A stalwart dedicated to community safety has called on Wagga to recall the origins of PCYC, after a desperate plea from the organisation.
The call comes after PCYC amped-up their funding appeal, asking for council to contribute $3 million of the $18 million project.
Wagga Neighbourhood Watch president Wayne Deaner said a new PCYC facility would change youth’s perception of the “men in blue”.
“So many people know a kid whose uncle or brother has gone to jail and is dealing drugs and they don’t see any life after welfare,” Mr Deaner said.
“We need to show them that there is more in the community because there’s currently no respect for the police uniform or the law.”
Community advocate Kay Hull said Wagga City Council and the wider community should remember PCYC is a charity, which shouldn’t solely rely on state funding.
“We are forgetting that this is a charity which was born out of police who just wanted to make a difference to our youth,” Ms Hull said.
“Wagga’s future is only as bright as the effort we put into the up-and-coming generation – the investment is critical.”
After years of delays, Ms Hull said a potential council contribution was “small” and “overdue.”
“We have no right to sit back and complain about troubled youth if we are not willing to invest in their future,” Ms Hull said.
“Adults have their clubs and pubs but where do the kids have to go? It’s time to bite the bullet.”
A Daily Advertiser poll asked readers on Tuesday whether council should chip in for funding, with an overwhelming 92 per cent voting yes.
Mr Deaner said he recalled heading to his PCYC as a teenager, hailing the volunteer police officer as a “legend”.
“Kids are just a product of their society and environment but I looked up to this officer and respected him,” Mr Deaner said.
“It’s a great shame council isn’t immediately getting behind this.”