All drains lead to Chippendale

Another day another drain, more digging, more diesel and petrol and silt and dust into the air and the drains and Sydney Harbour.

‘What is it now?”, you ask?

The circular through my door today, announces “Night works in Abercrombie Street from Irving to Broadway”.

For the next six months + – yes, ’ 6 – 7’ – the diggers, trucks, sludge, shouts, groans and tra la la-ing will happen seven night a week there.  It’s about 100 metres of Abercrombie that’s to be dug up for this super drain.

The explanation makes me curious:  ”The installation of this stormwater pipe is an essential part of the construction works for the public park at the centre of the future ‘Central Park’ precinct.”

That sounds unbelievable because:

  • that’s a hell of a pipe to take away stormwater
  • such a pipe would carry more than the water to fall on and be wasted from the little park to be created in the project
  • the amount of stormwater to be wasted through such a large pipe that will take six months to dig for a length of about 100 meters – or 20 metres a month to dig it on average - must be a very large amount of water
  • trumpets, international architects, slideshows, Ministerial proclamations, dancing girls, marching bands, green gurus, web pages and wizards – all these and more said this Broadway project was to be a sustainable project where rainwater would be harvested and reused on the greenest precinct Sydney would have.

Could it be that what all the hullaballoo amounts to is the usual greenwash hocus pocus?

Could it be that rainwater is in fact to be mostly wasted and treated as a waste product here?

Who to ask in this leaderless town where all in authority spend most of their time and money on spin?

Let’s just ask ourselves, use our eyes, ears and cameras over the six months period of open heart surgery to be conducted on yet another part of Chippo that’s to be dug up for drains to waste precious water.

No doubt we’ll be blessed with telephone calls after it all to ask how much fun it was and what problems we may have.  With all responses fed into the spin doctors kitchen whence it will come back at us with press releases, spin and life will go on as usual, drain after drain.

Did you see this week the announcement by the wise government in Brazil, which is presiding over the collapse of flows of the mighty Amazon river, diverting so much water to industry and so much rainforest (which once generated rain for the river) to farming, will now build a dam to make electricity?

Could be worse; we could live there, I guess, where they’re about to flood the folks and critters who live where the dam waters will go.

Or, we could live as a fish in the waters of Blackwattle Bay which are copping all the silt streaming out of our ‘raingardens’ and off the site entries to the Frasers site.  The fish must be chuffed these last few days; check out the tonnes of silt running out of the Frasers site – you know, the sustainable one on Broadway.

May the raindrops stay where they fall,


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  • Michael Mobbs

    Michael is a former Environmental Lawyer who is uniquely placed to consult in four main areas:

    • Sustainability Coach and Speaker,
    • Sustainable Urban Farm Design greening, watering and cooling the cityscape, roads, parks, suburbs,
    • Major Projects Consultant Commercial and Industrial,
    • Residential Sustainability Consultant.
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