Coast veteran shocked by ‘disgraceful’ public act
IT has been a problem in the CBD, tourist strip and in our parks.
Now the city's homeless issue has landed on sacred ground - and an irate ex-serviceman says it is disgraceful.
Business owners say they are fielding numerous complaints from customers about ongoing problems at Burleigh Heads War Memorial near Gold Coast Highway.
Sea-dog cafe owner Brodie Green provided a picture an upset client snapped last week of the Lest We Forget monument at the park.
One man is pictured sprawled on top of the structure shirtless, while two more men lay partially inside, garbage strewn nearby.
Mr Green said it was disheartening to see such a special site treated with disrespect, and believed more outreach services could go some way to address the issue.
"(The customer) approached police and council and basically has been told the homeless people are untouchables and can do what they like. We've had people come in complaining about the situation," he said.
"He wants to know why something can't be done. He wants to know why our diggers died for these people to be disrespectful like this.
"He got really upset. He's quite a big bloke and he's almost crying when he told me what was happening. I just felt bad for him, even that no one's explained why nothing's been done."
Mr Green said it was common to see people sleeping and drinking alcohol on and around the memorial in recent times.
"It's not just a once-off, this is pretty much every day," he said.
Recently, the Bulletin has covered clashes between Gold Coast City Council and homelessness support services Agape Outreach and You Have a Friend.
The charities complained the council was preventing them helping those in need, but the council said anti-social behaviour led to increased oversight.
The Bulletin has also revealed homeless camps popping up in popular parks, rough sleepers causing trouble in Southport CBD and frightened staff being given duress alarms.
Ex-serviceman Ross Eastgate OAM, well-known for his work with veterans on the Gold Coast, said lazing about on a war memorial was disrespectful.
"I just find it offensive that people would sleep on any war memorial," he said.
"It should be treated with some respect. As an ex-serviceman, I think that some individuals should have more respect for these symbols. It's a disgrace."
Mr Eastgate said authorities had enough to deal with without patrolling memorials and it was "common sense" to treat such sensitive sites with proper consideration.
The memorial, officially dedicated in 1996, commemorates those who have served in armed conflicts involving Australia.
The council said: "The City has not received any complaints concerning this matter."
Any complaints about public drinking are forwarded to Queensland Police.