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This is a big change from what was here before.  The dark blue is striking.

This is a big change from what was here before. The dark blue & white is striking.

In October 2012 Marrickville Council asked for artists to design, fabricate & install three-dimensional public art on the Girl Guide building & amenities block at McNeilly Park Marrickville as part of the Marrickville Public Art Strategy: People, Place & Art.  The budget of $40,000 came from a grant from the NSW Attorney General & Justice Department as part of Council’s Alternative Approaches to Graffiti Management Program.

I rode through Mc Neilly Park late yesterday & it appears that the artwork has been completed.  There are some new grasses planted around the buildings as well, which also lead me to believe that the work has finished.

The artist – sorry, I don’t know their name – also painted both sides of the wall on the basketball court as well as the Girl Guide building & amenities block.  I like it.  The artwork looks striking & dynamic.  Small round metal circles have been suck to the wall giving a 3D effect & I presume these will capture the sunlight as certain times of the day.

The work has certainly made the park look cleaner.  Let’s hope the taggers respect the artist’s work & leave it alone.

Here are some photos. I did not take a photo of the basketball court wall because there were a number of children playing there.

Side of the Girl Guides block

Side of the Girl Guides block. The dots are metal stick-ons.

Back of Girl Guides block with more grasses planted.

Side & back of the Girl Guides block.  Note the new grasses planted.

Side & back of the toilet block

Side & back of the toilet block

Front & other side of the toilet block

Front & other side of the toilet block.





This was the Land Use, Assets  & Corporate Committee Meeting.  Absent: Clrs Peters, Phillips, Byrne & Thanos. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

South Marrickville LATM – Council will spend $40,000 on traffic management treatments for the Marrickville South area.  2 residents spoke: need for more consultation needed with Ferncourt School regarding the safety of children & parents walking to school, the proposed pedestrian refuge on the corner of Richards Avenue eliminates disabled access to a home as well as 20 metres of parking space & AUSGRID will be travelling down Richards Avenue sometime in the next 2 years, so any work done by Council will be undone.

Clr Olive: Wanted priority to be given to works on the Illawarra Road side of Marrickville South rather than the Carrington Road side & children travelling to school should be the major beneficiaries.  Clr Hanna: Said residents had contacted him about the loss of parking spaces. We need safety for the children, but not loss of parking.

Clr Olive: Who will pay for the traffic signals at Schwebel Street?  Staff: Traffic signals cost $100,000. Option 1: ask the RTA to fund. Option 2: bring back to Council.  Clr Olive: Concerned with removing traffic lights & pedestrian crossing outside Marrickville Station. Setting up a situation for jaywalking.  We are trading 2 sets of traffic lights & a pedestrian crossing for 1 set of traffic lights.  He put up 3 motions that I was unable to record.

Clr O’Sullivan:  My motion will deal with Clr Olive’s motions.  Consultation with the school will give us a guide.  Vote on Clr Olive’s motions – For: Clrs Olive & Kontellis. Against: Clrs Macri, Hanna, O’Sulivan, Wright, Tsardoulias & Iskandar.  Lost.

Clr O’Sullivan:  Motion for further consultation with parents & teachers at Ferncourt School, retain pedestrian crossing on illawarra Road at Schwebel Street & priority given to treatments on Illawarra Road side of the LATM.    Clr Olive: There hasn’t been a lot of consultation. Unfortunately if we help the school, we will impact the local residents. Vote – Unanimous.

Future development of Council’s graffiti management program – Recommending that Council concentrate of graffiti removal in ‘hot spots,’ & (point 4) establish a 3 day/week position to work on alternative approaches to graffiti at $60,000 as part of a overall budget of $145,000.

Lovely low street landscaping in Taren Point

Clr O’Sullivan:  Motion to remove the $60,000 position.  Staff: We don’t have data that shows if we spend money on the program the hot spots are effectively removed.  Rapid removal plus hot spot treatments appear validly to remove graffiti.  Clr Kontellis: Won’t support Clr O’Sullivan’s motion. Spending money doesn’t seem to succeed without alternative measures. I won’t support spending money on data that is unproven. I don’t understand why you want point 4 removed.

Clr Hanna: I don’t call it art. I’m happy our government put in more punishments & I’m happy for us to put more money into cleaning.  I agree with Clr Kontellis.  Staff:  Mahoney Reserve & May Lane have used staff time instead of other issues. We don’t have the capacity to do this on another scale. Evidence shows the more you spend, the more the graffitists move. Street art works well when there is a curated program or when community is involved. We are trying to enhance the programs we have been doing for some time.

Clr Wright: Prefer to put money into hot spot treatment.  Moved an amendment that the $60,000 for the 3 day/week person to go into the graffiti budget.  GM: We have had 212 requests to deal with graffiti which is a 30% increase in dealing with graffiti so have been able to be affective with graffiti removal. There is a need to address preventative aspects.  We need a proactive program to engage the community.

Clr O’Sullivan:  My preference is to leave the 3 points as they are. Clr Olive:  Foreshadowed motion to defer until the budget.  Clr Hanna: $60,000 for 3 days, that’s $1,200 for 3 days. What qualification do you need?  GM: Cost includes on costs & administration, not all is wage. It’s seen as a coordinator’s position. We need that level of skills. Vote on Clr Wright’s amendment: Against: Clrs Olive & Kontellis. For Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Wright, O’Sullivan, Hanna & Macri.  Carried.

Sydenham Station Master’s cottage, 117 Railway Road Sydenham – Council recommended that the JRPP require RailCorp to provide a heritage assessment for the site. If the JRPP refuse or defer, Council will request RailCorp under GIPA to provide the assessment. If GIPA request is refused, Council will engage a consultant to do a heritage assessment. If local significance is recommended, the property will be included in Schedule 5 of draft MLEP2010. Carried unanimously.  Meeting ended.

Services Committee Meeting

Aboriginal naming – The Marrickville Aboriginal Consultative Committee has recommended names for Council’s 4 wards. They are: Central Ward: Wirraga (goanna). South Ward: Magura (fish).  North Ward: Wali (possum).  West Ward: Burraga (Long-nosed Bandicoot).

Clr O’Sullivan: The names are an optional alternative & easy to pronounce.  Clr Olive: Will we transition to the Aboriginal name? Staff: Names will be used interchangeably. Eventually the Wards will become the Aboriginal name. Clr O’Sullivan: The MACC wanted the names to be used interchangeably. They are aware that there are many languages used in the LGA. The committee would see this as recognition, but they don’t want it to become a political football.

Clr Hanna: I’m happy to see this. A resident spoke to me today & said please tell your Councillors, don’t change the names without consulting with the community.  Clr Kontellis: It’s important that we reintroduce the Cadigal language.  Moved an amendment to look at commissioning a local artist to create some visuals around.  Carried unanimously.

The terms & references of the newly formed Environment Committee was also on the agenda & passed unanimously.  I will post about what the committee is doing on another day.  Here ends the Report for this week.

Lorikeet on a Grevillea

Street art in May Lane St Peters

This was the Services Committee Meeting. Absent – Clrs Thanos & Wright. The following is how I understood the meeting & any mistakes are mine.

Street art & graffiti in May Lane & surrounding areas St Peters – Background: After 3 community consultations, Council has a 16-point plan to address street art & graffiti in May Lane & surrounding areas. They include cleaning up May Lane West, renaming this section, increasing the number of rubbish bins, increasing lighting & garbage removal, converting May Lane into a shared zone & setting up regular community forums.

A resident spoke for the street art saying she has seen positive aspects & was happy with Council’s process. She said May Lane was already a shared space, but cars regularly drive the wrong way, especially the weekly garbage truck.  She said this was dangerous due to the many pedestrians. She said she had made a documentary on May Lane that is travelling Australia.  The next speaker was from Graphic Art Mount who said the project began in 2005 with young people approaching them to ask if they could paint their walls. They now get applications to paint from overseas.   She said May Lane showcases street artists & provides a platform for current street art practice. She said Bathurst Regional Gallery is taking street art on a 2-year national tour. She said she was concerned that Council wanted to clean up May Lane East as the business was having art tours to look at the walls & that a lot of the street artists were becoming well known. She also said the business had invested $35,000 per year into the project.

The next speaker spoke for the street art & said he was a senior lecturer on Urban Geography at Sydney University who researches graffiti management policy around the world. He commended Council on their process saying that graffiti management is usually based on prejudice, rather than evidence & that Marrickville Council was a role model for other councils.  He said street art contributes to the community & generates international tourism. He said there would be a “massive amount of goodwill” from the street artists if they were included in any consultation & that senior street artists teach ethics to new younger artists. He said cleaning the walls could send a mixed message that street artists are not welcome.

2 residents spoke against the street art. The first said she supported street art & had seen it get kids off the streets & that the behaviour of the street artists & not the art was the issue for her. She said she gets a lot of aggression directed toward her & that she had recently seen a woman with kids in the car have the 4 doors kicked in by pedestrians in May Lane. She said the lane was an “accident waiting to happen” with photographers blocking the lane, pedestrians & traffic. She said May Lane is now a street art lane & Council won’t be able to recover it.  She said Council should look after May Lane instead of the art shop paying $35,000 a year & that Council should provide more areas for street art. She said Council hadn’t thought May Lane through, had allowed it to go on for 6 years & sponsors websites that show tags. She said the shop 567 King Street that sells spray paint & ‘tag ‘n run’ texta’s should come under control.

May Lane St Peters

The next resident said she was also a senior lecturer at Sydney University. She said Council hadn’t addressed the demarcation between residents & artists & reminded that the work was done on the back of residential properties.  She said a lot of people (20-50 at a time) using spray cans causes a fine drift of paint and fumes & residents were complaining of asthma & headaches. The dumping of rubbish, alcohol use & aggression towards residents were also an issue. She said most people think it is legal to graffiti walls & the street artists were encroaching on the residents clean air & the kind of place they live.  She said she has a Phd in Public Health & just because we can’t find evidence that breathing spray paint causes harm, doesn’t mean it doesn’t. She said she would like to see May Lane West cleaned & renamed Harriet Lane so that the painting becomes concentrated in May Lane East. She also said Councillors encouraging street art can encourage ‘vandalism tourism.’

May Lane St Peters

Clr O’Sullivan said that local police say boys from North Shore private schools are coming to St Peters to engage in illegal activity that they wouldn’t do in their own area. Council is trying to reconcile gallery & street artists & the distress of residents by the success of this gallery.  She said residents feel unsafe at time after dark with people doing something at their back gate. She said this is not the gallery’s project & that Marrickville Council set it up & manages it. She put up a motion that Council audit the websites they sponsor to ensure they don’t recommend tagging, that during the clean up the walls on May Lane West are not erased & that the cleanup include Appleby Street.

Clr Peters asked whether some artistic lighting could be used instead of ordinary lighting. Staff said community safety was the issue, but they would look at lighting options as part of the environmental assessment.   Clr Hanna said he was happy Council was looking into this problem & wanted the cleanup to be done as soon as possible, not wait until next year.

Clr Phillips put up an amendment regarding renaming May Lane West, Harriet Lane to look at using an Aboriginal name instead & wanted consultation with the Aboriginal community about choosing a name.  Staff said Harriet was the name of one of the daughters of the owner of the brick pits & that the names of other daughters have been used. He said consultation with the Aboriginal community has shown a spilt as to whether Cadigal names can be used.   Clr Phillips said he thought the Aboriginal Consultative Committee should decide whether they have a suitable name.

Clr Olive supported using an Aboriginal name, but said it had been 2 years & no names had been put forward yet & Council needed to get this process through.  He said a key part of the strategy was changing the name of May Lane West immediately.  Clr Byrne supported motion & said Council needs a long-term strategy with forums & a working party with residents involved.  Clr Hanna said he was against the amendment because it would delay the process, not because it would be an Aboriginal name.

Clr Peters said that the Aboriginal Consultative Committee meets this December & should be given the opportunity.  Clr O’Sullivan said she opposed the amendment even though she was a member of the Aboriginal Consultative Committee saying it was unfair to give them an urgent matter at their AGM. Clr Kontellis supported the motion saying the Aboriginal Consultative Committee can come up with a name & if they don’t, Council can revert back to Harriet.  Amendment to rename – Carried. (I only managed to get the following names) For: Clrs Kontellis, Phillips, Byrne & Peters. Against: Clrs Olive, O’Sullivan & Hanna. Clr Kontellis using her casting vote. I don’t know which way Clrs Iskandar & Tsardoulias voted.  Clr O’Sullivan’s motion was carried unanimously.

Here ends the Report for this week.

A selection of street art in May Lane St Peters



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