By ALEX NELSON
Does anyone know the meaning of “common sense”?
The reason for this query is due to a rather odd situation that has developed – still ongoing – in a parking bay adjacent to the L’il Antz childcare centre at the corner of Undoolya Road and Sturt Terrace; and which is also just down the laneway from where I live.
It transpires that late on Thursday, May 3, a police patrol pulled over an unroadworthy vehicle driving south along Sturt Terrace. There’s no dispute on this point, as the offending vehicle is in an appalling state and clearly unfit to be driven on the streets.
Unfortunately it was pulled up in the parking bay next to L’il Antz, where many parents drop off and collect their children each working day.
Initially that might not have been too much of a problem if, say, the offending car was parked there for a day while arrangements were made to tow it away. I first noticed it on Friday, May 4; and by the end of that day I knew it was going to be there until at least the following Tuesday as the intervening weekend was a long one due to the annual May Day holiday.
There was no likelihood of the town council, on whose public property the car is parked, removing it during that time. Fair enough, I suppose, as L’il Antz was also closed for these days, too.
However, it’s a bit of a worry as this car is in such a shocking state as to be an open invitation to be smashed and trashed, or even set alight.
But the days, and now a week, have passed – and that car is still resolutely parked in the middle of that bay, deteriorating in front of our eyes. When I first saw it, the front right tyre was flat; the next day the front left tyre was deflating, too.
When I walked home from my nightfill job at Woolworths just after midnight on Friday evening, the car was still parked on four wheels; two flat ones at the front, and two fully inflated at the rear.
By Saturday morning (May 12) the rear wheels had been “salvaged” by opportunists at some time in the early hours of the preceding night, and now the car is sitting there propped up on two wheel rims.
This is laughable but there’s “better” to come. I’m now informed that the reason this wreck of a car has been left alone is because no-one in a position of authority is able to do anything about it.
The police, having pulled the car over in the first place, are now powerless to remove the car because it is parked legally – it’s no longer breaking any rules.
Similarly the town council can’t touch it because the vehicle’s registration is still current and apparently that needs to expire first before the council has the legal authority to tow it away.
It had proven impossible to push the car out of the parking bay earlier because it’s steering is locked; now, of course, there is no prospect of doing so.
The car is parked in the bay effectively denying its use by clients of L’il Antz from dropping off or collecting their little children, which means that more people are obliged to use the carpark at the rear of the premises in the laneway, which significantly worsens traffic congestion.
The irony deepens when one learns that the parking bay on Sturt Terrace next to L’il Antz is, of course, public property – but ratepayers never paid for it. It was L’il Antz that was obliged to provide the finance for its construction as a condition for establishing the childcare centre at that location.
What ratepayers and taxpayers do pay for are the substantial salaries and perks for bureaucrats whose hands are bound up by so much red tape.
This is nothing short of risible. After more than a week, nothing has been done – or can be done – to remove a clearly abandoned unroadworthy car wreck parked in a public carpark bay only a half house-block away from one of the town’s busiest intersections.
If something as simple as removing an abandoned vehicle cannot be arranged by the powers-that-be of our fair town, can they be entrusted with the oversight and management of far more important (and invariably more expensive) public projects?
It so happens that during the week this farce was underway, Alice Springs hosted two performances of the Melbourne International Comedy Roadshow. They needn’t have bothered coming here, I reckon, when we’ve clearly got our own clowns putting on such absurd performances in real life.
And as for “common sense” – Ha! Now that’s a laugh!