Siblings Maya and Tommy Collinson playing Pokémon Go at the Cedar Log, Lismore
Siblings Maya and Tommy Collinson playing Pokémon Go at the Cedar Log, Lismore Melissa Gulbin

The good, bad and ugly of Pokemon on Northern Rivers

DURING the last fortnight the Northern Rivers has been struck with Pokemon Go fever.

Launched during the school holidays, it has been commonplace to see scores of Pokemon Go players near Bounty Street in Lismore, a gaming hotspot where three 'Pokestops' converge.

Generally speaking, the sight of young people getting out in the real world (albeit while staring down at their phone) has largely attracted positive responses. Local business has benefited and vandalism curbed. However, noise complaints and jaywalking have been noted as an ugly side of the Pokemon Go craze.

We look at the good, the bad and the ugly of the game on the Northern Rivers according to those involved:

GOOD: Coffee with a conscience cashes in

 

David Barnes, barrista at the Northern Rivers Community Gateway Coffee Cart.
David Barnes, barrista at the Northern Rivers Community Gateway Coffee Cart. Melissa Gulbin

The game has resulted in an accidental sales boom from the coffee cart located in the midst of the Bounty Street Pokemon hotspot.

David Barnes, 23, a Lismore barrista at the Cart Cafe on Bounty Street, observed a boost in sales when the Pokemon craze took hold.

"The Northern Rivers Community Gateway is a 'pokestop', so there is now greater awareness about what we do in the area thanks to the game. Hopefully it can help young people connect to some of the services we offer," he said.

The Cart Cafe is a social enterprise that facilitates the social and economic improvement for disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the community. The cart provides skill development and employment pathways for marginalised people, particularly homeless youth.

The Cart Cafe serves Bun Coffee and tea, Byron Gourmet Pies, fresh sandwiches, cakes, chips and cold drinks and is open until 2pm weekdays.

GOOD: "It gets us out if the house"

 

Mum Vanessa Brown, little Isabella Richardson, Alice Richardson and Gryphon Richardson getting out and about catching Pokémon.
Mum Vanessa Brown, little Isabella Richardson, Alice Richardson and Gryphon Richardson getting out and about catching Pokémon. Melissa Gulbin

DURING the school holidays Lismore mum of three Vanessa Brown said Pokemon Go had been a godsend.

"It's a way of us getting a lot of exercise. Yesterday my son walked for six kilometres. I think it's a really positive thing," she said.

GOOD: Pokemon craze puts out fire

Heritgae park fire: Local Pokemon Go enthusiast Matthew Hanlon has confirmed that last night's suspicious fire at Heritage Park was only put out so swiftly by fire crews because of the alerts of Pokemon Go players nearby.
Heritgae park fire: Local Pokemon Go enthusiast Matthew Hanlon has confirmed that last night's suspicious fire at Heritage Park was only put out so swiftly by fire crews because of the alerts of Pokemon Go players nearby.

IF IT wasn't for the scores of Pokemon Go enthusiasts near Lismore City Hall last week, the suspicious fire which engulfed the city's favourite family playground could have been worse.

The quick alert from young gamers, many of whom were teenagers on school holiday, prevented nearby trees and swing sets from catching fire.

Matthew Hanlon, 20, was third on the scene at the Heritage Park fire just after Fire and Rescue NSW was called at 8.48pm on Thursday July 14. Within five minutes at least 50 Pokemon Go players were there.

The South Lismore man believes it was 'more than likely' the first alert to emergency services came from a nearby Pokemon Go player.

UGLY: Noise complaints and hooning

Nearby residents of the Pokemon hotspot across from Bounty Street in Lismore said 'It has been a nightmare here due to Pokemon."

Complaints were made about revving of cars and motorbikes and Police were called to the area.

Some witnesses reported gamers standing in the middle of the road while playing, which is dangerous and not necessary to play the game.

BAD: Young people feel "We just can't win"

 

Eleena Waldron believes that  young people can't win, regarding noise complaints.
Eleena Waldron believes that young people can't win, regarding noise complaints. Facebook

Former Kadina student Eleena Waldron said: "This makes me a little upset because for starters it wasn't even that loud when I was there. The older generation gets mad because we always stay inside and now they get mad because we're outisde. We can't win."