By Gabriella Payne
The walking tracks of Pakenham’s PB Ronald Reserve are looking a whole lot brighter and safer thanks to a little push from the press and the persistence of one local resident, Patrick McHugh.
Mr McHugh, who lives nearby the popular park, reached out to the Gazette recently with his concerns over a number of broken street lights along the pathways, saying they had been out of action for months and despite contacting councillors himself, nothing had been done to ‘shed some light’ on the situation.
“Since February of this year, I have been in contact with two councillors, Carol Ryan and Brett Owen on several occasions about the non-operation of the 13 security/safety lights in the park,” Mr McHugh said.
“The lights in question have not been operating for at least four months and the park is as black as pitch in the nighttime.
Both councillors have been in contact with the maintenance department of the Shire multiple times requesting that the lights are fixed but at this stage, absolutely nothing has been done,” he said.
After reading about the recent vandalism at the Living Learning Centre’s green house in the Gazette just a few weeks ago, Mr McHugh decided it was time to put his foot down and got in touch with us – and after our journalists made a few phone calls, the street lights were suddenly fixed overnight.
“It’s about time!” Mr McHugh said, as he stood proudly underneath the now working street lamps on Friday 18 June.
“I received an email from Brett [Owen] last night and can read between the lines that he was as frustrated as myself – he made the lights a priority and must have been very forceful,” he explained, seeing as most of the 13 lights have now been fixed.
“I had never contacted your paper, because I didn’t want to be classed as a sook or a whinger, but [after seeing the recent vandalism] I thought ‘no, bugger it, I’ll see what they can do’ and it’s turned out well!” he said.
“It just goes to show that the power of the press does work if backed up by someone that listens.”