CONCERNED LOCAL: Valerie Pashalis, who moved to Eidsvold more than 20 years ago with her husband George, bemoaned the direction her town has taken since council amalgamation in 2008.
CONCERNED LOCAL: Valerie Pashalis, who moved to Eidsvold more than 20 years ago with her husband George, bemoaned the direction her town has taken since council amalgamation in 2008.

FED UP: Residents claim town going back to ‘stone age’

VALERIE and George Pashalis moved to Eidsvold more than 20 years ago from Sydney on a whim.

They knew nothing about the town, but after seeing a property listed in a real estate book, they took a road trip up and “fell in love” with the place, Mr Pashalis said.

“When we moved here, it was absolutely beautiful,” Mrs Pashalis said.

They both worked hard to build the community, Mrs Pashalis as a fruit picker and packer (she even ran for council one election) and Mr Pashalis at the hospital.

Now they are enjoying their retirement, but outside their verdant garden, which Mr Pashalis tends to daily, they see the town they love crumbling.

“It’s very sad,” Mrs Pashalis said.

“I’ve had enough.”

Mr Pashalis said since amalgamation, Eidsvold had gone “backwards”.

“We’re going so far backwards it feels like we’re going back to the stone age,” he said.

Of particular concern to the Pashalises is the Eidsvold Aerodrome, which consists of unsealed gravel, unlike Gayndah, Mundubbera and Monto; the swimming pool, which they say sorely needs a fresh coat of paint, the dilapidated planter boxes near the Town Hall, the visual appeal of the Eidsvold’s main thoroughfare, the Burnett Highway; and the footbridge over Harkness Boundary Creek.

The decayed state of Harkness Boundary Creek footbridge in Eidsvold.
The decayed state of Harkness Boundary Creek footbridge in Eidsvold.

In July, it was announced that $307,000 had been allocated under the Department of Transport and Main Roads’ Active Transport Investment program to construct a 2.5m-wide shared path for cyclists and pedestrians connecting the town centre to the RM Williams Bush Learning Centre, repairing the bridge in the process.

However, no work has been done and the bridge remains in a decayed state.

“God forbid anyone gets hurt on the bridge,” Mr Pashalis said.

“If something happens, I will make sure every media in Australia knows about that.”

Mrs Pashalis said the bridge’s structure looked sound, all council needed to do was replace the boards as a stopgap solution.

A TMR representative said design on the path is complete and work is expected to start early next year, being completed by mid-2020, weather permitting.

In regards to street beautification of Eidsvold, mayor Rachel Chambers has previously told the Times that the program has lagged behind other towns because the Burnett Highway is controlled by the State Government, so council requires TMR permission to enact work.

A council spokesman said they are looking at external funding options for upgrades to Eidsvold Aerodrome and continue to build upon the RM Williams Australian Bush Learning Centre, which he noted was a finalist in this year’s Queensland Tourism Awards.

“Council works hard to ensure equity in service delivery across the region,” he said.

“We seek to work with community on projects that are important to them and look forward to mutually beneficial partnerships in Eidsvold going forward.”

The Pashalises were scheduled to lead a deputation of concerned locals to the Eidsvold council meeting on October 9, but had to pull out due to illness.

They say they will be rescheduling the deputation for the next council meeting in the town, which won’t be until February 26.


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