Decision to lease memorial park an "affront"
A COST-SAVING strategy by Southern Downs Regional Council could see one of the most unique memorial parks in Queensland disappear.
The decision to lease Memorial Park Allora left locals feeling council did not consider the sacrifice of fallen service men.
Historian John Telfer said in a statement to the Daily News council's decision felt like a "belated April fools joke."
"Surely council in its wisdom has not made a decision that is an affront to all of the Warwick and district serving and ex-service men," he wrote.
"Has the council not taken into account that although the memorial park is not a cemetery, it is hallowed ground that contains memorials and the Roll of Honour to all those thousands who died?
"It would be a sacrilege to sell or lease this hallowed place and is a deplorable decision."
Mr Telfer wrote Memorial Park Allora was only one of four memorials that contain the names of the fallen in all theatres of war that involved Australian troops and extends from the Boer War of the 1880s to the present.
Allora RSL Sub-Branch Secretary Ken Ashton said he was disheartened council would no longer maintain the park.
"I am under the impression council would not lease the park to anyone else but us," he said.
"What use would anyone have for a memorial park?
"A lot of our members are getting older and it will be hard for us to maintain it."
President of the sub-branch Jim Corby said it had become a very "sad state of affairs."
"We will have to find the money to pay someone to maintain the grounds," he said.
"It will just be something extra on top of our insurance and hall maintenance we have to fundraiser for.
"It should have never come to this; I think maintaining memorial parks are something council should just do for the community."
Southern Downs Regional Council Chief Executive Officer Andrew Roach said councillors approved a Parks Rationalisation Project which aims to re-direct funds spent on parks maintenance to sporting fields.
"Councillors would like to see sporting fields for team sports such as football (soccer), rugby league, rugby union, AFL, cricket, netball and tennis are maintained to a high standard all year round," he said.
"There are a great number of parks that have low use and are a cost to council in mowing and garden maintenance.
"Councillors agreed that a Parks Rationalisation Project was needed to find out which parks could be sold, which parks could be leased and those that could have boundary realignments to allow partial sale of land."Allora RSL Sub-Branch committee chaplain said if council decided to lease the park to someone other than the sub-branch it would be a crying shame.
"The memorial has been there a long time and I would like to think council would fight to keep it," he said.
"It was recently restored and it would be a very sad day if it was ever removed."