Bowral needs to get real
I like Bowral’s Bong Bong Street as much as the next person who appreciates nice food, beautiful furniture and pretty gift shops. And that’s especially in the cooler months when even though you’re only 90 minutes from Sydney you’d be forgiven for thinking it was much further.
But as relaxing and escapist as that can feel it doesn’t mean that I don’t expect real life to exist there too. Or that many of the people working and living in the area don’t all live in a beautiful bubble of Southern Highland’s privilege everyday of their lives.
So the decision of 60 local shopkeepers to sign a petition that prevented the town’s St Vincent de Paul store being moved to a more prominent position in the main street because it could “de-value” the area is not only selfish, it’s reckless and socially irresponsible.
As ‘High Country Gent’ posted on The Land website this morning: “What a pack of snobs living in an over rated over priced area.”
Bowral’s St Vincent de Paul store has existed in its current location for 14 years and as Marion Frith the NSW communications officer for the organisation put it – the shop means more to people than “just a second hand pair of jeans”.
In the past six months alone the Bowral store, run completely by volunteers, has assisted 740 local residents. And that’s with anything from food and power and electricity vouchers, to accommodation and services for children, migrants and refugees all completely without cost.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald online Joseph Buhagiar, the regional president of St Vincent de Paul says they’ve been looking around for a more promiment spot for the Bowral store for over five years. Their current location, a few kilometres out of town, makes it hard for anyone without a car to access.
When you consider that all the money generated from sales of the shop’s furniture, clothing and ‘bric a brac’ is considered “fundraising” that goes 100 per cent directly back into the local community, it’s easy to see how quickly a more promiment position in the town could boost the amount of people they ‘d be helping out on a daily basis.
And that’s a hell of a lot more than what’s achieved from browsing through the racks of Witchery or the plush book shop that send out their wares in brown paper shopping bags.
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