WE MIGHT have won the Tidy Towns national award a couple of years ago and we pride ourselves on having a pretty place but at least two long- time Tamworth residents reckon our city streets are nothing to boast about – and they’re on a mission to clean us up.
They say we’ve lost the art of shop housekeeping and a new broom – or any broom – would be in order.
They meet most mornings for a cuppa and a chat – but for months now Reg Brody and Vince Bradbery have been chalking up a list of seedy-looking, scrappy, dirty shopfronts in the streetscape that is Peel St.
The two blokes – retired owners of real estate and wholesale supplies businesses – deny they’re just grumpy old buggers having a whinge.
They cite the tattered old posters on buildings, the dirt-encrusted grime on some shopfronts, and dirty steps and doorways as perfect examples of their complaints.
“Look, it’s just bloody awful,” Mr Bradbery said.
“It’s disgustingly dirty in some places. I had a mate of mine look at it the other day and he agreed, yes, it is bloody awful.”
The two claim they’ve lobbied the council for some action but reckon the buck really stops with the owners of the buildings who have allowed bill-posters to leave junk on the exterior for months and who don’t take any pride in the appearance of their assets.
A random walk down the avenue that becomes the Boulevard of Dreams during the country music festival will show you advertisements and posters from shows we saw eight months ago, still plastered to bulkheads and doorways.
“The place is just grubby in places,” Mr Brody said.
He wants the council to start fronting up to owners to take some action to spruce up the joint.
“Other towns seem to be able to do it, much smaller than us,” he said, citing places like Coonabarabran, Inverell and Broken Hill as recent centres he’s seen where their main street is spruced up and looking clean and sparkling.
Once upon a time, they said, the 5pm shop closure would also herald the arrival of the shopkeeper at the front door, with broom in hand to sweep down his or her store entrance – and more often than not with a hose, too.
They don’t see much of it – but on a walk recently were utterly entranced and happy when they ran into Helen Coutman doing just that at the new store, Barretts.
It was completely unstaged but the two men reckon it’s a great start for a retail revival.
“We’ve lived in Tamworth for years and we’re proud of it, but we’re concerned at what we are seeing now,” Mr Brody said.
“We’ve let it go ... I like to see development go on in town but I think housekeeping is where it starts.”
Vince Bradbery is blunt.
“Look, it just looks like we’ve got no pride. I’m buggered if I know why some people are like that.
“But we need to do something about it.”