Miners warned: don't park here
IT'S the last thing John Gauci expected after a long shift at the mines: a note strapped to his car, saying "Do not park here d$%#head. Next time you will have four flat tyres".
Mr Gauci is one of many mine workers who leave their vehicles at Eton and catch the bus out west, rather than risking driving fatigued. However, the parking arrangements are causing headaches for locals, with up to 70 miners using the small town as a car park at a time.
The problem has been going on for several years - and it appears someone is on a mission to discourage miners from parking in the area.
"Over the last two years, windows have been smashed, tyres have been flattened and panels have been scratched on many vehicles," Eton police station officer-in-charge Senior Constable Gary Knack said.
"Police investigated, however, no one's been charged.
"The last incident we had was a bit over a month ago, when nine vehicles were scratched in one night. On some of those vehicles, every panel was scratched. The cost would have run into the tens of thousands of dollars. The locals have just had enough."
Snr Const Knack said he could understand the frustration of the 300 Eton residents affected, however, he would also like to see more miners catching buses to work to keep them safer on the roads.
He believes a dedicated car park could solve the problem.
In 2008, Mackay Regional Council was seeking funding from mining companies to help build a 125-vehicle secure car park on its land at Eton.
Requests for financial assistance were unsuccessful, Snr Const Knack said.
However, it's believed one mining company rents a parking space near the Eton Hotel for its employees.
Mr Gauci, who lives at Kuttabul, said he could understand the frustration of the Eton community and believes a dedicated car park should be built.
Until then, he's likely to drive to work, rather than risking four flat tyres and a 10.30pm call to his wife, asking her to wake their three small children and come and collect him.