Bad news sells, but here’s the real story

BIANCA GABRIELSON is a Beaconsfield resident who lives next to Davis Park. In this week’s THINKING ALLOWED she responds to last week’s front page story “Beacy Better?”.

BAD news sells—I get that… but why does my community always have to be the butt of negative press?

Like many of my neighbours, I was really annoyed and upset with your front-page article last week (“Beacy better?”)

A group of us has been working really hard to make our neighbourhood safer for our kids—and we’re making real progress—but our story (page 2 of the same edition) took second place to the complaints of people who are not willing to be part of the solution.

Sure, there is plenty to complain about. Nobody is saying that  life is perfect in Davis Park but it is much better than it was—and that is thanks to a group of us who have been working over the past 12 months to tackle  the many different challenges we face.  What keeps us going is our determination to make this a great place for our kids to grow up in.

We’ve been supporting the “Our Davis Park” project since it began just over a year ago. The project is being run by a working group of government and non-government agencies as well as all residents who want to get involved.

The first thing the working group did was to ask what residents most like about Davis Park and what they consider to be the main challenges in the community. The 37 people who responded said the thing they most liked was the park and playground. The main challenges they mentioned were crime and anti-social behaviour, disengaged youth and lack of parenting support.

The working group has used these responses to decide its priority actions. The first has been an upgrade of the playground by the City of Fremantle.

This has been really great because parents are now going out with their kids to enjoy the playground when before they just stayed inside. I think this has made Davis Park already much more family-oriented than it was.

It’s going to take a lot longer to stop crime and anti-social behaviour, but things have improved. There is no more drug-dealing like there used to be and, for the first time, I don’t worry when my kids go and hang out in the park with the other kids.

The police have had a lot to do with this: sergeant Brad Cooper and his team have been spending a lot of time getting to know us all and that’s made a huge difference.

There is a lot more for us to do. I’ve told the working group that they need to focus now on the kids and young people. That’s going to be the only way we are going to make things change long-term.

I understand many people in Davis Park don’t want to get involved in our project. It’s not easy work dealing with all the different personalities involved, each with their own agenda.

It is much easier, of course, to just complain, criticise everyone—and do nothing. So my message to the resident whingers is this—if you want things to change in Davis Park, get off your backsides and come and help us make the change!

The only way we’re going to be able to make long-term positive change in our community is if we all join together and stand united.


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