Unanswered complaint re Bland St, Woolloomooloo

Unanswered complaint addressed to Monica Barone 5 March 2009. I was directed by council staff to email Monica at council[at]cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

Dear Monica

One of your staff (tree planting section) suggested today that I contact you regarding my ongoing dialogue with council about Bland St (Cnr Dowling St section) Woolloomooloo.

I have lived in the street since mid-2005 and accept that noise and traffic is all part of the charm of the area (mind you the Shell servo pushes the friendship with refuelling trucks arriving at midnight). Over the past few years I have tried to engage council in the other issues that residents in this street put up with – the overall neglect, cracked footpaths, cleanliness and public urination. My attempts at getting a satisfactory response have been disappointing. I suspect that this communication will result in another generic form letter being sent to me listing various departments that I must contact in order to get this sorted. Or perhaps again I will have a number of good folks contacts me so I can go through the entire sorry saga and be informed that my issues are out of their control. Is a coordinated response from council too much to ask? Not a piecemeal response in which council pretty much expects the rate payer to project manage the issues and contact numerous departments.

OK. So here’s my beef. Again.

Street cleanliness

This street is a popular parking area on Friday & Saturday nights for folks attending the local pubs. It is also a main pedestrian thoroughfare for people moving between the venues. Add a service station that is handy for snacks PLUS Harry’s Cafe and the result from these 2 nights is gutters full of refuse and discarded alcohol bottles (this area is an alcohol free zone?).

It would also seem that our street regularly falls off the street cleaning radar – so often this garbage sits around until Tuesday. Rotting pies, broken glass, plastic forks all becoming part of the landscape. The rats don’t seem to complain though! It is fascinating that when Harry’s was applying for an extended trading license that employees from Harry’s would regularly come around and do a clean-up. Now they have secured their late trading license this level of courtesy to the community has disappeared.

4 large pubs, 1 service station that becomes the hub of all hoon activity and NO public toilets. The Shell servo closed its toilets late 2005. Guess where they direct patrons now? On a Friday or Saturday night there is without exaggeration a row of men lined up against the diving wall between the servo and Bland St. They pee all over our pot plants (our feeble attempts at making the street less stark). Pot plants are used as urinals and even our front doors are urinated on. Monica – do you know what it is like to open you front door on a Sunday morning to be welcomed by the stench of human urine?

My neighbour moved out last year because they could no longer bear arriving home with their young daughter to be greeted by a line of men with their penises out. Occasionally you will see a woman squatting over the top of a pot plant. Sound hilarious but it is threatening and disgusted. These guys don’t care. The time I have seen police cruise past they don’t even bother to move these guys along let alone charge them.

Streetscape

Thank you for the chipping away chunks of the footpath last year and planting a line of trees. I have to ask. Is this it? Really??? This is Bland Street’s contribution to greening Sydney? One of our struggling trees was smashed by a drunken yob a couple of weekends ago and now we have a hole in footpath with a patch of bare earth. It is the perfect target for public urinators (or is it urinatees?). Perhaps this is the solution to the above issue. Simply dig some pits for toilets? I was overjoyed in December when a council leaflet came through the front door advising that the cracked footpaths in Bland St would be worked on from 15th December. I even dared to dream that perhaps we might even get some nice paving and a bit more landscaping (but strongly suspected it would be black bitumen). Every day I would close all my windows in case the work started (did not want dust everywhere). The windows are still closed and I am still waiting for the work to commence.

So in summary here is one resident’s point of view. The street looks revolting, smells revolting and gets treated by the public with the level of disrespect equivalent to that shown to it by council. If I was a visitor to the street I would probably throw my garbage in the gutter and pee on someone’s door as well.

Regards

Comments

wow

no wonder you are pissed off. A public urinal - disgusting. And think of the rates you're all paying.

Just somethoughts:

1 The Shell service station must reinstate its toilets: its part of their DA consent.

2 Get Council to intal on-street CCTV cameras with back-to-base links to both Town Hall and KX Police with 24-hour surveillance and direct Ranger/Police liaison.

2A Get Clover Moore MP to raise these matters at her Police accountability meetings

2B Ask council to review Harry's trading hours.

3 Police patrols should be tripled during peak-problem hours.

4 Pubs should close at 11pm. Tell patrons to go home and drink. Council can alter opening and closing hours by making an application to the Liquor Board based on bad patron behaviour.

5 Street cleaing must be monitored. Take photographs and post them on this site.

6 Bland Street is not Bland: it's a delightfully intricate terrace row namedd after a Mr Bland. It deserves better than council's trashing policy.

6B Get a petition re: the lost landscape upgrade.

7 Residents and rate-payers deserve better than this.

11 May - another car break in on Bland St tonight. Reported it to police early evening, no sign of them coming around to check it out.

This is absolutely disgraceful and the council should be ashamed of themselves. I'm sure there are good individuals in all councils but the above is happening in many suburbs to varying degrees and councils are just letting it happen. I'm talking about the loutish behaviour of drunken, arrogant, and sometimes thuggish morons. Pubs have got a lot to answer for with serving alcohol to late hours and noise from overly loud "music" but the councils continue to grant these venues licences to operate. And once these places have got their licence then it seems written in stone because no amount of complaining to the council can change it if these places start pushing laws and common decency.

There are a lot residents suffering out there, how much of a ground swell of people will be necessary to get action on trading hours, excessive noise, and very lax patron responsibilty? Well, councils??

Residents of Dowling & Nicholson have also raised some of these issues with COS over the last 2 or more years. We have written as individuals and the building I live in has also written formerly from the Strata.

We have raised the issues of the escalating car hoon activity, excessive noise, pubs not managing patrons (Frisco Hotel in particular), public urination, lack of Police and Ranger response, hygiene and cleaning issues.

We have also suggested solutions including CCTV, better Ranger presence, Police patrols at key times. We have also invited Council staff to observe the issues first hand in order to develop solutions (not taken up).

We have reported pub issues, RSA issues, noise issues, taken photos and called Rangers and Police when things happen so our general complaints are supported by specific evidence - they are not just a general whine.

We opposed the extension of Harry's Cafe trading hours for sound and reasonable reasons. We knew extended trading with no parking or facilities would exacerbate the issues, which is has.

We were recently advised there are plans to install a speed hump in Dowling & Nicholson St's along with some footpath widening (you would have seen the same notification in the mail if you live in the area), but have received no response or action on the other issues.

My personal view is that W'loo is ignored because of the high concentration of pubic housing in the area.

The rich on the Wharf have nothing to say because they are not affected and largely do not particupate in the wider local community.

I don't think Council earn enough rates from the rest of W'loo to take it care about anything other than the basics they are required to provide, and the few voices in between that do speak up can be ignored because there are so few of us.

I thought that a round-about at the Cowper Wharf Raceway & Dowling St intersection had been approved around 18 months ago to help curb the hoon activity and the illegal u-turns from taxi's at this intersection?

Tree smashed in February by drunken yobs just replaced. No reply from council about other concerns.

Garbage sitting in gutters from a typical Friday night. This will sit there until Monday (often Tuesday). After Sat night there will be a nice collection of alcohol bottles, red bull / V energy drink tins and paper plates and plastic forks from Harrys.

some rubbish in the gutter
some more rubbish in the gutter

Image 9 - the popular spot for urinating. Note the green mould patches - this is the favourite places for the dozens of urinators each night.

Urinating in gutter

Image 6 - the sight that residents have to put up with.

some guy urinating on the street

Are you sure this is not Double Bay??????
Looks like it before council pulled their finger out.

The morning after... 8am Monday morning. Th result of a slow winter weekend. You can imagine on a typical weekend over summer what the street looks like.

Photo0012.jpg

what is it these days with litter.Councils and people need to take more responsibility.
Have you ever seen a street after the Bin Men have been.
They just dont care, they through the bins around spilling rubbish everywhere.Maybe the bin men hate the street cleaners??

Another weekend with garbage sitting in the gutters... aftermath of Friday night...

Photo0017.jpg Photo0018.jpg Photo0019.jpg

Front door urinated on10:20pm Saturday. Police are having blitz on hoons on Cowper Wharf Rd which makes the urinators head to the other side of our street for additional cover. When I yelled at the guy to stop he just shrugged his shoulders. Living room stinks of urine.

Photo0024.jpg

Bland St awash with urine -

Photo0027.jpg Photo0030.jpg Photo0028.jpg

Met with George Angelis from CoS at the Community Forum last night.

Seems a reply to my original compaint was sent but unfortunately not received due to Cos sending making an error in the email address. I am hoping to receive a copy of the response which I will post.

George seemed quite suprised that issues re street cleaning were still occurring because his team were telling him all is fine. The evidence and experience from the residents in the street tells a very different story.

George has committed to getting a full report from his team (struck me later that perhaps George himself should get himself down to Bland St and familiarise himself with the street). Again whether cleaning will occur on the weekends to clear out the refuse from Fri and Sat nights... I remain sceptical. Unfortunately the vast majority of the meeting focussed on KX and the only times W'mloo got mentioned was in upgrading the homeless park and the community centres. Not much help or hope for the average resident.

As far as a Cos response to the chonic and ongoing public urination... "A public toilet strategy is being developed." Code for "too hard basket"?

When mentioned about Bland St being an alcohol free zone, the police representative indicated that W'mloo now had additional policing resources (a seperate command from KX - might have this wrong) and that things were going to change.

A large chunk of the community forum was devoted to major projects that Cos were undertaking - which are significant and praiseworthy. It was difficult to feel enthusiasm for the uplighting of fig trees when you know you are facing another weekend of having your front door pee'd on.

Well seems like my mate George Angelis has let me down. Still have not received the copy of the council reply to my original complaint nor has ANYTHING changed. Despite George's suprise that the streets DO NOT get cleaned over the weekend and his commitment to do a thorough investigation the following photos are the result another weekend of neglect. Nice one CoS. Great community consultation meetings - any action though?

Bland St late Sunday afternoon 4.jpg Bland St late Sunday afternoon 3.jpg Bland St late Sunday afternoon 2.jpg Bland St late Sunday afternoon.jpg

Councils Mate, just LAZY,Good luck.

Update from meeting last Thursday

George Angelis from CoS met with myself and a neighbour to discuss the ongoing issues in Bland St. Outcomes may include (focus on the word "may") replacing the cracked cement footpath outside our houses, replacing redundant footpath by the urinal wall with a garden bed (if they can't stop people from pee'ing at least give them something to pee into so the urine does not just run across the footpath and into the gutter) plus upgraded lighting in the street (replacing the freeway style lights with something more in line with heritage nature of the houses).

These suggestions are taken with a healthy does of reality as to whether any of these actions happen.

In the meantime... George is still suprised that his cleaning crew are not servicing our street over the weekend. Well, again here is photographic proof. Bland St on Saturday morning and Bland St on Sunday morning...

Sat 8th Aug.jpg Sat 8th Aug 2.jpg Sun 9th Aug.jpg Sun 9th Aug 2.jpg Sun 9th Aug 3.jpg

Christ, I would be pissed off with having to put up with that every weekend.

Keep at it Bland St residents - you have the full support from outsiders also.

Wake up City of Sydney times have changed and your laziness and filth is now on show for the world to see.

NSW tourism needs to see this.
Councils in all areas need to be held accountable.
Woollahra is as bad as ever.Seems like the Mayor loks the open nights with the free drinks and nibbles but hates cleaning up the place.

Urinators do not care whether it is day or night - Bland St is used as a toilet at any time.

Bland St Sunday afternoon.jpg

Shiny new bins from CoS.

So I arrived home this afternoon to see that CoS has decided that I needed 2 shiny brand new mini-wheelie bins with my address written on them. Given that I live in a tiny terrace house (1 person household) with nowhere to store them apart from on the street or in the living room, I decided to call CoS and let them know that the bins can be recycled to another household. This was the resulting conversation:

Me: Hi. I have just had a couple of new bins delivered and I don't need them.
CoS: So you don't want the bins? Why not?
Me: Well I don't have anywhere to store the bins apart from on the street or in my living room.
CoS: Well you cannot leave them on the street. We can replace the wheelie bins with carry type bins.
Me: Thank you for the offer I still not have anywhere to store those bins.
CoS: So you currently don't have any bins?
Me: Apart from a small kitchen bin, no. I live 30 metres from a pub that puts it's general waste and recycling bins out on our street twice a week so I just use those. Given that the pub's garbage collection wakes me up at 4 in the morning backing down our street (imagine that beep beep beep noise at 4 in the morning ha ha ha...), I figure the least they can do is share to take my garbage and recycling at the same time (ha ha ha...)
CoS: Well we can take the recycling bin back but you have to have a CoS garbage bin.
Me: But.... I don't have anywhere to store it and I don't need it. Don't you think it is a bit if a waste of rate-payers money to force people to take bins that they do not need?
CoS: Well it is the regulations that all residents have a CoS bin.
Me: But I don't need it.
CoS: But you have to have it
[Several more back and forths like this]
Me: So you are telling me that you will not take back the bin and reallocate to another household that needs it.
CoS: Yes by regulation you have to have the bin.
[Pretty much the end of the conversation].

Ahh CoS residents, this is your rates hard at work.

No sorry this is your arrogance at work. Depositing your rubbish into the pubs bins is illegal and can lead to fines, also not handling your waste in a proper fashion at home and being able to show you have a collection from home can lead to fines from the health department. That is the reason you need the CoS bin and also more narrow mindness by you, you are paying for a service that you are not using and by legislation, its a levy and you don't get a choice on whether you pay it. If I was the officer from Council I would have taken your bins gave you up to the pub, the rangers and the health department and received the Domestic Waste Levy for doing nothing at your property. Its easy to belittle the worker, but lets see if this website can present both sides of the fence because trust me your side of the fence out weighs the other side of the fence in stupidity 10 fold.

Huh? The pub is welcome to the bins! By all means! I don't begrudge paying the fees I just don't want or need the bins. My neighbour is in the same boat. What is more hygenic? Utlising services that are already in place (ie. the pubs twice weekly garbage and recycling collection which is a disruption in our street already or having a wheelie bin sitting in my living room?). I go for garbage-pooling every time!
And there is no need for personal attacks.

Your blurb wasn't a personal attack on the Council officer? The pub pays a premium price for a private company to empty its bins, by you putting any rubbish into the pubs bins you are breaking many laws and legislation, garbage pooling I don't think the pub owner would agree in such economic times where every buck counts. If your neighbour filled your bin that you paid for every collection I bet you wouldn't go for garbage pooling. The garabge collectiion disrupts the street ah, do you use the pubs facilities, who was there first? You do live in the middle of the city all part and parcel of city living I believe.

You are absolutely entitled to our opinion and that is what is great about forums such as council gripe. I do think when you start using emotive words such as "arrogance" and "stupidity" in reposnse to a post then yes, I do think it skews into a personal attack. You have made some excellent points which no doubt could be debated till the garbos come home.

I am all for utilising existing services. I have the bins. I do not need the bins. The council insists that I have the bins. End of story.

Bland St has fallen off the cleaning roster again. Drink cans, paper plates and plastic forks from Harry's are collecting in the gutter.

Arrogance Stupidity, yep there are people like this thats why we have words like this.Its their opinion and if you feel attacked....your feelings.Dont let him control your feelings learn to accept other peoples opinions.

Another young tree smashed in Bland St by a bunch of yobs stumbling from one pub to another (early Tuesday evening!). This one survived just over a year...

I had a brand new moped pushed over and damaged by drunks, the night my wife was taken into hospital and our new borns are regularly startled by the hooning cars and drunken shouts outside (like right now unfortunately) - the worst is finding broken glass on our doorstep when we try to get the stroller out in the morning. I actually feel quite threatened for myself and my family by the drunkenness around here.

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