Storm Brewinglead

People’s reactions to the Waterloo announcement have been captured by local agencies and the local media. Here is a small selection of the reactions from this diverse community recorded by Inner Sydney Voice and the local South Sydney Herald.

Inner Sydney Voice students Jazz Stradbrook and Taizya Phiri asked a random group of people walking on the estate for their reaction to the redevelopment of Waterloo?

“I’ve been here 44 years and I love it here. We have transport, we have buses … we have trains at Redfern station that didn’t have a lift. We complained many years to have a lift. Suddenly they put only one platform lift and nothing else. We have happy people here, we are community here, and we don’t need a metro rail – we don’t need that. And especially the high rise are very good buildings they want to put down and I don’t think that is a good idea. For many many people here they are upset, angry and myself too. I don’t want to move into another suburb.”

Storm Brewinglead2“‘Again!’ was my first reaction… They said the same thing in the 90s. That’s over 20 years ago and they’ve announced the same thing saying you know it’s again. If it actually happens I don’t mind, but somehow I don’t think it will happen. At least it won’t happen as they claim. They said in the 90s they were removing it all … but it hasn’t happened.”

“I thought the other three buildings on Walker Street were all going to come down before these ones… I was a bit taken back. These ones have only been here forty years. The Queen actually opened these buildings, I was actually there when the Queen opened. How are they going to move people out? The logistics in that? Like one person said they should just move one building at a time.”

“Why do they need a train station here? We’ve got one at Redfern two minutes up the road and one at Green square. Why do you want another one here?”

“I feel ok about it. I recently moved to the area so I haven’t been here for long enough to sort of get used to the area yet. I’ve heard that it’s not too good cause most people have been here for ages like over 20 years so it’s not too good.”

“Its gonna happen there’s no use complaining about it, it’s just gonna…they just do it… they don’t really care.”

“Anxiety definitely … they painted it like it’s the best thing since sliced bread…it will be beautiful that everybody will be taken care of …. I spoke with Waterloo Connect … They’ve been very polite, nice and reassuring but I’m still not buying it. There is some information… this has been done that has been done but not the logistics of it. How it’s going to be done? Who does what? We’ve been told it will be case by case and everybody will have a mentor to help us move out but as to where we are gonna go…. There are thousands of people. Where are you going to f$#!!!! put them? I don’t see it, like I said the logistics have to be a nightmare.”

“I thought it was something that needed to be done but… I wanted to get out of here for a while, so it might be my opportunity to get a transfer. We’re going to be found new places right…obviously. But what if I want to move to Queensland?”

“I thought it was a good idea to be honest. Those ‘suicide towers’ are bug infested with no hope in them. Like if you had a look at one percent of these units you don’t want to step in. Honestly they need to go. But it was a s$#! game how the government released it to everybody just before Christmas Day. It was like yeah they were given no real notice about it. That this was in the works in the first place, so I think it’s a good opportunity for some new. You know get rid of the old… put in something better – as long as it’s done by the book.”

“It’s throwing people out on the street … The government they’re gonna replace the social housing … It’s just not gonna happen … There’s 2000 people affected and they’re just going to kick them out… There’s a lot of hostility out here. And social workers like myself – the number of people that seek our services – it’s appalling.”

“You know it’s not right. This community help me out on the streets. I can’t stand it you know, I like it at this place yeah.”

“When I first heard about it I thought it was a pretty exciting idea because I thought it was a good thing, but there was going to be some changes in the community. I’ve been working with people in the area and some of them have had trouble understanding the communications. I did have a look at that office that they have up there near IGA I actually took one of my people up there … That was good because he couldn’t read and he needed it to be put in a simple way and they were good. I feel a bit better now knowing that that office is there and that people can access that room and get information if they need it any time.”

South Sydney Herald’s (SSH) reporting of the local reactions

“It’s common knowledge that Christmas can be a particularly anxious season for many vulnerable people. The timing of the government’s announcement of plans to redevelop the Waterloo estate, and the means by which those plans have been communicated, strikes many residents and housing representatives as highly insensitive and disrespectful.” – Rev Andrew Collis in Disrespect of vital community SSH.

“Some months ago, an elderly patient was upset by a letter from Brad Hazzard, the Minister for Social Housing. The letter outlined the plans for redevelopment of the Waterloo Estate and relocation of the residents, some of whom have called the area home for several decades. His letter began: ‘I am excited to write to you and let you know …’.” Dr Marie Healy GP in Health and Housing SSH.

“If you were at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) in Redfern on Thursday February 18, you would have been forgiven for thinking you were arriving at a Hillsong Church convention.?Residents were greeted by an army of bureaucrats and rent-a-staffers (recognised from other consultations) sporting bright green T-shirts emblazoned with the promise: “More Homes, Better Place, Great Transport”. If you were expecting a smooth talking and inspiring preacher, however, you would be disappointed.” – Emily Straney in Hazardous encounter with locals SSH.

“As the NSW government readies its wrecking ball to tear through Waterloo, it has become plainly clear that once again our friends and neighbours in public housing have been given only the barest of afterthoughts.” Darren Jenkins in Redeveloping Waterloo – a wrecking ball SSH.

Merry Christmas, 2015

Often our opinion
of others is revealed
through our inattention
to small details
like the Home Brand
bread and sausages

the Hon Brad Hazzard, MP,
thought suitable
to provide for tenants
of public housing
at a barbecue

held to announce
the destruction
of their loved homes,
their lively community,
to be replaced,

he announced …
with a better-quality
frequented, no doubt
by a better-quality
human being
who buys Select Brand.

– Poet’s name withheld” SSH.

Other responses from Waterloo residents can be found in the South Sydney Herald. Counterpoint Community Services (The Factory) and South Sydney Community Aid have also compiled some initial reactions from residents.