The Beast’s Monthly Mailbag – June 2018
Local Councils 101 – An Introduction
Local councils, love them or hate them, are here to stay. Over the years I have been reading the various letters in The Beast, many of which seem to be against the local councils, whether it be Randwick, Waverley or Woollahra, and what they are doing or have done.
Over the past 15 years I have worked in many areas of a local council. I have since left to go back to private enterprise, so this is my exposé on what many people in council really think of their residents and ratepayers: they generally like them!
Councils do so much for their communities but it is the residents that don’t really seem that grateful. Sometimes the residents/ratepayers can be a**holes, but the councils keep on working hard for them. Here are some little ditties on how the community can make it hard for councils and their staff…
Blocking People’s Driveways
Council workers roll their eyes at this. Why on earth do people park in front of other people’s driveways? Are they lazy sods? Or are they just not caring? It does cause a lot of grief.
Like the Inner West, the Eastern Suburbs is also very congested. So, in many areas, parking permits are required. Many sulk at the idea of paying to park their car on the street, but you do not own anything beyond your boundary. When you do apply, bring those registration papers, because customer service needs to see them every time you apply or renew. It’s not that hard.
“I Pay My Rates”
Yes you do, and so do millions of other people. This does not make you special, and if you say that to any council staff member, they will just try not to laugh at you.
Age is No Barrier
Many call up council to acquire help or to report some issues in their neighbourhood, which is nice, but don’t continue telling us about how old you are and that you can’t do this or do that. We don’t care that you are an 80 year-old, or a single mother with a daughter – you are all equal.
Don’t Trust the Neighbour
Council receives many calls from people who are complaining about their neighbours, and they must act on these complaints. In the past there have been many incidents where neighbourly catfights have been the norm. If you don’t want your council to intervene, then why call council to intervene on such petty stuff in the first place?
The Daily Dump
Another issue councils have is the ‘daily dump’ – people dumping household items onto the nature strip, without approval. Council really hates this but, despite all the warnings, many still do it. Some Sydney councils have on-call and area clean-ups, so call your local council to inquire. Dumping illegally is a no-no and, as I mentioned, your neighbours will probably dob you in.
Reporting issues to council is fine. Actually, that is what they are there for – to help in fixing and maintaining things and picking up your rubbish – but the responsibility does lie with you as well. Don’t blame your local council for everything that goes wrong, especially when it may not be the council’s fault. Be responsible and pay attention to your surroundings.
So there it is, thanks.
Five Million Trees, two Stadia and still waiting for Public Transport
Dear Editor – The offer of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to plant five million trees – one for each Sydney resident, or one for each broken promise – will soon be seen for what it is: an attempt at political camouflage for the public transport and other policy failures of her government.
An offer to plant trees, instead of facing NSW and Sydney’s long standing, non-stadium issues, is surely what the Greens refer to, during their current bitter factional wars, as ‘Tree Toryism’.
While I may appreciate standing in the shade of these trees as I wait by the side of the Connex operated tollways, local roads – perhaps even footpaths – for delayed buses caused by Connex-delivered gridlock, or the arrival of much-needed but postponed bikeways and new train lines, I’d prefer that Gladys gave some stadium-free attention to education, public transport and health spending.
And allow me to anticipate what Mr Foley, the opposition leader, will say: that this is just another needless government-funded dirt digging scheme by the premier’s party.
If the trees are ever planted, then I am confident that Gladys’ National Party government colleagues will, in short order, move to classify any of the trees planted in their electorates as ‘woody weeds’, or a bushfire hazard, and seek to have them ring barked and clear-felled.
The Greek philosopher Aristotle (well-known to many Sydneysiders?) used to teach his philosophy while walking among the trees. I ask your readers in Gladys’ new and promised NSW Arcadia: will the lessons taught only be about wrong-headed priorities, bad government and poor decision-making, and taught by example?
Wishing you well in all things.
Garry P Dalrymple
Extend The Rail Line
In response to Dr Marjorie O’Neill’s article in the April 2018 edition of The Beast (Why the Bondi Tram is the Wrong Way To Go), a far better solution would be for the rail line to be extended from Bondi Junction to Bondi Beach, as was originally planned, but of course the selfishness of residents ensured that this never happened.
Instead, you have endless overcrowded buses clogging up Bondi Road every day of the week, with queues at the stops that stretch into absurdity whenever it’s sunny on the weekend.
But, of course, any attempt to address this problem is killed by the same entitled NIMBY thinking that killed the Bondi Train in the first place.
And as for the 440, it was a great route that provided one of the only easy ways to get from the Eastern Suburbs to the Inner West, but I wouldn’t expect the sort of people who clearly think no-one should ever come into or leave the Eastern Suburbs to understand the virtues of that.
Also, your arguments about density are nonsense. Randwick is five kilometres from the city centre and has a density of about 5,000 people per square kilometre, which is absurdly low for a capital city. Most of the suburbs of London five kilometres from the city centre have a density three to four times that (i.e. 15,000-20,000 per square kilometre). If you want a transit network like the London Underground, you have to have a certain level of density to make it practical; you can’t support an extensive, high-frequency subway with a handful of users.
Dockless Share Bikes
Dear Madam, Sir – I have just become a Coogee resident and, while on a family walk last weekend, we were all shocked at the number of discarded and trashed share bikes along the Coogee to Maroubra coastal walk.
Today I read the article by Siriol Dafydd in The Beast which addresses this exact problem (Dockless Bikes Remain a Local Nuisance, May 2018). The obvious solution is to create bike hubs where users can get a refund for the return of share bikes, similar to the system adopted by supermarkets for shopping trolley return. It seems this method is already being employed in Queensland.
The creation of share bicycles is an imaginative way of encouraging citizens to leave their cars at home, to ease traffic congestion, to do healthy exercise and enjoy some fresh air, and also to explore what the area has to offer. Why not offer a ‘lollipop’ to the mindless, immature, irresponsible low-lifes to keep our environment clean and not put the kybosh on this excellent venture?
Hey, Anonymous of Waverley – So, me drawing attention to the pitfalls of an article advocating the use of prohibited weapons for self-defence (Show No Mercy, Letters, The Beast, March 2018) makes me a brainless sleazebag defending ‘my right to molest strangers’? Seriously, that is one of the best strawman arguments I’ve heard in a long time.
It’s great to hear that you’ve developed the skills to defend yourself, but you only diminish the position of strong women with this kind of anonymous harpy logic. More power to women who can recognise a real threat and defend themselves with legitimate means when the time comes. I hope they never have to. See you at Krav training.
A Sincere Thankyou
Hi there – I just wanted to write and thank you for publishing my letter last month. I also wanted to remind you that you forgot to put a picture of a half naked woman in your photographic pages. Also, I was wondering why you have two editors, do you each have fifty per cent brain capacity?