This week I attended a community/police meeting in Woolloomoolloo to see what issues are worrying residents in the area. The constant issue of homeless people sleeping rough is still incredibly contentious with many residents asking the police to ensure that rough sleepers are moved on in the early mornings and that their swags are stashed away before people get up for work. There is a heavy police presence in the area which is focused on “managing” the homeless rough sleepers. An average of one person is arrested per week for drug related offences but many residents would like stronger police control.
One of the most exciting suggestions that came up during the meeting was a request from Rosmary Cutrone of the Woolloomoolloo Aerosol and Street Art Project for space at the back and side of Bourke St park for a safe painting space for local youth. Rosemary created and organised the wall art in the ex community garden on HNSW land in Forbes Street which highlighted the talent of local youth when given a project to work on.
There are many issues with local kids drinking and wandering the streets at night and any project that gives them some direction would be greatly welcomed by residents. I will be calling on Council to consider supporting Rosemary’s exciting initiative.
Upgrade work on Walla Mulla and Bourke St Parks should soon get underway and I expect this will cause major displacement of rough sleepers back into the City and the Domain. The recent homeless persons street count noted many people sleeping within the CBD.
However the upgrade will provide the opportunity for the establishment of projects like Rosemary’s and it is incumbent on Council to allow such positive projects a chance to develop.