Merredin’s sustainable sheep

Jo FulwoodCountryman

He’s big and he’s red, and he’s about to go head-to-head with the worst of Merredin’s litter offenders.

For too long, one of the major parks and tourists attractions in this eastern wheatbelt town has been ruined by rubbish, with park users not taking the time to put their litter in the bins.

But soon, Merredin’s newest icon, nicknamed Toddy the Sheep, will step in to help solve the problem.

And if you are visiting Merredin’s Apex Park sometime after June, you won’t be able to miss this peculiar statue, with Toddy standing two metres high and almost three metres long.

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Made entirely out of circles, the sheep took many months to construct by local engineers, and incorporates several holes in his back and head to collect the litter, and a gate in his underbelly to allow Shire workers to remove the rubbish over time.

According to Shire of Merredin community liaison officer Marilyn Sayers, Toddy was dreamt up as a quirky way to educate those using the park about the importance of recycling.

“Unfortunately, we do have a litter problem in Merredin, especially at the park which is a really popular area, not only with locals and young families, but also with tourists,” she said.

“There are only a handful of days in the year where the area is not in use.

“We knew that in order to combat the problem, we needed to think up something quirky and different to encourage people to place their cans and plastics in a bin.”

In June, Toddy the Red sheep will be placed in Apex Park in the hope that something so different will encourage people to pick up after themselves and put their litter in the bin.

Ms Sayers said while he would be attached to a concrete pad in the park, there was some discussion about moving him around town, and also allowing him to attend the local agricultural show.

She said Toddy was designed as a sheep since farmers in the district had a long history of including sheep in their farming rotations.

“We are hoping we can secure funding to design Stage 2 and work on giving him a flock with a ewe and some lambs, all of which will be recycling bins,” she said.

Ms Sayers said the feedback so far had been extremely positive.

“He is much bigger than we originally thought he’d be, but we think he’s fabulous,” she said.

“As they were creating him, we were all getting very excited, nobody has created anything like this before.

“He’s even got his testicles and ears and eyes – he’s beautiful.”

Toddy was built with funding from the Keep Australia Beautiful Council.

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