Fear lurks on Bundy's dark streets
RESIDENTS fearing for their safety in dark night-time streets are pleading with the council to install better lighting throughout Bundaberg’s CBD.
Several businesses have told the NewsMail they escort their employees or guests to their cars at night because they are worried about them being mugged or attacked.
But Bundaberg Regional Council has no plans to upgrade its lighting network, citing the $1 million power bill for its street lights as the main reason.
Bundaberg NightOwl Convenience Store owner Kathy Dick, whose shop door has been smashed twice, said she always had a security guard to escort her staff to their cars because she was so concerned for their safety at night.
“The lighting is definitely an issue around here,” she said.
“I have kids and I wouldn’t want them walking through the dark, so my staff shouldn’t have to do it either.”
Mrs Dick said she believed the lack of lighting was a contributing factor in her door being smashed.
“These people think they can’t be seen in the dark so they don’t care,” she said.
“I used to own a motel in town and always told my guests to be careful and not wander down any streets at night. You wouldn’t get me anywhere near places like McLean Street at night for a million dollars. Something really needs to be done.”
Mrs Dick’s daughter, Sianne, who manages Essence Hair and Beauty, in Woongarra Street, said the various paths to the closest all-day car parks were all poorly lit.
“Some nights we are here until 8pm and all the girls try to stick together. We never walk to our cars alone,” she said.
The shop has one car park attached and staff are often driven to their cars after dark.
“It’s just not worth it to be walking through the dark,” Ms Dick said.
“Lots of people hang out in the car park we have to walk through.
“It’s not just walking to the car, either. The car parks are really dark and I know a lot of people who have had their cars vandalised.”
The hairdresser said the shop’s front window was also smashed at the end of last year.
Workers and Divers Hostel owner John Walker said he was constantly concerned for the safety of his guests.
“We have had backpackers getting bashed in the past,” he said.
“It hasn’t happened for a few months but I always encourage them to stay in groups if they have to walk anywhere at night.”
Mr Walker said the lack of lighting was a real concern for travellers who arrived in town late at night.
“I always tell the ones that come and go on the bus to catch a taxi but a lot can’t afford it,” he said.
“It’s mainly the men that get abused, or followed by the ones trying to be heroes by picking on these guys from out of town.”
The hostel owner said he would be thrilled to see the roads to the CBD better lit.
Council roads and drainage group manager Peter Jensen said while there was always room for improvement, there were no plans to increase the amount of street lighting in the area.
“We can’t afford to dramatically improve the lighting,” he said.
“Lighting around heavy traffic areas really takes priority and we already spend over $1 million a year on the street light electricity bill.”
Mr Jensen said new developments would be the most likely areas to receive new lighting.
“I’m not really aware of any complaints about lights, but we often get requests for lights in certain areas,” he said.
“Most of the people are asking for mid-block lighting but others might not want this.”