20 August 2012

Damage to Scullin Shops upgrades

| Chris Mordd Richards
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With the upgrade works at Scullin Shops only having been recently completed with the last fortnight, already there has been some major damage caused to part of the new guard railings installed, with a 1 guard rail almost completely taken off and part of another section sheared off entirely. I first noticed the damage on thursday night last week and saw the damaged guard rails lying on the ground nearby. The damaged rails have since dissapeared but no effort has been made to remove or tape off the damaged pole sticking out of the ground leaving me to believe that it was not removed by any ACT works department (no I do’t know the name of the right department) or similar but probably by some enterprising locals.

Overview of the damage with broken sections highlighted.
Scullin Shops Damage 7

Talking to another local this morning who witnessed the incident that caused the damage, I was told that on Thursday last week a car parked in the carpark at the edge near the corner of the steps accelerated up the stairs instead of reversing out, taking out two of the guard rails in the process and coming to rest against the wall of the shop on the corner at the top of the stairs. I am told police were not called to the scene, and shortly after the incident another person arrived and drove the damaged vehicle away along with the driver who caused the accident. I am told the damage to the car was fairly severe, including a shattered windscreen – the broken glass from which is evident on the ground nearby – and damage to the front panneling of the vehicle itself.

Another view of the damage showing approximately the direction of the vehicle.
Scullin Shops Damage 2

The guard rails are very strong and sturdy and the force it would have taken to shear the rails off as shown would have been quite a lot, thank goodness no-one happened to walking down the stairs at the time. The witness tells me the driver was uninjured but as to wether they reported the accident to the Police or ACT Connect etc… afterwards is unknown and one can only presume that the revelant authorities are probably unaware of the incident, although the witness tells me they know who the person is who caused the accident and personally believe they are an “upstanding” person who would have surely have reported the accident – personally given human nature in these situations I am not so convinced but it is possible.

Close up shots of the damaged sections of guard railing:
Scullin Shops Damage 1

Scullin Shops Damage 3 Scullin Shops Damage 4 Scullin Shops Damage 6

This morning I attempted to call ACT Connect to try and make sure the relevant department who could make safe the area and fix the damage were aware of it at least, after a fruitless half an hour being transferred round 5 different departments with everyone not wanting to take responsibility for taking my report, I gave up and instead picked 2 local members at random in Ginninderra and called their offices instead. The staff at both Alistair Coes and Mary Porters office were both very helpful, and assured me they could make sure the correct department who could action the repair work was informed directly and that they would make the Minister aware as well of the damage that had occured and ensure it was investigated. I left the matter in their hands and will wait to see how quickly I see someone out here to do something about the damage.

The guard rails on the section nearby that isn’t damaged.
Scullin Shops Damage 5

Overall given the “cosmetic” nature of the upgrade works themselves the shops actually do look a lot nicer now the work is finished, and its a shame to see damage done to the works so soon after they were completed. What I find even more annoying though is the likelihood that it is taxpayers money that will be spent fixing the damage instead of the insurance company of the driver or the driver themself paying to fix the damage they caused.

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Mordd said :

@ p1 – i would have though damage caused to public property would be required to be at least self reported to the police, at the very least so the insurance ppl can reimburse the city/council/etc… at some point for the damage, not saying they have to be called to the site but wether or not the driver reported themself as I said in the article is anyone’s guess.

I would think the cost of repairing the damage would make the driver legally obligated to inform the police of the accident.

However, having to pay either the excess, or if uninsured, the cost of repairs would be a big motivation not to.

Mary Porters office just called back to tell me TAMS was on the case, and in addition to fixing it asap would be looking at “design solutions” to prevent the same type of damage happening again, have to say im impressed by how fast something got actioned once i got the MP’s offices involved lol, must be an election round the corner……

* The broken pole sticking out got removed this afternoon, but nothing further was done, so it seems the report to the MP’s offices got through to the right ppl quite quickly, now to see how soon it gets repaired.

@ brindabella – yes they are supposedly done according to the workman, I asked about the paint but was told thats an issue for the landlord not the act government, and the landlord(s?) apparently refuses to spend any money on the overall building(s) there.

@ p1 – i would have though damage caused to public property would be required to be at least self reported to the police, at the very least so the insurance ppl can reimburse the city/council/etc… at some point for the damage, not saying they have to be called to the site but wether or not the driver reported themself as I said in the article is anyone’s guess.

@ jungle jim – that thought did occur to me and initially I thought the poles had been wrenched off by a group of ppl but the person I spoke to who witnessed the event I have known for quite a while since I moved in nearby and have no reason to doubt their eyewitness account – if I did I wouldn’t be publishing what they told me, im quite sure what they told me is what they saw.

@ poetix – haha, not trying to play cop here, I just annoyed that the works have been damaged so quickly and the fact that far too often damage is caused to public infrastructure and the ppl responsible for the damage rarely end up paying for it, its always the ratepayers. I doubt they’re actually connected to the driver though, the broken windscreen glass on the other hand im sure you could away for analysis, be my guest 😛

@ shirty_bear – the next step is the landlord actually doing a total repaint of the buildings, better coverage of the vacant shops to prevent further vandalism or broken windows etc… and some more proactive attempts to get more tenants in there. Personally I would not object either to demolshing that eyesore of a 40yr old service station next door that operates as a lan mower repair centre / junkyard these days, it actually looks far worse than even the graffiti on the shops. Im not saying scullin shops is ever going to be “fantastic” but its mcuh nicer than it was and it can easily be made better still with just a tiny bit more effort.

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

Making it look decent wont chage the fact that the entire suburb is filled with scum.

uhhhh … except me :-\

In Scullin’s defense, it still ain’t Charnlop. Do agree up to a point, though … Scullin flats seem to be the new Melba flats … which eventually got knocked down, so there’s hope yet.

The superficial-shop-tarting-up – though nicely enough done – has been a complete WOFTAM. The stores are poor (with the possible exception of Sue’s Kitchen), the buildings themselves still look dreadful, and the only likely patrons are those too clattered to go elsewhere. And I hate to think what’s going to go in inside the dunny block they’ve installed …

Surprised you didn’t try for DNA off the cigarette or drink bottle…I think they’re in photos 1 and about 38.

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd2:26 pm 20 Aug 12


Making it look decent wont chage the fact that the entire suburb is filled with scum.

That piping is just about perfect to use as coping on a home-made skate ramp. Not outside the realm of plausibility that some enterprising youths have taken to it with a grinder or hacksaw late at night.

I imagine there are several factors determining if the driver reports this to the cops. In no order:

BAC of the driver (or other impairment),
Registration status of car
licence status of driver
insurance status of car

As for reporting it too police, I believe the criteria for the police to be called to the site of an accident are injury (which apparently there wasn’t). Other wise I think it has to be reported within 24hours. I think there might well be some sort of legal requirment to make contact with the owner of any damaged property…

A fine, upstanding drunk?

Scullin’s steps towards being a more respected area have come off the rails at the last minute.

Nuke this site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure. The upgrades are good, but the amount of graffiti around really detracts. Are they really finished? What ever happened to a new coat of paint when renovating?

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