What strange decisions local authorities make. I walked the dogs this morning from the wharf at Mosman (NSW, Australia) along a path which follows the side of the bay out to Robertson's Point, opposite the CBD and the Opera House - one of the most delightful walks in the area, but one I hadn't done for a while. Halfway along the path, Mosman Council hands ove responsibility for upkeep to North Sydney Council. In the Mosman section there has been some necessary tree-felling and tidying up, but the path is much as it has always been - allowed to remain very uch in tune with the environment. But North Sydney have now laid a very white wide concrete path through their section, utterly out of place; and even worse, where there were nice wooden palings and railings, they have replaced them with bright very new aluminium (?) railings, completely out of place; at the entrance to Old Cremorene Ferry Wharf, they have replaced nice of steps in local stone with very new white concrete ones, each edged with coloured material (in case, I suppose, you don't reconignise them as steps) and ugly black plaques of knobbed material to indicate to the blind where the steps are. You would think that the whole thing was designed by cretins to look as much as possible like a city entrance to a tube station. Yet out at the point itself, the new ferry wharf is (like the one at the Mosman terminal) rather well designed, and they have set the entrance to it off at an angle in order to leave a generous stub of the old wooden wharf where the little cafe has been serving travellers for umpteen years. Now how can there be such a contrast between witless destruction of an environment and such generous consideration? A mystery to me.
The problem with the worst of the new set-up I suppose is due to the dreadful 'Health and Safety' consideration. Why aluminium railings should be considred safer than good wooden ones I don't understand, however. Why concrete steps instead of local stone ones which will chime in witht the area? And why bright concrete for a rural path rather than black bitumen or something similar? And how many unaccompanied blind people are going to have negotioated the often quite difficult path to a ferry wharf and suddenly need an indication of steps?
No answer to all that, I guess, ecept the human capacity for messing up the environment whenever possible.