Childers residents 'forgotten'
"WHAT happened to Childers? It used to be a beautiful town?”
Booyal resident Nige Commins is often asked this question by travellers and her response is: Bundaberg happened.
It's been 10 years since Isis Shire amalgamated and Ms Commins said the once decorated and friendly town wasn't what it used to be.
After falling in love with the beauty, history and friendliness of the country community 14 years ago, Ms Commins decided to call Childers home, but now "the heart of Childers is dying”.
"The people feel forgotten,” she said.
"When we had our own council they were marvellous. They would have people cleaning the paths, the gardens and the roads in the morning and everything looked beautiful.”
But things have changed, she said.
"We didn't even get any decorations at Christmas time - there was nothing.”
The Bundaberg Regional Council was founded on March 15, 2008 with the merging of Bundaberg City, Burnett Shire, Isis Shire and Kolan Shire councils.
Ms Commins said residents were feeling disheartened after putting their heart and soul into keeping Childers alive.
"It's great that Bundaberg is going ahead and I understand that they are bigger than us,” she said.
"But they don't even look after the show grounds. A few years ago, when I was on the show committee, we wanted to get a few things fixed and we were told to fix it ourselves.
"We used to have a dump that opened six-and-a-half days a week, now we are down to three hours on a Sunday and it costs you an arm and a leg.
"The toilets used to be cleaned, now they've put in a new soap dispenser but from what I've seen, there's nothing to dry your hands.”
It's not big-ticket items the township is looking for, Ms Commins said. They need more and better bin facilities, an increase in community consultation and more effective road signs for parking and direction in the main street.
"We need to start beautifying it,” she said.
"I wish that the people in Childers had a say instead of just listening, like the by-pass.
"It's happening and then it's not, has anyone considered that this town could die if people drive around it?
"Unless someone screams and yells, nothing gets done.”
The notion that amalgamation has stripped Childers of its identify is not new. In 2012 an Isis De-Amalgamation Committee was formed which sought to separate Childers from the Bundaberg Regional Council. However, their submission was unsuccessful.
In the lead up to the 2016 local government election, Deputy Mayor Bill Trevor told the NewsMail the residents of division 2 felt neglected by the (then) current council and he felt he could make a difference.
"I want to be your champion and ensure your needs are met,” he said.
The NewsMail asked Mayor Jack Dempsey and Cr Trevor for comment, but they declined.