Friday, April 22, 2005

Clown Hall

I don't like using that expression. It denigrates the councillors who volunteer their time for small reward and the many hard working and conscientious council staff.


Twice a day, most days, I travel past the Lincoln Square gardens in Swanston St, Melbourne. The square was looking a little shabby and did need a renovation and the city council went into action last year. It was progressing well, and then someone decided where the fountain in the centre was located, that it would make a lovely place for a memorial to the Bali bomb victims.

It is a nice idea, I think, and slowly it took shape, although the very centre piece remained hidden to the public. Some trees were removed, others planted, areas paved, walls built and I like what I was seeing. I liked what I was seeing, but still the centre remained hidden behind a fence.

It was reaching completion before last christmas I think, or it could have been early this year, and I clearly recall thinking how nice the red flax with yuccas looked. I have resisted buying an overpriced yucca, just because they is fashionable. But in this situation, I think they worked. A further thought occurred to me. How long will they last there? They are so easy to remove, they will be stolen very quickly.

Then, around the same time, I thought, hey, what great skateboard surfaces they have made. They better get those protection strips on very quickly.

Move ahead to school holidays and sure enough, skateboarders everywhere having a fine old time.

Now I am not very bright, but if I can predict what will happen, what can't professionals?

Move to two weeks ago, the yuccas are gone and the walls are very badly chipped from skateboards.

Humble me will suggest that protection strips should have been fitted straight away and when using expensive plants in public areas, wire them down or something similar.

Move to the Herald Sun today and the council has suddenly discovered the damage and the missing plants. Like 40,000 dollars worth. Lord Mayor Councillor John So said it is heartbreaking.

Who are you kidding So? It was a perfectly predictable outcome and someone is responsible and someone should pay. The buck stops with you So.

What they can do to repair it, I am not sure. But I hope they can as it would be such a shame to have a memorial permanently spoilt.


  1. Agree.

    Those skateboarders are there all the time. They don't mean any damage, I'm sure. They are just entertaining themselves.

    Why is it so hard for the council to build them a skate park? I seem to recall there was one where QV now stands.

  2. They have a very good skate park in Alexandra Gardens. But I don't blame the kids. Put a surface like that somewhere and kids will want to skate on it.

  3. It is amazing thart they did not install anti-skate devices in that reserve... They're everywhere, and considering the location and the council, it's a a bit strange.

    PLant stealing is a hard one. The Phormium are a good plant for that position, (as they are hardy in that relatively harsh environment and stay attractive all year round but being fashionable has worked aginst them in this case. Any plant could be stolen in that situation, and it's very hard to wire down a plant that small. Inevitably, if someone tried to uproot it, any retention devive would cause the rootball to disintegrate, probably doing the plant significant damage.