FED UP: Maryvale residents Kathy Rohweder and David Bowen are frustrated by inaction from Southern Downs Regional Council to help maintain roads in the town.
FED UP: Maryvale residents Kathy Rohweder and David Bowen are frustrated by inaction from Southern Downs Regional Council to help maintain roads in the town. Sophie Lester

Ratepayers fired up over lack of attention

IN 2007, Brisbane school teacher David Bowen bought a home in Maryvale to escape to on weekends.

Mr Bowen joined Mary- vale Progress Association when it was formed to lobby for better council road maintenance in the small town.

Ten years on, he has left the association and says he is frustrated by a lack of attention to the town from Southern Downs Regional Council.

"My partner Cam and I bought the property purely as a weekender because it was a geographically beautiful spot,” Mr Bowen said.

"But the basic infrastructure that our rates should pay for hasn't happened.

"I would not expect the same level of service as in Brisbane, but we should have more than a single footpath between the pub and the school,” Mr Bowen said.

"We do not seem to get a thing out of the up to $6000 in rates we pay,” he said.

"It is time now the council starts putting money back into area, but they are uninterested in Maryvale - they do not want to listen.”

Mr Bowen's concerns are echoed by neighbour Kathy Rohweder, who also moved to Coxen St East 10 years ago after almost two decades in Stanthorpe.

Mrs Rohweder said she had raised the issue of long grass on roadsides and narrow, unsealed roads as a major safety issue at a public meeting between councillors and residents in November.

"Like David, I am totally frustrated we're not getting any returns for the rates we've been paying,” Ms Rohweder said.

"We were told in November the grass along our street would not be mowed because it was on an unsealed road and it was last graded in January 2015,” she said.

"You can't walk along

the side of the road because the grass is too long, and drivers can't see anything coming.

"We do not expect sealed roads but safe, all-weather roads.

"I can understand the council has a debt to clear, but it cannot be at the detriment to ratepayers.”

However, Mayor Tracy Dobie said the council was all ears.

"We have had a number of meetings with the Maryvale Progress Association,” Cr Dobie said.

"The issues they have raised are mainly to do with improving roads and drainage around Maryvale,” she said.

"One of the issues we see from the council perspective is that you buy a property on dirt road, you should not expect the same level of maintenance as on a bitumen road.

"At this stage on average, Maryvale residents would be paying among the lowest rates in the whole of the region.

"In some cases, people have a high expectation of what their rates can buy, and the services being provided to Maryvale likely exceed the total rates being paid.

"We acknowledge Maryvale is growing, but there has to be a certain level of traffic before we consider making it a bitumen road.

"If it's a safety issue that's a whole other kettle of fish.”



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