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Montefiore

April 2013

  • Sir Montefiore Scuttlebutt

Now that thousands of tourists have departed for another year, we need a quiet chat about a few Adelaide city matters.

Hindley Street prostitution hint ‘detrimental’ to safety, comfort

For more than 100 years scurrilous claims have bedevilled the good traders of Adelaide’s most controversial carriageway, Hindley Street and environs, that it’s a hotbed of city sex for sale. Now, at last, comes the honest truth – the very suggestion is offensive. And that’s from a government agency that should know – the South Australia Police. A February development application by the Palace Gallery Pty Ltd, operating the Red Square Nightclub on the corner of Hindley and Rosina Streets, was recently pounced on by SAPOL and Town Hall. Club managers, of what Town Hall described as an “adult entertainment venue”, wanted to continue using a non-complying neon sign fronting Rosina Street which read: ‘Red Light District Club’. Prompted to comment, SAPOL Eastern Adelaide Local Service Area Inspector Tim Scammell advised in writing: “It is not for SAPOL to comment on the appropriateness or otherwise of the sign... Suffice to say, however, that a ‘red light district’ is commonly associated (world-wide) with prostitution.” Citing Wikipedia confirmation of this phenomenon – as one would have to do, if there were none to be found in Adelaide – he made observations about the locale. “This street leads to dimly lit, secluded laneways, driveways and car parks. During the hours of darkness, the Street may be frequented by young people in varying states of intoxication, including females who may be scantily dressed. It remains speculative, but there is potential that, as a result of the sign, people may associate Rosina Street with prostitution and sex-oriented businesses and this could have a detrimental effect on the safety and comfort of young females frequenting the area.” Quite right, too!

Monty wonders, however, whether the commercial enterprise Club X, a few hundred metres east of this site, featuring a Hindley Street window photo of a busty, scantily dressed stripper offering upstairs “uncensored internet access cybersex” might also come in for a birching by the good Inspector. In fact, given other suggestive material on show up and down Hindley Street, it’s probably only a matter of time before a number of other commercial operators in the street also feel the switch of the Planning Department’s bamboo cane. This is despite a Town Hall development plan main street policy area description prescribing ‘bustle, excitement and activity’ – features reasonably likely to describe this industry. Incidentally, Town Hall vetoed the Rosina Street sign. A recent check revealed it to be still affixed to the wall, but appropriately covered by a thin film of, ahem, black plastic. Administrators described Hindley Street as ‘an important shopping, hospitality and gathering place vital to the city’s identity and image.’ Perhaps Club X contributes to that? Monty casts no nasturtiums, of course.

Moving the water buoys

Summer 2013’s highly embarrassing iridescent green algae outbreak in Adelaide’s central tourist attraction – the Torrens Lake – caps off a run of years in which growth of the toxic bloom has exploded as temperatures rise. To address the problem, thousands of hours of water bureaucrats’ time have been invested, demanding the profound concentration of biologists and water experts, endless committee meetings, files of minutes, and scores of ministerial briefings. The cause is cyanobacteria – a bug fed by year-round pollution runoff from the hills and gullies east of the city. The attempted solution during 2011–12 and 2012–13 summers has been to flush the river with fresh-water spills of up to 40 megalitres per day (!) all the way from Hope Valley Reservoir. No luck. Toxic and pongy infestations have repeated annually, forcing health administrators to close the lake to recreational users – prompting an awareness campaign that only draws more interstate and overseas tourist attention to the problem. It’s been a PR nightmare to manage. However, deep within Adelaide’s health bureaucracy, some brilliant, outside-the-square thinking has been fermenting. We quote from a Town Hall source: “...Administration have been involved in discussions regarding possibly revising the secondary contact water quality public health standard that is used to trigger Torrens Lake closure. These investigations are being undertaken in collaboration with the NRM Board and SA Health.” Monty doubts, however, whether this clever innovation would become subject of a Tourism SA ministerial news release as summer 2014 commences, a new $40 million footbridge curves low over the said waters, and a March 2014 state election campaign looming. The leafy Riverbank precinct redesign plan is to be one of Labor’s trump cards and matters green are, after all, the big theme.

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