Public outcry over deterioration of CQ township's 'pride and joy'
FRUSTRATED locals living near The Caves are finally seeing some results after speaking out about the state of their war memorial, surrounding gardens, lawns and nearby toilets.
Rural landholder Graham Miller, 73, who was born and bred in the region and resides nearby in Milman, became a vocal critic of the deteriorating state of the facilities after the original gardening and maintenance man was replaced about six months ago.
"The cenotaph was the pride and joy of this little township. The guy that was doing it lost his job and they put a contractor on," Mr Miller said.
He said the man used to come in and mow, water the grass, prune the shrubs, clean the toilets and maintain the cenotaph.
"They don't seem to have the will to do it as good as what he did it, it's not maintained as well as what it was.
"The grass is dying and the toilets are dirty and the gardens don't get maintained like they used to."
Mr Miller said since the local pub had been putting out a sign next to the highway to attract tourists, people having a break from driving and workers to come in for smoko, there had been an increase in demand on the facilities that were no longer "up to scratch".
Mr Miller said he had emailed Councillor Glenda Mather three weeks ago requesting assistance with the issue and she had responded, coming in to remove dead plants and water the area a fortnight ago.
Since The Morning Bulletin approached the Livingstone Shire Council regarding the complaints, there have been numerous reported sightings of water trucks providing hydration to the parched vegetation and a green tinge is creeping back.
Livingstone Shire Council responded to the complaints regarding the changes to the stewardship of the area.
"In this instance the current arrangements were coming to an end and in accordance with current procurement guidelines Council went to market to obtain best value for money," a council spokesperson said.
"Unfortunately, the incumbents were not in a position to meet all of Council's contract requirements including appropriate insurances.
"The contractors that have been appointed currently service Council amenities between Emu Park and Keppel Sands and have been appointed to service The Caves two times per week and Yaamba three times per week."
They said council staff had commenced ongoing on-site inspections to ensure that expected standards were being achieved.
"In regards to the watering of the garden beds in Buch Square, the current use of a water truck is an interim measure until Council gets a community-minded person in the area to help with such," they said.
"Council has held preliminary discussions with the community at The Caves and believes it can find a long-term solution."