CCTV at last for Murwillumbah

MURWILLUMBAH Hotel manager Peter Kennedy is celebrating the news that his town will have surveillance cameras installed as early as next month, after Tweed Shire Council agreed to contribute $10,000 towards the long-awaited project.

Mr Kennedy and other businesspeople in the town, including Chamber of Commerce president Phil Youngblutt, yesterday welcomed the funding, announced at Wednesday's council meeting, which will allow for an immediate start to installing an initial 25 cameras.

Mr Youngblutt said the cameras would monitor known trouble hot-spots in the town, including parts of Wollumbin and Main Streets and should be up and running by the end of August.

"They should prove a major deterrent as well as providing police with a valuable tool to track down unruly elements," said Mr Youngblutt, who has led a 12-month campaign for improved security in the town.

The former Coalition government provided an $80,000 grant for the project but work was delayed after the council, which had agreed to maintain the cameras, insisted that proposed coaxial cabling be upgraded to optic fibre cabling.

Although fibre-optic had several advantages over coaxial, including easy extension of the system, it resulted in a $10,000 cost over-run which forced the chamber to put the work on hold until the council agreed to make up the shortfall.

Residents began pushing for cameras in the town following ongoing arson attacks and widespread vandalism which generally erupted after the Murwillumbah police station closed its doors at 4pm, forcing police to travel from Tweed Heads to respond to complaints.

Mr Kennedy, who lives on the Murwillumbah Hotel's premises and has seen his fair share of trouble, said he too hopes the cameras will act as a deterrent for crime and anti-social behaviour.

"I think the cameras have to be a plus," he said. "I reckon they should have been in ages ago. "It's the under-age and unsupervised kids who are wandering around late at night causing them problems."

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