Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Berrima Street - Wk 3 Polling the Neighbourhood.

Well, it's that time again folks (actually, that time was yesterday but I got distracted by the Commonwealth Games and couldn't look away!) and the results from this week are again surprising.

After looking again at the map to make sure I was headed in the right direction I realised that I was following an unusual pattern, completely by accident. I have chosen Friendship Street, which is in Bentley Park, followed by Miltonia Street, Which is in Edmonton and this week went to Berrima Street, which is in Mt Sheridan. Three streets, three different suburbs, all in the same Division. I suppose it just gives another example of how each Division in the Cairns Region covers plenty of space but also, a huge variety of wants and needs.

The Southern Corridor is the fastest growing one in the region and the population already out here has surpassed most other areas. This means that the demographics can't be pigeon-holed. Residents come from all manner of backgrounds, have young children, older children, no children, are single, married, elderly......making the old saying 'you can't please all the people all the time' even more appropriate here.

The residents of this street reiterated again that the cost of the Precinct is too high. All felt that more should be done on basic amenities, roads, footpaths etc...before it is entertained as a necessary project. The feeling here was that the city was not grubby, but stale, which again mirrors most other opinions. Having too many empty shops and restaurants which was another real concern. How can we expect to fill retail outlets and restaurant space at the Precinct if we have so many empty ones NOW?

Yesterday online, I went onto the chat with Val that The Cairns Post do every Monday in a varied form. Someone raised the point that the Precinct should have spaces for studios which artists and musicians could access. They could also have spaces available for hire if groups or individuals want to hold workshops. It seemed to me that this idea is a fantastic one and the small charge for using the spaces could generate close to the same amount of money that the Council are expecting from the leasing of the retail outlets, negating the need for them. I sincerely hope they actually look into it as a real alternative.

The sporting stadium was not wanted in this street. The residents mostly want Barlow Park upgraded, with better parking facilities, more toilets and a better run bar (apparently they run out of drinks fairly frequently.). They also hope that if the money is spent on Cazaly's instead, something is done about the poor parking there. They feel it should be mandatory for the venue to hire security for the carpark area during large sporting events to ensure that patrons do not use the Spotlight/Doctors carpark and there is less anger in the parking area. Perhaps buses could also be more adequately used as they are in larger cities when there is a big crowd expected.

Again, no one knew who the Councillor is for their area. What is surprising though, is that they all knew (and most from the other weeks do too) that Rob Pyne is the Councillor for the next Division. That kind of takes the theory that Councillors are not visible in general out of the picture doesn't it.

In this street, several of those questioned are Nurses. Some work on a casual basis, some full time. Many felt that the Council was letting them down by not providing better public transport options for shift workers. Starting at 6 am at the hospital means that there are no buses you could catch and if you are a casual worker, you often get called in only 1-2 hours before the start of a shift but because our buses out here only run every hour, they are not an option. Nursing is a fairly common occupation in the Southern Corridor and it concerns me that with the high reliance on tourism and hospitality we also have in Cairns, we are not helping to get the staff where they need to be, on time. They explained to me that these workers always travel alone, so if you would like to get those single person vehicles off the road, make public transport run every half hour and from 5 am.

Not one single resident had voted for any of the Sugarworld Options. These people live the furthest away from the facility and I think they just believe that all of the people living closer to it will be their voices. Interesting theory, but I am not sure how effective it will be. On October 13th, the Council will release an update on the slides so I guess we will find out then.

Well folks, another week, another street. This one with different issues but no less relevant. As for the $50 question? Half of this street would be using it for bills and the other half for entertainment.....my favourite answer of the week came from one couple who loudly proclaimed they would buy Lamb Cutlets!! Anyone with a family who has entertained the thought of purchasing lamb in the past two years would know that it is outside the reach of most, much like local fish, and would understand their adamant response.

Thankyou to the residents of Berrima Street, again a friendly crowd, this one with doors open and some outside with beers in hand talking about the footy results with neighbours. This street had the highest percentage of boats per resident that I have ever seen which says to me that they all love to spend time fulfilling recreational pursuits, probably why most don't need the city and it's restaurants for some fun. I kid you not, there was one boat for every two houses. Not big boats, but well maintained and gleaming.

Next week I will find out what the residents of Meranti Street have to say about the area they live in and the wider community. Until then, watch some Games coverage, buy some lamb and find a good day, today looks great, and go fishing!!

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