Friday, May 16, 2008

Dig up the lawn now!

I was sitting in the small room the other evening, perusing my local press, when a letter to the editor caught my eye headed up 'Disneyland effect not worthy of Perth'.

Hello, hello, I thought, here's another one of the 'get up early, go to bed early' brigade having a whinge about the proposed ferris wheel. And sure enough, that's exactly what Tony G of Mount Hawthorn targeted in his ill informed tirade.

Now, the idea of a ferris wheel on the Swan doesn't exactly light my candles, but then I don't think this whole issue is about a ferris wheel - it could be a giant model of a dog t@#d and it would still make the same point... the Perth foreshore is as boring as bat faeces and hardly anyone ever uses all that "beautiful, wide open space" as Tony writes.

This ferris wheel is all about plonking something large and distracting into an area that is grossly underutilised to make people sit up and think, 'crikey, maybe we could make better use of that space?'

You see, us Perthites suffer from a rare and degenerative condition know as 'Lawnis-idioticus'... in common terms, a desperate need to install large tracts of lawn at the front of our homes that run from the front door to the road and are rarely used except for parking purposes.

Take a run through leafy Floreat or Wembley one day and you'll get the picture. These days the disease is on the wane, but only because greedy developers are cramming as many dwellings as possible on what were once single home blocks.

But while new homes aren't infected with Lawn Fever, the minds of our good citizens still are and they will do all they can to protect these patches of turf that may as well be painted concrete for all the good they're worth - at least concrete doesn't suck up rain and groundwater at a rate that makes your eyes spin.

So what's this got to do with Perth City? Aha, you see just as our suburbs were infected with this disease, so was the city itself. Langley Park and all those other parks that stretch from the front door mats of our city buildings, right down to Riverside Drive and beyond, to meet the uninspiring concrete retainer wall at the Swan River, are our city's front lawn.

Sure, a few office workers wander down there to eat lunch... there's a few games of softball hosted over the weekend, but tell me, when was the last time you made use of the city's front lawn? Did you stand there half cut on Australia Day, draped in the Aussie flag, tapping your toes to 'You're the Voice' while you watched barges catch fire on the river?

Our city waterfront is a joke. Sure, as Tony writes 'we have one of the world's best views from Kings Park', but Tony, it's only a view - how long can you stand there looking at the Perth city skyline before you think, 'oh well, back to the suburbs, there's the lawn to be watered...'

I want a city that I can use. One that connects me to the river in a meaningful way. I would enjoy that view a damn site better if I was right next to it, enjoying a good meal or a few drinks with friends, excited about being in the city... not embarrassed about the fact that the only place we can go riverside is at the old Swan Brewery, or The Lucky Shag.

If Perth City was a meal dished up to Gordon Ramsay, his retort would no doubt be, "F*&@'s sake, what is this shit".

Tony, you ask 'Why is there this notion that Perth is not as good as other cities?' Well, that'd be because it's not. Take a stroll around Northbridge at 1.00am, or a leisurely jaunt along Murray Street one day. Better still, try St Georges Tce after close of business hours - see what I mean? No, it doesn't look as good as it does from Kings Park does it? BUT IT COULD!!!

Melbourne has a river that you can almost jump over and they do things better than us. In Brisbane it was only a few years ago that outside dining was considered a crime against God and yet they do it better than us.

So Tony, don't worry about the freakin ferris wheel, just try and consider that if we've got that much open space sitting around doing nothing, then maybe it's time we got a bit creative and dug up the front lawn once and for all.


2BarRiff said...

Holy crap, a Cookster post!

I kinda like the Perth foreshore, only because it's a nice backdrop during my infrequent Bridges runs.

Warren 'Woz' Edwards said...

Perth blows goats.

Nuke the f*ckin busted arse joint and relocate all the Kiwi's from Bondi there.

The Worst of Perth said...

Well yes let's do something with it, but why does it have to be stupid? With the foreshore planning we are only ever offered the ridiculous or nothing. Never anything in between. The same for Rottnest. We are only ever given the choice of run down cockroach infested or 5 star mega development. How about something in the middle? You are right about Brisbane, but Perth politicians councillors etc have made endless trips to Brisbane to study the success they have made of their river, and what do they come up with when they get back? The total opposite.

Cookster said...

Apart from the Swan island, I don't mind the plans that are on the table. What I'd hate to see is some half-arsed project get up that can't be rectified in the future.

Wozza, I'll catch you in the Hakoa Club over a schnitzel and a few Emundi Lagers.

The Hack said...

Here in Melbourne, we have one ferris wheel south of the CBD, by the river, and another going up in Docklands, to open towards the ennd of the year.

Why, oh why does every Australian city need to have a two-bit imitation of the London Millennium Dome? Can't we come up with something original?

And, seriously, you Perth folk have got rocks in your heads if you want to sully that beautiful Swan River foreshore. It trumps Sydney Harbour precisely because it hasn't been over-developed.

Leave it alone!

Cookster said...

Hack, you hillbilly... fancy siding with the nuff nuff brigade. I sense a degree of shite stirring going on here.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree that Perth needs to get on with life - the place is just so boring! no wonder all the vibrant/creative youth get out of here and only return to breed!Without youth the place will never be more than a town with a few dated skycrapers and without development and fun it will remain a playground for the NIMBYS.

Lar Jorgan said...

This is great! How long have these files been going on? You should run for Lord Mayor, or Premier, or at least apply for a Jim's mowing franchise with those insights into cultivation of the grassy plains.

We definitely need to crank up the D-9's and start building something, anything ...

Anonymous said...

Heh, yes absolutely. Some of this is covered, with supporting photos, in "Why it's hard to have a good looking lawn in Perth"