DRIVEN by last week’s front page article about the shame of “our dirty old town,” some senior members of Cree Valley Community Council - assisted by some local helpers - hauled a vandalised litter bin from the River Cree on Monday.
The wrought-iron bin, which had been damaged when thrown down the bank, was consequently retrieved and delivered to the Dumfries and Galloway Council Barnkirk Roads Depot along with two cement ends of a summer seat which had also been thrown into the river some time ago.
Cree Valley Councillor Bob Boan set the ball rolling and called in the help of some fellow council members who used a rope and ladder to reach the bin, which was clearly visible in the low water.
Those present say the recovery was made “with very little fuss and no danger to any of the people involved”.
Cree Valley Community Council Chairman John McNaught said: “By not replacing these bins it could look as though the vandals have won and I personally feel that this should not be the case.
“I do not see why people in the community should lose amenities because of the mindless acts of a few which means that one of the most popular walks along the river is subjected to a mass of litter.
“Surely if it was the case that every time something is vandalised it is not replaced, we would end up in a sorry state around the town and the persons carrying out these acts would have won.”
According to John, the recovery raised the question of why a council spokesman had claimed in last week’s Gazette that the bin could not be retrieved by manual means as the bank was too steep.
John added: “It should be the responsibility of all members of the community, both young and old, to take a pride in their town to ensure that the tag of ‘dirty old town’ does not stick.”
A council spokeswoman said that the local authority’s staff would not be asked to put themselves in the position the councillors did as the river bank was very steep and the water could be fast flowing.
She added: “DG First did find the bin at their property but unfortunately it was beyond repair.
“As it is wrought-iron, it will be sent for scrap. The bin has been retrieved and replaced from that site three times and each time, it is vandalised or burnt so the council would no longer be looking to replace it.”
Now John McNaught is inviting members of the community to highlight areas they know of that are in need of a litter pick as one is being arranged for later this month.
He said: “I personally feel that the claims about Newton Stewart being a dirty old town cannot be taken lightly and that all stops will be pulled out to make the town a lot cleaner over the summer months.”