Peace for Christmas as neighbours win campaign

NEIGHBOURS of a Warrnambool house for vulnerable youth are celebrating a decision by the management agency to vacate the property after long-running complaints about behaviour problems.

MacKillop Family Services has confirmed to The Standard it is leaving the north Warrnambool  residence this week.

“We are relocating with the children and young people we care for,” the organisation’s community relations director Grant Thomas said.

“MacKillop maintains an unwavering commitment to the local children and young people in our care from Warrnambool.”

The property will remain in the ownership of the Department of Human Services (DHS).

A department spokesman said yesterday it was considering options for future use.

Neighbour Sue McDonough said the announcement was widely welcomed by residents of the area, who had endured years of  harassment, crime and discomfort caused by some badly-behaved young clients of the house.

“It means we can now have peace for Christmas,”  she said.

“This will be the first weekend in a long time we won’t have to deal with the harassment.

“We would hope that if DHS continues to use the house new clients will be much better screened.”

Last week Ms McDonough collected signatures on a petition to put pressure on the management, DHS,  city council and local MP Denis Napthine in an effort to either have the house closed down or a major re-evaluation of clients.

City councillor Brian Kelson, who lives in the area, told colleagues on Monday night the  council should act immediately.

He said he and others had written to Dr Napthine, but had not received a reply.

Cr  Peter Hulin  said it was not fair to the neighbours to be harassed and frightened in their own homes.

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