EDITORIAL: Why Cessnock needs more people like Sam, the 11-year-old who addressed council about Branxton skate park

INITIATIVE: Eleven-year-old Sam Hamilton (pictured with friends Dalton Miller, Darcy Miller and Jye Thorpe) spoke at last week's Cessnock City Council meeting about his wish for a skate park to be built at Branxton.

INITIATIVE: Eleven-year-old Sam Hamilton (pictured with friends Dalton Miller, Darcy Miller and Jye Thorpe) spoke at last week's Cessnock City Council meeting about his wish for a skate park to be built at Branxton.

It’s not every week you see an 11-year-old address a council meeting.

But at last week’s Cessnock City Council meeting, Branxton boy Sam Hamilton stepped up to the podium and spoke about his dream to see a skate park built in his town.

Earlier this year, Sam created a petition asking the council to build a skate park in Branxton and managed to get more than 200 people to sign it.

The petition came after Sam wrote to the council last year with that request, because he and his friends want somewhere safe to ride their scooters without having to travel down the highway at Greta to do so.

While his request was knocked back (because there’s already a district-level skate park at Greta and plans for another at Huntlee), Sam didn’t sit back and complain – he took action.

The council has included plans to build a skate facility called a ‘pump track’ in its Miller Park masterplan, a decision that has satisfied Sam and his friends.

Sam’s proactive approach should be applauded.

People who want to see change in our community could take a leaf out of his book.

Even the act of writing to the council in the first place is far more than most people – young and old – would do.

People who are happy enough to complain to their friends and neighbours, or type away in the comments sections on social media, but aren’t willing to put in the effort where it could actually make a difference.

The council calls for comments for plans on public exhibition – but often, the number of people who respond represent a very small percentage of the population.

On that note, it will be interesting to see the outcome of the council’s draft Commercial Precinct Plan, which concludes its public exhibition period on Wednesday.

The plan shapes the future for the Cessnock CBD and its surrounds, with ideas like a town square, a new library, green space and affordable housing opportunities

Dozens of people commented on The Advertiser’s Facebook posts about the plan, and we appreciate the engagement of our audience. But how many of you shared your thoughts and concerns with the council itself?

A draft district strategy for Kurri Kurri (including masterplans for Kurri and Weston) is also due to go on public exhibition soon. Stay tuned for your opportunity to have your say – and not just in the comments section.

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