Friday, September 17, 2010

Digging up the grass

This is the second of my Wangle posts - click here for the original yarn.

Okay, I opened a can of worms by reintroducing the daylight saving debate, so why not go the double by suggesting we dig up Perth’s front lawn?

I might just point out before you start with the ‘if you don’t like it, leave’ mantra, that I was born in Perth, my parents were born here and so were their parents. We’ve all had close connections with the Swan River throughout our lives and I’d be the first one to say it makes Melbourne’s Yarra seem like a roadside drainage ditch in comparison.

But like many West Australians, I think the city would be a far more appealing place to visit when we have a greater range of amenities along the waterfront. At present we have a Bell Tower, The Lucky Shag and a bloody great big, underutilised front lawn.

Now, the idea of a ferris wheel on the Swan never really floated my ferry, but then it wasn’t really about a ferris wheel was it? It could have been a giant model of a dog poo and still made the same point… the Perth foreshore is boring and is crying out for more than just beer and bells. Hardly anyone ever uses all that ‘beautiful, wide open space’ as I once heard it described.

No, the ferris wheel was all about plonking something large and distracting into an area that is grossly underutilised in order to make people sit up and think, ‘okay, if we’ve got room to install an oversized fairground attraction, maybe we could so something even better in that space?’

You see, us Perthites suffer from a rare and degenerative condition known as ‘Lawnus-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.

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 developers are cramming as many dwellings as possible on what were once single home blocks.

So what’s this got to do with Perth City?

Well, just as our suburbs were infected with this disease, so was the city itself. All that parkland stretching from the front door mat of our city, right down to Riverside Drive and beyond, to meet the uninspiring limestone retaining wall on the river’s edge, are our city’s very own front lawn.

Sure, a few office workers wander down there to eat lunch and 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 on Australia Day, draped in the Aussie flag, tapping your toes to “You’re the Voice” while you watched the fireworks?

Our city waterfront needs a makeover and I very much hope that plans currently on the table will do our city and the Swan River the justice they deserve after many years of neglect. Sure, we have one of the world’s best views from Kings Park, but 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…’

There are plenty of good things happening in the City of Perth and Lisa Scaffidi is a powerful force of change who should be applauded for her work.

But now that the ferris wheel is rolling-on to some other destination in need of a landmark, let’s give up our grass habit, get a bit creative and dig up the front lawn once and for all.


muebles rioja said...

Thanks so much for this article, quite effective piece of writing.

Retaining Walls Perth said...

How To we can purchase land spaces in Perth, WA