Much safer to wait in gutter
SIMONE Hewetson and Claire O’Connell would rather sit in the gutter than on seats provided at the Heaps Street bus shelter in Thabeban.
A month after residents and passengers complained about the filth at the shelter, nothing has been done to clean up the mess.
Bundaberg Regional Council told the NewsMail on January 5 that its staff did not automatically clean shelters outside the CBD, but would do so if they received a complaint.
But council director of health and environment Greg Savage said no one had been out to clean the bus stop because no one had “complained formally”.
Mother-of-three Simone Hewetson, who was among the original passengers complaining to the NewsMail about the Heaps Street bus stop, said there had been no real improvement in the state of the shelter in the past month.
“There is still stuff smeared on the grass and the seats are pretty dirty,” she said.
Ms Hewetson said she feared for her three-year-old son’s safety.
“I’d get a wet wipe out if he wanted to sit down. I may be being over protective but it is better safe than sorry,” she said.
Ms Hewetson said some friends had found used condoms, syringes and used feminine hygiene products at the stop.
“I’ve also found a lot of empty cans of alcohol when I’ve come to the bus stop. It is not great around kids,” she said.
Sue Thomson, who lives next to the bus shelter, said the stop had not become any cleaner in the past month.
“There is now broken glass there. Some kids decided to smash the beer bottles which were there,” she said.
Ms Thomson said the only progress that had been made was the area had recently been mowed.
“Why should we have to ask council? Everyone around here pays rates,” she said.
Ms Thomson said she only occasionally sat down when waiting for a bus in case she ruined her clothes.
Mr Savage maintained the council would clean the bus stops only if it was informed of their bad state, and anyone who saw a shelter in need of cleaning should get in contact.
“There is no program for cleaning. We rely on people telling us when the stops need to be cleaned,” Mr Savage said.
Mr Savage said only CBD bus stops were cleaned regularly as part of regular street cleaning services.
“Under the previous councils, bus shelter cleaning services were not provided,” he added.