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Save Fox & Bow’s basketball hoop from the fun police

By Charlotte Harper 15 November 2016 13

Fox & Bow basket

Oh, ACT Department of Territory and Municipal Services, I know you think you’re just doing your job, but when your job consists pulling down a basketball ring that adds life and colour to one of the most drab shopping centres in Canberra, someone, somewhere has made a mistake.

Fox & Bow hoops

Alex Piris, who runs Farrer cafe Fox & Bow, has created a playground in the alleyway that runs alongside the hip eatery, with funky graffiti murals on the wall opposite and a cricket bat, tennis rackets, basketballs and a basketball ring laid out so children and energetic grown-ups can play while they wait for their food to arrive.

Fox & Bow mural

We had never eaten at Fox & Bow before, and dropped in for a late lunch on Saturday. Spotting the laneway activities, we chose a table outside, and the basketball began. I loved seeing the kids and big kids running around in the colourful laneway, until I spotted the green sticker defacing the basketball ring. What did it say? Oh, only that the Government’s may confiscate the offending hoop and dispose of it as it was sitting so outrageously on public unleased land. When? As early as today. It may even be already gone.

Well, team TAMS (yes, we know your department has had a name change but as that’s how you’re listed on the big green sticker, we’ll stick with TAMS for now), we think this is a decision that is designed to make Canberra a dull and boring city indeed. If we were running your department, we’d have thought about this one a little more, and realised that innovative cafes taking the initiative to improve their environment and the health of their clientele should be encouraged.

Indeed, the ACT Government has devoted substantial resources to messages and programs in preventative health through sporting activity and in innovation in business, and here was a living, breathing example that had cost them nothing.

I pondered the reasons behind this decision and could think of none. Fox & Bow is open 7.30am-4pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 3.30pm on weekends, so it’s not as though it’s attracting a crowd of drunken louts late at night. Perhaps there are concerns around road safety? If so, perhaps the Government could work with the cafe operator to come up with a solution using some road barriers on weekends. Are the other retailers complaining? Why? Have they thought about how many extra customers come to their sleepy shopping centre now that Fox & Bow has enlivened the precinct?

Fox & Bow signage

As I seethed over my lunch, the children played on, bolting up and down the lane or exploring the dollshouse inside.

Fox & Bow dollhouse

I was greatly cheered by the fact that the lunch was sensational. I will be back soon for another helping of My Sweet Little Pecan, a salad of honey roasted sweet potato, avocado, grilled haloumi, toasted pecans, BBQ corn, Lebanese cucumber and lime. I’m sure there was some puffed wheat in there too, and it was fabulous.

Fox & Bow salad

Fox & Bow is one of those cafes we used to have to travel to Sydney or Melbourne for, partly because of the food, partly because they served brunch till mid-afternoon instead of closing it off at 10.30, and partly because they get the fact that eating out is about more than the food.

Here’s hoping the Government will reconsider and allow the basketball to continue.

All photos taken at Fox & Bow by Charlotte Harper

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13 Responses to
Save Fox & Bow’s basketball hoop from the fun police
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Acton 1:01 pm 20 Nov 16

That small green sticker on the the basketball ring in the alley at the Farrer shops is symbolic of our society.

If you want to know who is responsible for ever increasing state interference in private lives, take a look in the mirror.
You. Yes, you. And him. And her. And me.
In a litigatous, over-protected, over-ruled society, we who embrace or hide within the shirts of a rule making nanny state have only ourselves to blame when the humourless, finger wagging officer of the fun police come knocking.
We have become a whinging nation of serial offendees. Weak, frail, afraid and suspicious.
I’m offended. I’m appalled. I’ll complain and demand the government do something to protect my sensitivities.
Blame others, blame the government, take no personal responsibility, acknowledge no risks. It must be someone’s fault. Who can I sue?
We seek litigatious enrichment from any misfortune. Mental trauma was once anxiety. Now if I suffer mental trauma I look for compensation.
Beaches have signs to warn of shallow water, submerged and slippery rocks. Why? Because the local council may be sued if someone drowns.
Kids are not allowed to do cartwheels in some schools. Because the school may be sued if someone falls.
Should trees carry warning signs? Danger. Do Not Climb. Branch May Break. Climbing Carries Risk of Fall.
I feel sorry for kids growing up today. Once upon a time kids could have spontanous fun before the nanny state and the fun police enveloped us with suffocating rules.

So go ahead. Live dangerously. Break some rules. Have fun.

wildturkeycanoe 6:33 am 19 Nov 16

ChrisinTurner said :

In Germany this would be a “KinderStrade” or children’s play street with a 5km/hr speed limit and pedestrians have right-of-way. But would the property developers who rule Canberra agree?

Is that any different to shared zones at large supermarkets, Bunnings and least of all Bunda Street, with pedestrians sprawled all over the road? This particular alley looks to be only used as a loading area by delivery vehicles, so the traffic isn’t going to be a big problem.
It is just another heavy handed “Do as we say” by the government, without a valid reason. I wonder if they will hire police to park around the corner and issue jaywalking tickets to anybody who uses the lane for any kind of sports in the absence of a hoop, such as soccer or handball? Honestly, the whole thing is a storm in a teacup, that should have been left alone. Don’t the government have better things to be doing than policing where and when its citizens have a bit of fun? How about addressing a more important matter, such as my concerns over illegal parking around our local school which has a much higher risk of incident between a pedestrian and a vehicle? It has been six months and I still haven’t even had a reply to my request for them to investigate the issue.

ChrisinTurner 7:20 pm 17 Nov 16

In Germany this would be a “KinderStrade” or children’s play street with a 5km/hr speed limit and pedestrians have right-of-way. But would the property developers who rule Canberra agree?

wildturkeycanoe 10:10 pm 16 Nov 16

“Oh, only that the Government’s may confiscate the offending hoop and dispose of it as it was sitting so outrageously on public unleased land.”
I find it cynical for the government to remove a basketball hoop from public land, but not to do anything about the pallets, milk crates, wheelie bins, skip bins, towels on drying rack, pieces of rubbish and cardboard, shade umbrella bases, oil drum, garden hose and parked cars which are just around the corner on the same piece of unleased public land. [See Google Streetview for source of this information]
There is nothing bad in my opinion, on having a hoop there. Obviously some do-gooder has made a complaint for whatever selfish reason. What is the difference in terms of public liability insurance between kids riding their bicycles on the laneway and kids playing basketball on the laneway? What is the difference between someone tripping on the basketball hoop and tripping on the uncoiled garden hose, some rubbish or a pallet?
It is all just government BS, ruining yet another aspect of enjoying life.

Hoots McTaverna 4:21 pm 16 Nov 16

Looks like they need to be more worried about getting a copyright takedown notice from The Walt Disney Company.

switch 4:00 pm 16 Nov 16

JC said :

Government does something and gets called nanny state, kill joys etx.

Government does nothing and someone gets hurt then these pages will be full of how the government did nothing, compensation lawsuit to follow.

Either way cannot win.

Yeah. Government should get out of the business of governing.

JC 2:31 pm 16 Nov 16

Government does something and gets called nanny state, kill joys etx.

Government does nothing and someone gets hurt then these pages will be full of how the government did nothing, compensation lawsuit to follow.

Either way cannot win.

bj_ACT 11:30 am 16 Nov 16

Considering TAMS will save money by not upgrading very old and dangerous play equipment in Kambah and allow big dead Gum trees to idly stay near these playing areas, I’m surprised that this is where they decided to draw the line in the sand on public safety.

If it’s because of illegal use of Public land, they might want to target their own staff who regularly park on my mother in laws nature strip in Braddon.

David Pollard 10:31 am 16 Nov 16

TuggLife, you are almost correct. It is unleased land, so people and businesses can’t just go around putting up basketball hoops or treehouses – unless they have a permit. They are clearly trying to do a good thing (which also happens to be good for business), so I would hope to see a permit issued.

Did Fox & Bow apply for a permit, including providing their public liability insurance (which may need top be extended to cover physical activity instead of just selling food)? If they applied and were denied and put it up anyway, well that’s not really the right way to do things. If they didn’t apply, would they like to apply now?

TuggLife 7:33 am 16 Nov 16

Oh, how I hate the term ‘fun police’ – it’s usually followed by ‘political correctness gone mad’

As much as I love playing basketball, it’s on unleased public land. Much for the same reason I can’t set up a treehouse in the middle of Weston Park, they can’t set up a fixed basketball hoop there. I suspect we wouldn’t be so sympathetic to their plight if it was, say, the Raiders Club sticking signs all over the footpath.

wildturkeycanoe 9:53 pm 15 Nov 16

Perhaps someone from the public could attach a hoop to the wall behind the existing one, then it wouldn’t technically be on unleased public land anymore. I have a hoop that was purchased from the Green Shed almost a year ago which never got put up, so if a handyman with a cordless hammer drill was to volunteer their services I can supply the hoop and even the fixing bolts. All one needs to do then is kindly ask permission from the owner of the service station/mechanical workshop and the problem is solved.

Masquara 8:24 pm 15 Nov 16

Is it a pedestrian laneway? If cars go down it, clearly you shouldn’t have kids playing there …

bronal 6:54 pm 15 Nov 16

Fun is the one thing money can’t buy. (She’s leaving home.)

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