VANDALISM at historic Arthur Head is out of control, with picnic tables being thrown from the clifftop, people defecating in yards and drug-users leaving used needles strewn about the tourism icon.
Council candidate Roel Loopers points the finger squarely at the council’s decision to evict residents from the site’s cottages for the precinct becoming “a haven for homeless people, drunks and drug users”.
The photographer and Round House guide says people who used to live there — he had been one of them — had acted as unofficial security guards, but now the place is devoid of life at night because arts organisations now leasing the properties are closed outside business hours.
“They were warned before that they would make the area into a ghost town but refused to listen,” Mr Loopers told the Herald.
Fremantle Heritage Guides office manager Steve Gibbons says vandals last weekend threw a picnic table off the cliff next to the Round House.
“They threw it over the cliff,” he told the Herald. “The last time I saw it, it was hanging somewhere off the rail here. To get the bloody thing there I am surprised they didn’t break their necks.
“This graffiti is also a new addition, he says, pointing to a large scrawl on a brick outbuilding attached to the cottage the guides are based in.
“They use the backyards to go to the toilet. All the hoses are getting smaller—they use them for bongs: they cut them and use them to smoke marijuana.”
A local artist, who didn’t want to be named, says she is finding used syringes next to her studio, as well as sleeping bags and other personal belongings.
She says rangers clean up but only when called.
The artist criticised the council’s decision to approve a large tavern at the nearby J-Shed, saying it will put the historic Round House at risk from drunks.
“We have been trying to get surveillance cameras for ages,” Mr Gibbons says. “Police and rangers hardly patrol here anymore even if they are supposed to.”
No-one from the council would put their name to a response, but flak-catcher Chantelle Blight sent an email which says additional lighting and security patrols have been introduced.
by MARTA PASCUAL JUANOLA and STEVE GRANT