Once beautiful park now deteriorating

Bob Gillies is disgusted with the deterioration of the park his casual workers cleaned every Friday for the past four years.

Bob Gillies, a local businessman, has been employing casual workers to clean a park on the corner of Second Avenue, CBD for the past four years.

But he recently decided to stop cleaning the park due to allegations made by the casuals that they have been threatened while cleaning the park.

The workers have not returned to the site, which is greatly deteriorating again.

“We were informed it was people who claimed they are from the metro, who threatened to kill these casual workers if they return to the site,” says Gillies.

For their safety, Gillies decided it is not worth returning to the site.

He claims when he identified the park almost four years ago, it was in a terrible state.

“There was ‘kakibos’ in the flowerbeds, no benches to sit on and no dustbins for the refuse,” he says.

Gillies saw it as a wonderful opportunity to give people the opportunity to earn something and also to keep the area clean.

He supplied black bags, labourers from his business, spades, herbicides and plants to change the site into a beautiful area where people from neighbouring businesses could enjoy their lunch.

The benches were fixed with reinforced plastic ribs, dustbins were installed and the flowerbeds were restored.

“We also tiled the plinths where the brass lettering had been torn out of them and left holes.

The site was cleaned every Friday for years, but about a year ago the casuals we were sending there to clean up, who we extended to round the front of the Springs Theatre, were intimidated.

“To date, the metro has not taken over cleaning the site and they shouldn’t have to be told so – it is plain to see,” says Gillies.

Most of the plants have been removed and the plastic ribs from one of the benches has been removed completely.

“It is shameful to see this deterioration of the only place in the CBD with some benches,” he says.

Gillies has his doubts about whether tourists would want to see this sort of refuse site and walk through the streets – which are similar in appearance – to see our Art Deco treasures.

One of the casual workers claims metro workers recently took measurements and allegedly informed him the site will be fenced off soon.

The metro was asked for comment, but no comment had been received from them at the time of publishing.

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Anna Robertson

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