Monday, September 27, 2010

Miltonia Street - Polling the neighbourhood (week 2.)

Those of you who are reading these blogs with interest may notice that the street I polled was not the one my coin chose last week. Unfortunately when I travelled to the back of Edmonton earlier last week I forgot the all important paperwork and couldn't remember the name of the street. I knew it started with an M and the general area, so went with the closest one fitting that vague description. I had to travel back once again to get some more residents at home but by then I decided to just run with it. In a fortnight, I will be back in the street I originally proposed, so they aren't escaping me!

The results from this weeks visits were surprising again, but mostly for being so very different to the one I did last week. I assumed that some of the responses would be fairly similar but that was not the case at all.

The first thing that struck me when walking down Miltonia Street is the fact that all of the front doors are closed and the blinds are drawn. From the front, it looks as though there is nobody home, and it was the same for every house. The sense of community was not really apparent from appearances and that honestly threw me a little. I felt that I might struggle to get some answers and perhaps would be turned away from some homes.

I could not have been more wrong. The residents are friendly, welcoming and all who answered the door, which was all but one, also answered every question I had. This time I again got more than I bargained for as far as the responses were concerned and most were willing to chat about things outside of what I was asking.

Firstly, I have no idea about internet connection in this street but they all knew what a blog was and they all thought that my 'walk the street' initiative was a good one which leads me to believe that they probably do have home computers.

The Cultural Precinct got a big thumbs down if it was to stay the same as the 'pyramid' plan. In another guise, most like the idea so long as it doesn't mean that roads and basic amenities don't suffer. All of the residents thought it was too expensive and thought that there were more important things to worry about before the arts community. Two were in favour of it, although one, who was wheelchair bound, wants assurances that it will be fully accessible to her.

I was actually unaware until that point that the Civic Theatre is not accessible, to be honest it had never occurred to me. She was told that the plans they had to upgrade the facilities for wheelchair access have been put on hold indefinitely due to the Cultural Precinct plan. This won't be ready for a few years yet, so she won't be seeing anything for a while. If that is true, and it quite possibly is, then that's a really poor effort for Cairns.

Some have not been to the Civic Theatre since high school and two said they would prefer a sporting field as they liked sport, or had children who were sporty. None agreed that it should seat 20,000 as all those questioned believed that our population would not support a venue of that size.

One resident wants Sugarworld demolished and another twice it's size (at least) built nearby but all other residents want Option 2. The concern from the person who doesn't want it in it's current location was that it is far too small, too many kids in the small pools and it's unhygienic due to the overcrowding. I am sure that the regulations for controlling the water quality are fairly stringent but I have been there on the odd occasion it's been pretty packed so I understand the concerns.

As far as the city of Cairns and it's nightlife was concerned, the residents hardly ever, if at all, visit the city and those who do, go to the Nightmarkets and the Esplanade. One travels in for the Casino occasionally but does not go beyond there.
All think that the city is stale and colourless and also agree with one another that the city is dying and not very exciting any more. I believe that the removal of good quality live music venues and colourful characters have been a large part of the reason for that but that's just my opinion.

If I gave them $50 each they would spend it on groceries, petrol or the movies although one had a great idea that I am taking on board, she said that she would shout herself a massage. I like that one. Money seems to be rarer here and it seems that these people would rather use the cash to ease some of the pressure rather than splurge.

Two residents knew who their local Councillor is, that's much better than last week at least. One because she was unhappy with her and the other took a guess, and was very surprised that she guessed correctly. Essentially, no change there really.

Now Friendship Street, who I polled last week, all had issues with law and order and I was truly expecting more of the same here. WRONG AGAIN! These residents all have a problem with Housing Commission. Not the idea so much, most of them are living in public housing, but the saturation of it. A few stated that up until a year ago there was public housing spread out among the suburb and in the past 12 months it has intensified and is now much too widespread for one suburban area. The concern was that a high density, low socio-economic population would lead to another 'Manoora' situation and the schools, the house prices, the residents and those trying to escape the cycle will suffer. The only 'answer' I received was that perhaps EVERY street in Cairns should have ONE social housing home in it. Every suburb, every street, one home.

I don't really know what the real situation is at the back of Edmonton, I will try to find out though. What I do know is that I was raised in Miles Street. Smack bang in the middle of Manoora. It was not a nice place to grow up in. Not because of the high crime, not because of the backgrounds of people living there, not because of the lack of social conscience, but because of the desperation and despair of so many of those living around me. It is very hard to outgrow and overcome and I would be quite sad to see the same thing occur again in my home town. Manoora is overcoming it's past and could almost make claims to having moved on from the horrid old days but I bet if you ask anyone who grew up there when I did what it was like, the answers would not be pretty.

Well, that's it for another week. Thanks to the residents of Miltonia Street for your time, your patience and your wonderful friendly attitudes. It was a pleasure to chat with you all.

Next week I am aiming for the middle of the South Side in Berrima Street. I like the name of this street because I love berries (don't knock my reasoning) and it's a short one which means that I will fit it into my school holiday schedule. I only just made it this week!

Until then, keep reading the new posts and get out there and active in your own communities, you might be surprised at how much fun it really is!

1 comment:

  1. What I have neglected in my story, this week and last, was the ages of those who answered the door....the demographics of the streets. I can let you know that they were both much the same, mostly young families or older couples who's children had grown but not quite moved on.

    I will put that information in my future blogs for additional information, you never know, at some point it may be important!