Perils of lunchtime
TOPICS is a big fan of Steel Street in Newcastle West.
We walk it daily, and find it enjoyable to take in the sights (and the smells) of this roughly one-kilometre stretch of road.
It was recently pointed out to us that you experience a near-perfect cross-section of the Newcastle community if you walk Steel Street from end to end.
You’ll find the Honeysuckle businesspeople with slicked-back hair and shiny leather shoes mixing with those with no shoes.
There’s the security guard who patrols KFC Palais – once touted as “the biggest KFC in the Southern Hemisphere” – in broad daylight.
There’s the methadone clinic. There’s the brothel. There’s King Street Hotel. And then there’s King Street Macca’s.
At the finish line (if you make it) you’ll find the lush green fields of National Park – a bookend to the beautiful harbour on the other side.
There’s only one part of this one-kilometre dash that Topics finds to be a lottery for pedestrians: the double-whammy driveways to the car parks of McDonald’s and Marketown.
At lunchtime as the hunger pangs strike, it’s chaos. Cars wait to get in the driveways, but there’s just as many people trying to get across, creating a situation where just about everybody seems confused about who has right of way.
Topics has witnessed five types of people on this fateful footpath.
- The confident: Walks with ease, knows that pedestrians have right of way, problems arise when confident walker meets overconfident driver
- The unsure: Stops halfway across the driveways, performs “stop-go” foot action when a car pulls up, waits for direction from driver
- The polite: Waits for cars, runs across road when driver insists pedestrian crosses first
- The ignorant: Mostly found staring down at phone, becoming a dominant species on the fateful footpath
- The immobile: Slow and steady wins the race
Is it time for a footpath crossing, we wonder. What do you think, reader?
Saving our bacon, one pig at a time
THERE’S been a lot of protesting lately. But this one brings home the bacon.
Upstaging those pesky students, who this week lampooned the university’s new slogan “The World Needs New”, is former Wyong mayor Greg Best and his campaign mascot Porky Pie the pig.
Mr Best took to the Central Coast Council chambers to prove that amalgamation is “just lipstick on a pig”.
Mr Best has been a vocal critic of the merger between Gosford and Wyong councils, and will run as an independent in the September council election.
To get people’s attention, he explained, you’ve got to be radical.
And that means phoning up a mate to borrow his pet pig.
“To get the message out there you’ve got to have a vehicle,” Mr Best said. “Porky Pie is synonymous with what’s going on.”
At the heart of Mr Best’s gripe with the new council is how it’s being run, believing decisions are being made without effective community representation, as the council is currently headed up by an administrator.
One particular issue that grinds Mr Best’s gears is an idea to build a prison on the site of the old Munmorah Power Station, which the state government is currently considering as one of 16 sites that has potential for a new jail. To that, he says “when pigs fly”.
“Over this community’s dead body,” he said. “They [the council] know I’m a porcupine, so don’t step on me, I’ll hurt you.”