Sunday, July 25, 2010

Reasons to be grumpy

It took Maritime NSW the better part of a month to fix this rubbish trap on the harbour. I had to hassle them three times before they finally took action.

Here's a photo I took last year of the same trap, showing how much rubbish it collected. The trap is at least a metre deep, and they tend to fill right up between visits from the Maritime rubbish boat. Imagine how much junk flowed into the harbour during the month when it was inoperable....

Charming little sods

If you do a bit of searching, you'll quickly find academics who spend their time running around at the taxpayer's expense defending graffiti. For once, I'd like to hear one of them defend graffiti like this - a dozen tags of "cum" splashed across the top of a local business. That's so erudite, so witty, so artistic - not.

Just around the corner, we have a new boy in town. There must be a war going on in graffiti-land over turf. This bloke has been going around crossing out the tags of the long established vandals, and putting his own up instead. If the two groups involved happen to meet by accident on a dark night, things could get ugly.

Here's an example of engineering vandalism being undertaken by Leichhardt Council. I describe it as that because they're currently repeating the same mistakes they made with the last section of path that they laid through here - the path slopes the wrong way, and has no drainage, so that it turns into a canal when it rains.

I wrote to Council not long ago, and got a response saying that my letter had been passed to a particular gentleman within Council. I bet that by the time he gets around to responding, the path (or canal) will be complete and it will be too late to do anything about it. If you're going to build a path, at least build it properly. It makes my blood boil to see our money spent on such badly engineered works, when it would cost no more to do it sensibly.

I emailed the Mayor of Leichhardt about this several months ago, but I guess he decided to ignore that email - the results speak for themselves.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Not so eggcelent

I was having a drink with a friend last year and she told me a story about how she was running around the Bay and she had an egg thrown at her from a car.... I think. Or maybe the story was about a friend of hers that was egged. The details are lost in the mists of time.

I'd forgotten all about it until I was going around the Bay Run on Monday morning and spotted a number of broken eggs on the path. I went past three before I twigged to the possibility that some idiots had been driving along Henley Marine Drive and throwing eggs at pedestrians and cyclists. When I got to the next egg, I stopped and took a photo - the way it is streaked across the path suggests that it was hurled, rather than dropped.

I'm going to do a bit of asking around and see if anyone I know has ever been the victim of an attempted egging. I wouldn't want to get hit by an egg thrown from a car travelling at 40-50km/h.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

To the scrap yard

I went for a wander around the Concord/North Strathfield area this morning and found six abandoned cars - which is a record. One was only 2 months out of rego, but a few had been sitting around rotting since 2008.

Reporting abandoned cars is easy. I simply email Council with a photo of the car, along with a photo of the rego sticker and the street address. They take care of the rest.

When I photograph an abandoned car, I also photograph the nearest house number and the street signs at the nearest cross street - just so I remember where they are when I get home.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Post no bills

Ever wonder where all those posters come from? From a white van like this one. It was quite a professional setup - the back was full of flat wooden racks, with the posters laid out neatly on each shelf in the racks. The two blokes putting up the posters were wearing safety vests, and looked quite legitimate.

Except that just about every Council in the area doesn't allow this sort of thing.

I saw this pair here a few months ago. They got pretty angry when they saw me taking their photo. They were also parked in a no stopping zone - a bus came around the corner from the left and the driver honked at them to move their van, which was blocking buses from turning properly. I'm going to report their registration to Leichhardt Council and see if anything happens - YLZ 461.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Success - but what a pain

At last - someone from Maritime NSW has come along and fixed up this rubbish trap. It's been a month since I first noticed that it was broken and adrift, and reported it to them. I followed up again a week later. I concluded over the weekend that the message was not getting through, so I wrote the CEO a good old fashioned letter and posted it on Monday. I guess he got it on Tuesday or Wednesday and action happened shortly thereafter.

Not much rubbish was caught by this trap for a bit over a month. What a crying shame.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This is not a swimming pool

I hate the fact that you can't walk or ride around The Bay when it rains without having to trudge through an endless stream of deep puddles in the Leichhardt area. The existing path has been laid down with no thought as to how water is supposed to drain away. Instead of building up the path in the middle so that water drains towards the edges, Council has instead built a concave path, so water runs into the middle and stays there.

There is only one drain grate along the entire path, and it isn't at the lowest point so it doesn't do much good. The entire path is built at or below the level of the surrounding turf, so water running off the hill on the right runs straight onto the path and settles there. The drainage is so bad, puddles hang around for days after any rain.

I sent the above photo to the Mayor of Leichhardt 3 months ago with a plea that when the next section of path was built, that drainage be factored in - he never bothered to respond. If the Romans could build well drained roads 2000 years ago, I don't see why we can't build properly drained paths today. A road engineer would never dream of building a road without thinking about drainage - why then do we spend taxpayers money on building paths without thinking the same way? Conceptually, they are the same - a ribbon of concrete. Just because one carries bikes or people rather than cars, doesn't mean that drainage should be ignored.

As the Mayor is ignoring me, and work is about to start on the next section of path, I dashed off a letter to the General Manager today. Maybe he'll take note - I asked him to ensure that his staff or contractors build a path, rather than a canal or a swimming pool.

Monday, July 12, 2010

One more Council in the mix

Over the weekend, I had a look at how often the Mayor of Canada Bay, Angelo Tsirekas, was appearing in Council funded publications compared to the Mayors of other Councils in our area.

Incredibly, he appeared in 72 photos, whilst the Mayors of 4 other Councils had a total of only 43 photos between the lot of them.

I have just had a look at the publications of Ashfield Council, and can now add them to the mix.

Ashfield publishes three community newsletters. Photos of the Mayor hardly appear in any of them.

  • April 2009 - 0
  • March 2009 - 1

  • June 2010 - 0
  • March 2010 - 1
  • Sept 2009 - 0
  • June 2009 - 3
  • Mar 2009 - 0

  • 2008 - 1

That's a total of 6 photos in 8 publications - an average of 0.75 photos per edition. That now means that 5 Mayors have had a total of 49 photos in their Council funded publications, as opposed to Angelo Tsirekas having 72.

Here's how they rank (average photos of the Mayor per publication):

  • Ashfield - 0.75
  • Strathfield - 1
  • Leichhardt - 1.3
  • Canterbury - 1.5
  • Burwood - 1.9
  • Canada Bay - 5.5
You could say we are head and shoulders above the other Councils in our area - except that it is Angelo's head and shoulders that we are seeing so much of.



I just couldn't resist the urge to check out some more Councils.


I could only access one back copy, but the count of Mayoral photos was zero.

Hunter's Hill

  • June 2010 - 1
  • Dec 2009 - 0
  • Sep 2009 - 0
  • July 2008 - 0

Holroyd Council

  • Sep 2009 - 3
  • Apr 2009 - 1
  • Nov 2008 - 1
  • June 2008 - 2
Lane Cove

Jane 2010 - 0

Couldn't access any back issues.

So the updated league table looks like this:

  • Lane Cove - 0
  • Ryde - 0
  • Hunter's Hill - 0.25
  • Ashfield - 0.75
  • Strathfield - 1
  • Leichhardt - 1.3
  • Canterbury - 1.5
  • Holroyd - 1.75
  • Burwood - 1.9
  • Canada Bay - 5.5
However, after going through 9 Councils, I am still only up to 57 photos of their Mayor's, as opposed to 72 of our Angelo. How many Council web sites do I have to trawl through before the total of all Mayor's exceeds Angelo? 15? 20?

I give up.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

NSW Maritime - 3rd time lucky

Around 15 June, I used the "contact us" section of the NSW Maritime website to let them know that the rubbish trap on Iron Cove Creek was broken.

A week later, I rang their call centre to let them know again - just in case any computer gremlins ate my initial attempt at contact.

The trap still hasn't been fixed - it's now almost 4 weeks since I first tried to let them know. Therefore, I have just wasted 10 minutes of my Sunday morning writing a polite letter to the Chief Executive of NSW Maritime, Mr Steve Dunn, to ask him if my messages are getting through to those responsible for maintaining and repairing these assets. I don't care what their problems are - I just want the trap fixed!

As I was doing a bit of Googling on this topic, I found a website for Harbourkeepers, which is worth a look.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How much exposure is enough?

In October last year, I wrote to the local paper regarding the incredible number of photos of our Mayor - Angelo Tsirekas - that were appearing in the Council funded community newsletters - he's appeared 72 times since November 2008.

It didn't get published.

One of the Councillors had a go at the Mayor in the paper last week for the same thing - and apparently copped a bit of flak from him at the next meeting.

I've written a followup letter to the Inner West Courier - we'll see if I get published this time.

I don't mind seeing a few photos of the Mayor in Council funded publications - but a few does not mean 10 or more photos. Out of interest, I had a look at the newsletters of five councils this week - Canada Bay (where I live), Caterbury (which employs our Mayor), Burwood, Strathfield and Leichhardt (as they are all close by). Note that every newsletter includes two photos of the Mayor as a matter of course - one photo with all the other councillors, and one over the Mayoral column. I have not counted those photos.

Incredibly, the Mayors of those four other Councils appear in a total of 43 photos, whilst our Mayor clocks up 72 just on his own!

Canada Bay publishes two newsletters - one for residents and one for business.

  • Autumn 2009 - 11
  • Winter 2008 - 0
  • Autumn 2008 - 2
  • Summer 2008 - 8

  • June 2010 - 11
  • April 2010 - 2
  • Feb 2010 - 6
  • Dec 2009 - 8
  • Oct 2009 - 11
  • Aug 2009 - 2
  • Apr 2009 - 1
  • Feb 2009 - 5
  • Nov 2008 - 5
That's an average of 5.5 photos per publication and a total of 72 photos over 13 editions.

  • Winter 2010 - 3
  • Autumn 2010 - 2
  • Summer 2009 - 3
  • Spring 2009 - 0
  • Winter 2009 - 0
  • Autumn 2009 - 0
  • Accent on Seniors - July 2009 - 2
  • Accent on Safety July 2008 - 6
  • Accent on Environment 2008 - 1
9 publications, 17 photos, average of 1.9 per edition.

  • May June 2010 - 1
  • Mar/Apr 2010 - 2
  • Jan/Feb 2010 - 1
  • Nov/Dec 2009 - 2
  • Sept 2009 - 0
  • July 2009 - 0
  • May 2009 - 0
  • March 2009 - 0
  • Jan 2009 - 3
9 publications, 9 photos, average of 1 photos per edition.

  • Dec 2009 - 3
  • Oct 2009 - 4
  • Autumn budget 2009 - 0
  • Autumn 2009 - 1
  • Spring 2008 sustainability - 0
  • Spring 2008 - 0
6 publications, 8 photos, average of 1.3 photos per edition.

6 publications, 9 photos, average of 1.5 photos per edition.

If the Mayor wants to publish a newsletter at his own expense, he can put 100 photos in it for all I care. However, it's a different matter when ratepayers are funding it. Most other Mayors appear on average once or twice per newsletter - that sounds about right. The newsletters are about Council business - they are not the private property of the Mayor.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dealing with some councils is so bloody draining

Here's a drain in Balmain back at the end of May. I've been going through here now for over 4 years, and every time we get a bit of rain, a big puddle forms here because the drain is blocked.

I finally did my block and contacted Leichhardt Council and asked them to clean it out. I don't know if the council does the cleaning, or whether the drain belongs to Sydney Water or whoever - if it's not their job, they should at least pass the message on, or tell me that it's not their problem.

It looks like they can't be bothered doing either - here is the same drain again tonight. Except that the puddle is slightly smaller than usual.

Is it really that difficult to lift the grate and clean out the muck underneath?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cleaning up at UTS

As I walked past one of the UTS buildings in Chinatown a few weeks ago, I noticed a lot of graffiti on the wall facing the Entertainment Centre. It took me about 5 minutes of hunting through their website to find a contact for their building maintenance people, and I sent them an email as a bit of a stab in the dark. I was pretty doubtful anything was going to happen.

Going past again this morning, I spotted this bloke using chemicals and a high pressure hose to scrub the graffiti off. UTS never bothered to respond saying that they were going to clean it off - but this is as good a response as any.

If you ask someone to clean their property, generally they will.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Following up the following up

It's getting on three weeks since I first tried to tell Maritime NSW about a busted rubbish trap down our way. The longer they leave it broken, the more rubbish we'll see flowing into the harbour. Apparently today is World Environment Day, and Maritime NSW aren't doing much towards making the world a better place at the moment.

I might make another follow up phone call tomorrow. After that, it's time to start writing a proper letter to the CEO.