New bin would solve battle over park litter

A COLAC woman has picked up rubbish twice a week for the past 17 years at a community park because authorities will not provide a bin.

Colac Otway Shire Council refuses to give residents a permanent bin at the Donaldson Street park and Joanna Douma wants support for her campaign.

“We’ve fought for years and we did have a bin there for a while and then they took it away again,” Mrs Douma said.

Joanna Douma, centre, and other Colac residents, including Tony Frith, left, and Anthony Hondow, are proud of the Donaldson Street park which has a barbecue but no rubbish bin.

“They’ve told me they don’t have money for it but all we are asking for is a rubbish bin to keep the park clean.

“The council has just put in a gas barbecue and it’s great, but still no bin,” she said.

“We’re fed up; it’s so frustrating.”

Mrs Douma explained her passion for the park’s improvement started almost two decades ago when she planted trees that now provide shade to the community who visit the area.

“I asked the shire if I could plant trees and they said ‘yes’ as long as it was at my own cost,” she said.

“Seven-and-a-half years ago the state Minister of Housing thanked me and asked how I had got the trees to grow because they wanted to fix-up the parks in commission areas in other places.”

Mrs Douma said her secret had been giving the community ownership of the park by encouraging neighbourhood children to take watering cans she bought to water the young trees.

She said the State Government had provided funding for park improvements and the council had helped by installing seats, play equipment and a barbecue.

Mrs Douma said residents deserved an attractive and tidy park just as people in other areas of Colac.

“People want to be able to put their rubbish in a bin but the only reason it’s spotless is because I pick up rubbish twice a week and take it home with me,” she said.

“I’ve picked some disgusting things but really people are very respectful and they are proud of their park.

“We pay our rates; we just want a bin.”

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