Loitering in Arncliffe

A few months ago I was riding back to Dulwich Hill from, as it happens, Monterey. My ride took me onto the cycleway which springs into being somewhere near St George Soccer Stadium and emerges at the side of the Eve Street Wetlands before petering out at the intersection of Marsh Street and West Botany Street.

I rode through Riverine Park along the side of a golf driving range. This park, along with a surviving market garden which you can see from West Botany Street and quite a lot of other green space in this area presumably owes its survival to its situation on land otherwise earmarked for an M6 Expressway or “Southern Motorway Reservation.” Some of the park is apparently destined to be squatted on by the Sydney Desalination “Project.”

At the foot of Eve Street (near Marsh St in the map linked above), there was a gated entrance to the back end of the driving range (to the south) and a lightly wooded area, where well-established trees were interspersed with, for want of a better term, shrubbery.

Barton Park fig

If you look closely at the picture you will see a sign, which when I returned this weekend had been defaced with some graffiti.  Here it is:

no-loitering

No
Loitering
in this area
Police may issue fines
or make arrests for
breach of notice
pursuant to section 632
Local Government Act.
Max Penalty $550

The sign must postdate 1993, when the section was enacted. The maximum penalty is now 10 penalty units, which is $1100. A penalty unit has been $110 since 1999. I haven’t been able to date the sign more precisely by tracking the amendments to the section, save that it must be no later than 2002.

The full text of the section is as follows (emphasis added):

(1) A person who, in a public place within the area of a council, fails to comply with the terms of a notice erected by the council is guilty of an offence. Maximum penalty: 10 penalty units.
(2) The terms of any such notice may relate to any one or more of the following:
(a) the payment of a fee for entry to or the use of the place,
(b) the taking of a vehicle into the place,
(b1) the driving, parking or use of a vehicle in the place,
(c) the taking of any animal or thing into the place,
(d) the use of any animal or thing in the place,
(e) the doing of any thing in the place,
(f) the use of the place or any part of the place.
(2A) However, a notice:
(a) must not prohibit the drinking of alcohol in any public place that is a public road (or part of a public road) or car park, and
(b) must not prohibit or regulate the taking of a vehicle into, or the driving, parking or use of any vehicle in, any public place that is a road or road related area within the meaning of the Road Transport (General) Act 1999 .
A council may establish an alcohol-free zone under Part 4 of this Chapter for a public place that is a public road (or part of a public road) or car park (or part of a car park).
(3) The terms of a notice referred to in this section may:
(a) apply generally or be limited in their application by reference to specified exceptions or factors, or
(b) apply differently according to different factors of a specified kind,
or may do any combination of those things.

It’s easy to guess who this sign is intended to warn off. Given that loitering generally means hanging around doing nothing, you have to wonder how a power to prohibit “doing of any thing” could support a charge of loitering contrary to a notice. Such a joke that vehicles and drinking receive a protection denied to mere “loiterers.”

It seems that some loiterers will not be deterred.  You need to look closely to between the two posts and indeed you may need to take my word that there are signs of this:

Eve St - gaps in fence?

The Eve Street Wetlands show signs of having once been open:

eve street sign

They are now locked up.

Wetlands lockout - Eve St

 I don’t know why.  There is a sorry story here of neglect and also the depradations in the name of the construction of motorways which I did track down before but you will have to find for yourself if you are interested.

rotation-of-imgp3129

In the meantime, here’s another shot of that lovely tree:

eve-st-fig-tree

Worryingly, there is a development application afoot here for the golf club. It mentions removal of vegetation. I fear the worst.

development application - barton park

One Response to “Loitering in Arncliffe”

  1. Victor Says:

    Oh well, I’ll have to cross Arncliffe off my loitering list.

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