Residents furious at misuse of memorial
FURIOUS residents have slammed some members of the community as "disgusting and disrespectful” after they were spotted using the Tweed Heads Anzac Memorial Fountain as a swimming pool, with one person even using it to wash their dog.
Tweed Heads resident Ross Symonds said he had "lost count” of the amount of times he had seen teenagers and adults using the fountain to swim in, despite it being a memorial in remembrance of fallen veterans.
Mr Symonds said while he may have a greater emotional investment in the issue due to a previous role as a speaker for Anzac Day and Remembrance Day ceremonies in Canberra, he was "disappointed” that younger generations were not respecting the memorial.
"I came up here and live almost opposite the memorial park and was just honestly disgusted when I saw all these kids playing in the memorial pool,” he said.
"I just think it's quite disgusting, they either should put a sign up or a little fence around it, which wouldn't take away from the memorial but remind people it's not a public swimming pool.”
Mr Symonds said he had even seen one person riding their scooter in the fountain.
He said he had written to Tweed Heads and Coolangatta RSL Sub-Branch on numerous occasions about the issue but had not received an adequate response.
RSL Sub-Branch secretary John Griffin said he was concerned about the issue but it was out of the RSL's hands as the fountain was owned by Tweed Shire Council.
The fountain fell into major disrepair after years of neglect and was even going to be scrapped by the council early last year, before the Tweed Heads and Coolangatta RSL Sub- Branch raised emergency funds to have it restored.
Mr Griffin said he was sick of seeing "people doing the wrong thing”.
"It's a special fountain and in remembrance of fallen veterans, and a lot of community people - whether they're from the veteran or military community or not - are not happy with it being used for purposes other than what a fountain is meant for,” he said.
"Kids running around in it, another 50m they can run into the boat harbour.
"We just ask for the community to respect what it is and what it stands for.”
A council spokesperson said "council would prefer that people respect the fountain as a memorial and do not swim in it”.
"It is relatively common for people to hop into fountains ... during particularly hot periods,” they said.
"The only actions council could consider would be erecting signage prohibiting people from entering the fountain and then reallocate resources to enforce the sign.”