Press on the untreated sewerage in Beare Park, Elizabeth Bay

November 27, 2008

Some press on the untreated sewerage – page 4 in the latest City News, and page 3 in the Wentworth Courier.

I also received a copy of a letter from the Lord Mayor to Sydney Water calling on Sydney Water to fix the problem up.

Sewerage in the harbour at Elizabeth Bay – Council and Sydney Water debacle

November 26, 2008

There was much excitement in Elizabeth Bay for the wrong reasons last week when people found themselves swimming in the harbour amidst untreated sewerage. The Wentworth Courier has a story on it here.

The problem is that untreated sewerage is stored with stormwater somewhere near the park and it overflows when there’s a lot of stormwater. The mixture is allowed to escape into the harbour rather than back up into people’s homes. A friend told me that Sydney Water has an ongoing program to fix this up all around the harbour.

People have known about this situation in Elizabeth Bay for a while – the problem is that the City of Sydney recently installed two sets of stairs in the renovated Beare and Rotary Parks down to the harbour water without (i) the problem being fixed up, and (ii) letting people know about the problem.

A Council staff member told me that they had contacted Sydney Water a number of times telling them that the park renovation was a perfect time to fix up the problem and that Sydney Water said that it had been “investigating” it.

So it didn’t fix the problem. Council also didn’t let people know of the potential overflow problem. After the overlow last Friday I put up a paper A3 sign warning people of the potential for untreated sewerage in the water. According to the Wentworth Courier story, Sydney Water thinks that it’s Council’s responsibility to let people know, while Council thinks it’s Sydney Water’s. Given that Council installed the stairs, one might think that Council should inform people that there could be an overflow situation.

At the Council meeting last Monday, the Lord Mayor attacked Sydney Water without addressing Council’s role, but I have heard that Council may put up some notice about the potential untreated sewerage.

There are two major points there – firstly, the untreated sewerage problem should be dealt with, and secondly, as Council installed the stairs facilitating people swimming in the harbour, it has a responsibility to inform people of the potential problem and not buckpass to Sydney Water.

City of Sydney must act on alcohol problems

November 3, 2008

I sent the following e-mail to all City of Sydney Councillors yesterday. The State Govt is finally doing something about trying to reduce the alcohol-related problems in NSW although its net impact could be limited in the inner-east.


Dear Councillors,
Council will be considering two DAs of particular concern Monday 3 November:
  • the DA to extend the trading hours of Hugos Pizza in Kings Cross, and
  • the DA relating to a bar in Llankelly Place, Kings Cross which would be the first licensed premises under the new small bars regime.
Local residents urge you to reject both of these DAs for the reasons discussed by residents and Councillors at the Committee meeting a fortnight ago.  We favour a minimal aount of regulation – in these cases regulation is needed and the DAs should be rejected as:
  • the recommended extended trading hours for Hugos Pizza will increase the overall supply of alcohol in the early morning in Kings Cross and is likely to increase the numbers of people in the vicinity of Bayswater Rd after 4am, exacerbating the current problems in the vicinity of Bayswater Rd and nearby areas;
  • It is likely a small bar in Llankelly Place will have high noise impacts on the amentiy of nearby local residents, especially as smoking patrons are most likely to use Llankelly Place to smoke.
These cases demonstrate the necessity for Council to better consider the cumulative impact of numerous licensed premises when considering DAs. This is a matter of taking due and proper consideration of the wider impacts on personal safety and amenity of having numerous licensed premises in one particular area. We call on Council to develop and release its policy on cumulative impact and density of licensed premises.
Just in the last two days there have been fights and stabbings in Oxford St and Kings Cross – while it isn’t clear whether they were alcohol-related, they are further examples of the violence in the inner east that the availability of alcohol is directly related to. The NSW Police have consistently stated that the availability of alcohol is a very great factor in the amount of violence.
It is time for the whole community to take action to deal with the personal and social problems caused by the availability of alcohol. The State Government looks as if it may tinker with the existing system, but the discussed changes don’t look likely to stop the alcohol-related problems in the City east.
Council must act if the State Government does not.
Dr Sacha Blumen
2011 Residents’ Association Inc