QUEEN ST’S UPHILL BATTLE
Recently renovated Queen St has attracted more malicious damage and thieves
QUEEN St’s makeover has received mixed reviews and been tarnished by reports of vandalism and plant theft.
In its plan to give the St Marys main street a facelift, Penrith Council placed bolted-down planter boxes with flowers, but shopkeepers claim teenage vandals keep stealing them.
“They do have plants but some of the kids are very naughty and they pull them out,” Kim Ha from A W Fabrics said.
“When they first put them in I loved it, but it’s gone now because the kids keep pulling them out. I hope they put new ones in.”
A council spokesman said instead of flowers, the council planned to put grass and hedges that were more developed and less likely to be vandalised or stolen.
“Theft and vandalism has resulted in council’s approach being altered,” the spokesman said. “We will be planting a range of grasses and hedges to provide colour to the streetscape.”
Nisha Sweeten, the owner of Princess Nisha’s Kitchen, said she was not happy with how long it had taken to get the job done.
“I’m happy with the results but not 100 per cent,” she said. “Our front is all done but still needs a lot more work to be done.”
Ian and Diane Shelley from Hobby Pro said all the trouble for the renovation was worth it.
“I’m really looking forward to it being finished because I think it’s going to look really nice,” Mrs Shelley said.
Mr Shelley agreed, saying: “It will highlight the town.”
Cornerstone Diner owner Michelle Lozano was disappointed with the patch of dirt outside her shop which she understood was to become a garden.
When they first put (flowers) in I loved it, but it’s gone now because the kids keep pulling them out
“They said they would put a little garden in this little patch here,” Ms Lozano said.
But the council spokesman assured the ground work for the garden would be “undertaken in the coming weeks as will irrigation to the small garden beds near the crossing”.
He confirmed the works started by the previous contractor would be completed by Christmas and the remaining renovation up to King St on the eastern side will be commenced by a new contractor in the second quarter 2017.
Nisha Sweeten (top) is one of the Queen St business owners upset about the slow pace of the upgrades. Main picture: Carmela Roche