Here in glorious Port Macquarie, on the sub tropical east coast of Australia, the local council just spent nearly one million bucks ‘beautifying’ an intersection, the gateway to the town centre. There are more ways to kill a cat than… and one convict has proved the power of street theatre.
Two key pedestrian crossing points have been blocked by wire cages on the pedestrian ramps since the project was completed last October. The ramps, we were told, were dangerous for handicapped users.
After attempts and rebuffs from the council, my quixotic brother Robin decided a bit of street theatre might be the only way to get these abominations moved. He dressed as one of the convicts who were the original reason for this town and chased the media exposure.
Council doesn’t take pedestrians into account, just drivers, as though shoppers can drive right into the shops. Well we all know they’d prefer to, but drive thru shopping hasn’t really caught on yet.
So scared of being sued by handicapped people using the crossings, the cages have forced everyone else, from frail elderly to mothers with baby pushers, to hike across the gardens either side of the cages to cross the road.
Having launched his campaign, all week Robin waited for media response, normally so quick for a good colour story. Nothing! Despite constant prodding the convict was ignored totally. So we thought, until Friday afternoon when a council works team arrived and removed the offending cages.
Robin still feels robbed, robbed of his chance to bolt his convict in a cage and rage at the stupidity of it all. It seems the media’s attempts to get the council angle first stirred up a whole lot of background activity. That is easy to understand for a council waiting to be replaced by an administrator in the next few weeks because of corruption allegations.