RESIDENTS living near the Coles’ construction site in Hilton say tradies and trucks are making their life a misery, while the builder is openly hostile to their complaints and Fremantle council ineffective in pulling them into line.
Anne lives a few doors up from the new supermarket, which is expected to open around May, and says tradies have blocked her driveway with their cars, buses aren’t able to get through, the footpath has been closed a year longer than originally promised, and sometimes road closures are imposed with no notice to residents.
“At 5.15 in the morning, I have two 4-wheel-drives that arrive out the front of my place; it blocks my driveway and I am woken up in the morning,” Anne told the Herald.
One day they’d parked completely across her driveway so she couldn’t open her gate to get to an appointment.
“I went ot the building site and no one knew what to do.
“Eventually when I had gone back inside someone came out and moved the car, but by that time I had missed my appointment.”
Anne says that adding to the poor behaviour, at lunchtime the tradies sometimes come to sit in their cars so they can sit in some air conditioned comfort. Unfortunately that means she gets half an hour of noise and fumes.
“The bus can’t get up the street because they are parking to the top both ways.
“One day I watched as there was a bus tooting at this truck because he was parked right in the bus stop, and we have a lot of people living here with disabilities and the bus has to lower to the curb so they can get on.
“The truck refused to move.” Anne said she called the council to complain, but the first ranger who arrived said they were powerless because there was no signage, so they wrote out a couple of warnings.
“I saw the two guys come out, and one of them moved their vehicle, but the other read the warning and just went back inside again,” Anne said.
A second ranger came another day, armed with a bit more belief in the council’s powers, but Anne says any improvements last just a day before the inconsiderate behaviour continues.
She says Paget Street’s footpath has been closed more than a year longer than residents were promised, while sometimes road closures were imposed for up to half a day without any residents being forewarned.
Former councillor Dave Hume also lives close by and said when he complained that half the footpath was being taken over, the answer appeared to be to take the lot.
He’s also unhappy about the 5.15am starts and says that’s against the law, while cement trucks are particularly ignoring an approval condition that they wouldn’t drive through the suburb’s residential streets. He says they’re even queuing up near the Hilton Primary School on Rennie Crescent, though that phase of the development appears to be winding up.
Mr Hume says a pedestrian crossing created near the corner with South Street is almost impossible for people with wheelchairs to navigate, as they’d have to swivel completely around to view traffic.
“They could have come down 10 feet and we wouldn’t even have this problem,” he said.
Current councillor Ben Lawver hasn’t been a fan of the development since it was first proposed, saying residents have continued to be locked out of any discussions with the developers.
“I competely feel and understand the frustration of people who live on Paget Street and surrounding area and have been trying to do what I can to ensure the builder is complying with those conditionsl, like the trucks and the parking,” Cr Lawver said.
“When you ignore the community like you did with 2000 people who signed a petition and just wanted to start a conversation, then I guess you could say that responding to the community wasn’t that great to begin with.”
Cr Lawver said a tree protection order appeared to have been ignored, with a large fig tree near the Paget/South Street intersection so heavily pruned and its roots “smashed” that its survival was now up in the air.
“The first approval to close the sidewalk was for January last year, but they have continually asked for extensions; some reasons more valid than others, but there has been long stretches of time.
“Just speaks of the disregard for the community.”
by STEVE GRANT