Montefiore: Adelaide Oval’s bollards of steel in face of terror

There’s money in security as the reign of terror continues globally — including in Adelaide, city of steely resolve.

Sir Monty has dabbled in financial capers for many years and, having attained ripe age, nothing much surprises him. His deep commitment to the pursuit of Old Adelaide Money keeps him highly focused. The challenge is to not only identify where it might be found, but also when to devise ways to profit from it. But change is constant, and as Medindie’s and Gilberton’s older generations take their secrets to the grave (and often, frustratingly, the location of their last will and testament), the youngsters coming up have had to adopt fresh approaches. Take bollards, for example.

Until a few years ago, anyone suggesting that there was money in these steel street stumps designed to block traffic from certain sites would have needed the long-term couch services of an Unley Road psychotherapist. But not any more.

Bollards are big, and it’s a worldwide phenomenon, because of that thing called the ‘terror threat’ in which obsessed people have begun driving vehicles into crowds. The appalling effects have very suddenly driven the world’s ‘public realm’ administrators into a frenzy of bollard installations, boosting the revenues of bollard manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and installers to a level only Sir Monty’s solar pocket calculator can comprehend.

Sir Monty’s local research began early and soon identified a mother lode as all of Adelaide began rushing to install bollards around and across numerous sites. Today’s case study, chosen because of its close proximity to Sir Monty’s North Terrace club, focuses on the Adelaide Oval, just down the road, run by the Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority (AOSMA).

In November 2017 the AOSMA applied to the City of Adelaide Council Assessment Panel (CAP) for permission to erect bollards and other barriers around the oval to reduce terrorism risk as a result of “a review of security vulnerables”. Oval visitors by now will see evidence of a brace of bollards, most obviously at the east gate, where sports fans enter for the big games — retractable ones running from the end of the King William Road bridge to the east plaza, and fixed ones up to the entry of the underground ramp. At other oval entrances and nearby roadways, many others are being installed.

In the bollard trade, this is what is called ‘windfall business’ with the revenues warming the cockles of Sir Monty’s heart because as soon as he sniffed the growth opportunity some time back he invested in bollards-linked stock futures which are set to deliver very nicely in the near future.

One fascinating outcome of this ‘security vulnerable’ matter is how the AOSMA plans to handle the risk if a terrorist’s vehicle raced in a fit of madness across the grassy slope below Montefiore Hill at the north-western park lands edge, to do damage to crowds clustering at the north gate.

The plan is to have loyal oval staff park their own cars where this might occur on event days, creating a fortification line adjacent to a plane tree-lined hill pathway — an impregnable perimeter of steel-on-wheels. To quote the Panel: “It is envisaged that the vehicle parking barriers will be formed primarily by employee vehicles who will be directed by AOSMA security staff.”

This highlights the depth of staff loyalty assumed within AOSMA senior management: staff laying down the life of the family car to ensure untroubled sleep among top management in the age of terror. And all this while the loyal staff are rostered on during weekends and public holidays, and sometimes well into the evenings until the crowds have dispersed.

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Adelaide Oval workers may be required to park their vehicles in a line to fortify the facility

Of course, there is always potential for legal complications, but one CAP assurance in relation to a potential paperwork snag impressed Sir Monty. “The parking of vehicles to form a vehicle exclusion barrier is not ‘development’ as defined by the Development Act 1993 or the Development Regulations 1998 and therefore does not require [development] approval,” the Panel assured all.

To which, Sir Monty is certain, staff will have heaved a sigh of relief, even as they ask their vehicle insurance companies for advice as to where, in their cars’ insurance product disclosure statements, is printed an explicit exclusion from cover, in the case of an employer-induced instruction to counteract acts of terrorism by using their own private vehicles.

Moreover, the option of cancelling their insurance cover altogether (given that cover would be voided by that activity in the event of damage) and pocketing the annual premium, might also be noted as yet another inadvertent but generous benefit conferred by a grateful oval management.

Sir Monty also investigated the potential for a commission payment to him if he purchased any post-terrorism-event damaged vehicle and resold it after the dents had been hammered out, but was disappointed. The car wall of steel is, at the north site, an alternative to the bollard concept with apparently similar resistance capacity. A fineprint bollard impact test report had revealed the following: “Velocity of test vehicle: 70km/h; Engine running after test: No; Vehicle driveable after test: No.”

Oh dear, there’s no whiff of profit potential there. It matters not. The bollards-linked stock futures market has been tested and will deliver. Next time you hand over that $20 note to park your car on north park lands grass, remember that certain parkers won’t have to shell out — but for special reasons. They won’t be highlighted in the tourism brochures.

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