Eric Lewis, with his dog Rebel, worries about what will happen to his community if a proposed community cafe near his Bolsover St home goes ahead.
Eric Lewis, with his dog Rebel, worries about what will happen to his community if a proposed community cafe near his Bolsover St home goes ahead. Sharyn Oneill

Resident driven to attempt suicide

ERIC Lewis stood before councillors yesterday and told how he had been driven to make two attempts on his own life.

“I would like you to know what happened to me last time they were feeding people out of the food van opposite my house in Bolsover St,” he said.

He went on to tell how he had been mugged by 12 people in the street outside his home; how he was beaten up and robbed so many times he stopped reporting the attacks to police; how he didn’t get a good night’s sleep for seven years; how street dwellers fornicated, defecated and fought through the night; how his home became unsellable and how, in the depths of despair, he tried to commit suicide.

For 10 minutes the labourer held Rockhampton Regional Council in rapt attention as he told them why they should reject the application for a community cafe less than 100m from his house.

Mr Lewis described Margaret Strelow’s proposal of a community cafe as a “food van without wheels”.

Since the food van stopped operating near his house, he said, families had moved back in, children played in the street and it was safe to walk around.

“I can sleep at night and I’m not taking anti-depressants any more,” he said.

“When my life is starting to get better you want to put a feeding van without wheels on the corner less than 100m from my house, put everyone’s safety at risk and make it a no-go area again.

“It’s madness.”

Mr Lewis said the cafe would attract people who were the worse for drugs and alcohol and street sleepers in need of cleaning-up.

“If Mrs Strelow has a calling from God, why doesn’t she do it at her place?” he said.

“It is a bed and breakfast and she can be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”



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