In response to an increase in police call outs and antisocial behaviour affecting the West End Traders, I held a meeting on 10 May, 2019 with key stakeholders (including the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, QPS, Murri Watch and Micah Projects) and local businesses.
It was agreed at the meeting that West End is a unique and culturally diverse community, which is to be treasured, respected and celebrated. In order to achieve this, there is an urgent need to address the quality of infrastructure in and along Boundary Street, and more broadly West End.
Upkeep and Maintenance of Peoples Park
Your Community Safety Team provided some information regarding the current list of works and maintenance carried out in West Community (Peoples) Park as:-
"Work carried out in 18/19 FY
• Council will install a spotlight on the roof of the toilet block shining toward the rear of the park and this work will be completed by 30 June 2019
Work to be conducted in 19/20 FY
• No work to be completed at this stage.
Regular maintenance work
• Toilets are cleaned twice daily
• Security check daily, toilets not locked due to rough sleeping in toilets personnel safety issues.
• Sustainable Gardening (Social Enterprise) maintain the park with mowing, cleansing, horticultural etc.
• 4 x 1.4 litre sharps container are empties twice a week.
• Urban Amenities and Asset Services do regular clean ups of the park and toilets to remove items and material left by rough sleepers."
While it would appear that there is regular cleaning occurring, it is my position that inadequate funding and upkeep in terms of the actual facilities has led to a situation where many in the community do not feel that it is safe or hygienic to use the toilet facilities at Peoples Park.
The business community and property owners feel that this is having a negative impact on business.
In addition, there is a question of appropriate use of the Kiosk area, which is currently leased to Community Plus. Community Plus has been a valuable and established community centre that provides a wide range of services in my electorate.
However, failure to provide additional funding through Brisbane City Council has limited how often they can activate West End Community Park and its Kiosk. This lack of activation of the space makes it more prone to antisocial behaviour and limits the capacity for connection and reengagement of persons at risk of harm or homelessness.
It is the understanding of this office that Anna Bligh conducted her own safety audit in August 2008, which was then followed up by some investigation by Brisbane City Council in 2009. It is unclear what if any outcomes arose from these inquires.
A number of traders have stated, and records appear to confirm, that some $260,000 was allocated around 2015/16 to spend on West End Community Park. While some cosmetic work has been done, it appears that in or around April 2016 the money was diverted to Bunyapa Park.
As a matter of urgency, I request that measures are put in place to improve the park for the use of all, with particular reference to and respect for the connection of First Nations peoples to the park. This will act in the short term to improve safety and use of the park. This includes, but not limited to:
1. Lighting be added to the park that does not drive people away, but rather softly lights the space, such as used on The Story Bridge and William Jolly Bridge.
2. Funds be directed to urgently clean up the toilet block to bring it up to modern standards.
3. That additional planting and vegetation are brought in to make the space more inviting.
4. At a minimum, the walls, pavements and exterior of the Kiosk be thoroughly cleaned.
5. An increase in footpath and street cleaning occur around Boundary Street.
6. Provide additional funding to Community Plus so that they can activate and work with people in the park.
I will continue to work with stakeholders to address ongoing concerns but trust you will act on my short term remedial requests.