids to go there and you cant force them to stay becuase that is classed and forceable confinement which is a criminal charge. You are always going to have kids who constantly misbehave but you cant group all young people into one catagory because of a few bad children that is unfair to the other good kids who dont deserve to be lumped together with them. What needs to happen is when kids are littering start fining these kids with tickets and when they are harrassing others outside the times that the youth center is open or away from the youth center property the police should be involved which means they have to step up on duty. In saying that though Tom Brown Dealt with the children responsible for tapping on Mr. Moshers mothers windows and there hasnt been a problem since, A police officer here in parrsboro said recently that they let kids hang around the old post office steps now because at least they know where they are and its easier to find them. The gentleman who owns the post office doesnt want kids loitering on his property and the police know this however they do let them so its easier to locate them, that alone promotes trespassing. Tom & Sharon have done a wonderful job with the center and deserve positive recognition and also deserve the towns support .They are doing something wonderful for our community but in this article it sure doesnt sound like it and to me i dont think that is fair considering all that they have been through and all that they continue to do for our youths. The Parrsboro Youth center is run by 7 - 10 consistant volunteers most of these 32 volunteers do not volunteer, there have been times the center has been closed because of no volunteers there are only 7 - 10 people that the center can always count on with out having to beg them to work. In conclusion if the town isnt happy where the center is located, then maybe consider donating enough money to build a new center and build on a donated peice of land where it isnt bothering people therefore incidents wont happen in the future that bothers our residents of Parrsboro None of this comment was meant rude or disrespectful towards Town of Parrsboro our Mayor or The Police. Thanks Adrienne

  • unknown
    November 29, 2012 - 00:41

    really got some reliable sources...

  • Tracy
    November 28, 2012 - 17:05

    as far as the trash goes at the United Church that has been happening long before the youth centre opened but I do agree people should be made to pick up their garbage no matter who or where you are