To the Editor
What do you think of this?
I have not had running water since last December. Both my creeks have been bone dry for a year. I have two small rainwater tanks. There is nowhere to put a bigger one and anyway I couldn’t afford it, I am on the Age Pension.
When my tanks ran low, my daughter and I went from 2 buckets to shower and wash our hair to just one and now half a bucket. Terrified at not having a drop of water I have been keeping clean with baby wipes and we buy our drinking water. Tyalgum village had showers in the toilets in the park. I drove the 26 kilometres there and back to have a cold shower and wash my hair, only to find the ladies shower is not working.
I wrote a letter to Mr Scott Ousby to ask for the shower to be fixed. He informed me that the shower has purposely been decommissioned. But the men’s shower was not. When I asked in at Tweed Shire Council why men need a shower and women don’t, I was met with hostility. I was put on the phone to Mr Ousby who said that he didn’t know that the men’s shower was working. I told him that I would be showering in the men’s shower. I went the next week to shower only to find that the tap has been removed and plugged up. This was done deliberately to spite me, as he had no idea there was a shower till I told him.
On the phone, he informed me that there was a drought. How could he possibly think that I didn’t know that? I told him that I had rung the General Store and they said there were no water restrictions. Guess what. Tyalgum suddenly went to Level 2 Water Restrictions. That is 144 litres per person per day and watering garden for one hour only every other day. If we are in drought, why wasn’t Tyalgum already on Water Restrictions?
I have left posts complaining about the situation on Tweed Shire Council Facebook page and I have written to the Mayor Katie Milne. Mr Ousby told me that as a property owner it is my responsibility to provide myself with water. The first letter he sent me had a list of water carriers, as if I could find that for myself. My driveway is one kilometre long, 4WD only very narrow and in bad repair. No water truck could get up and they wouldn’t come to fill my tiny tanks.
I live on 245 acres of forest and I am prepared for a fire. I have been trying to find out ahead of time where the bush fire evacuation centre is for me. It’s the Hall in Tyalgum, a weatherboard building. My house is solid brick. I went to the Show Grounds to see if the Murwillumbah one was there. No, even if I am evacuating I still have to pay $25 per day to pitch a tent. I feel shame, having paid my rates on time every time for the past 40 years and they don’t even provide rubbish removal. P.S I am 77 years old.
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I have just received an email from the editor from The Weekly and they asked me if I could go to Murwillumbah on Monday.
I am so sorry for your situation and I hope everything is going okay.
If possible I would like to arrange Monday to get a photo? Would that be possible?
Editor TVW 0447300258 (02) 6672 4443
Two years ago I loved my house and property. I’ve had a Prize-Winning garden, both the Tweed Shire Council for Environmentally Friendly Garden and the Murwillumbah Garden Club coming second to The Youngblutts in Country Garden. Now my garden is rubbish from the drought and the last 4 summers were too hot and humid for me. I have craniofacial hyperhidrosis. I have not had any visitors for 4 years. My daughter became homeless last year when her rent went up $100 from $180 to $280 and so had to move back home with me. She brought with her a two-bedroom unit of her belongings. Consequently, my house is in turmoil. Plus having no water has been difficult to keep clean.
Sounds like quite a battle.
I’d like to come to you if possible?
I’ve been thinking about my situation and I really appreciate that the Weekly is interested in my plight; however my letter was to find out how people think about the Tweed Shire Council’s treatment of my situation and not an emphasis on my situation. That’s why I headed it What do you think of This?
I don’t want the story to be about me when over 300 houses have been lost and 4 people have died. I want the story to be about Tweed Shire Council and their lack of humanity and care for a 40 year long rate payer, their slack running of the water crisis and lack of empathy for my situation. I want people to know who Mr Scott Ousby is and what he is capable of.
Please just print my letter to the editor on the letters page. That would be really good. Thanks