There are a few topics that get covered over and over at Kingborough Council meetings. Broadly they all come back to the question of ‘what is the role of Local Government?’.

There’s a really interesting thread on the Kingborough Council Facebook page – started by community members – that similarly debates that broad topic.

Fiona starts the conversation about the lack of activities for teenagers to do in Kingborough and asks what Council is going to do about it. She suggests the Old Kingston High School site could be the home to ten pin bowling, a cinema, mini golf and/or a pool.

All of this sounds good and were widely endorsed by fellow commenters.

However, there’s problems with all of those ideas:

  • Ten Pin bowling is based in Moonah. It is highly unlikely Hobart can sustain a second bowling alley in Kingborough. This also has nothing to do with Council.
  • Mini Golf is in a similar situation, based in Moonah. A second mini-golf course in Rosny has now disappeared and a (similar-ish) virtual driving range in Hobart was also commercially unviable after a short period of time.
  • The Hobart Aquatic Centre costs Hobart ratepayers between $1 and $2million every year (p124) depending on how you measure it. Hobart also spent almost $2million in the past two financial years in capital works at the site. Do ratepayers really want that sort of cost in Kingborough? We have two beautiful beaches in Kingston and Blackmans Bay in the middle of Kingborough and plenty of other natural attractions.
  • I am aware of multiple plans to bring a cinema experience to Kingborough by the private sector, but this has very little to do with Council.

As locals, we’re also not restricted to the one municipality. As someone who travels on the bus every day, I can tell you it is not difficult (or expensive) to get almost anywhere in greater Hobart. The Aquatic Centre, Sandy Bay Beach, North Hobart and the Hobart CBD are three appealing destinations only 15 minutes away.

The frustrating part of the thread is that it’s almost exclusively a conversation about activities for teenagers by adults. Local Governments have been notorious at attempting (and failing) to engage with this demographic and schools look after them for 10 months but then cut them loose.

My view is that:

  • There’s probably plenty to do in Kingborough (and surrounds) for 13-17 yr olds.
  • It’s not the role of Council to create activities for teenagers. But it is our role to keep public places clean, tidy and safe for all members of the public.
  • It would be great to have better engagement with 13-17 year olds, but I haven’t seen a successful model for doing it.