BAYSWATER councillor Catherine Ehrhardt is getting red in the face trying to get a bit of colour in the Maylands town centre.
Cr Ehrhardt has come up against a wall of regulations demanding any structures in the centre are restricted to shades of grey with the odd splash of municipal brown.
Having long been involved in attempts to get an Eighth Avenue renaissance going, she’d recently hoped to get a rainbow crosswalk there.
Council staff told her their hands were tied: “Crossings are regulated by state government regulation, which dictates the dimensions and colour of crossings on public land. They are not permitted in multicolour unfortunately.”
She wrote to her state MPs and planning minister Rita Saffioti.
“This seems such unnecessary bureaucracy, and I would ask for consideration on changing the legislation that prevents locals from injecting some colour into their streets and to make their pedestrian crossings more noticeable,” she wrote.
Cr Ehrhardt got a response five weeks later from Ms Saffioti’s chief of staff saying colour was verboten under “Australian Standards” to ensure safety.
Sydney’s finally got a new rainbow crossing at Taylor Square after a five-year wait: the state government immediately bulldozed the first one painted in 2013.
Another colourless episode happened recently when local training company MPA Skills got some placemaking funds from the council to restore tired old wooden trash bins around town.
They did a good job sprucing them up with a new coat of paint, but a council resolution stopped them from using the colours they wanted.
Cr Ehrhardt said the plan was “to restore the frames and paint the slats vibrant sunset colours to add a bit of pizazz to Eighth Avenue. But, bureaucracy won out and painting a colour was a big no no… I’m absolutely fed up with some of this nonsensical red tape.”
At last week’s Bayswater council meeting, Cr Ehrhardt lodged a notice of motion suggesting councillors stop getting involved with the minutiae, and give staff delegated authority to handle “design, colour, theme and location of any further street furniture and similar infrastructure”. It’ll go to a vote at the next ordinary council meeting.
by DAVID BELL