Taps run cold after pipe bursts
BROWNLIE Towers went 24 hours without hot water after a water pipe burst, say angry residents.
Sylvia Brandis, president of the Residents’ Association, said she spent many of those hours on the phone to the Housing Authority, trying to get it fixed.
She was told the problem could take 24 hours to rectify after the complaint had been lodged.
The water had been shut off in the 300-unit buildings, within the Victoria Park electorate, the day before, after a water pipe burst under a path in the communal area.
But when the water was turned on again, it only ran cold.
Ms Brandis and association secretary Lorraine Chalon lamented the lack of upgrades to the buildings beyond cosmetic improvements.
In the almost 11 years since the Bentley Regeneration project was announced, the residents have been waiting in increasingly sparse surrounds.
Amenities have been demolished and they say the promise of new facilities remains just that – only a promise.
“We want action and we want honesty,” said Ms Chalon, who moved in to Brownlie Towers in 1995. “I’ve been here 26 years, and there have been a lot of changes.
“Brownlie Towers has had its ups and downs – 80 per cent for the good and as the years go by it is getting better and better.”
When she first arrived, the then-nicknamed “suicide towers” was another world; Ms Chalon witnessed people jumping from the upper levels to their deaths and other days she would see bodies on the pavement in the morning when she left to start her day.
“It is so much better now, from 2004 I have felt very safe here,” she said.
The problems have by no means been eradicated; youths ride dirt bikes on the property at night and squatters have moved into the complex, she said.
Recently a man had set up home in a stairwell. His mother had been a resident there but he stayed on even after she left.
“It was scary sometimes when he’d take drugs and dance in the communal areas. But he has gone now,” Ms Chalon said.
The social problems are far less prolific than they once were, thankfully, because to Ms Brandis and Ms Chalon, Brownlie Towers is their home.
The slow progress of the Bentley Regeneration Project has taken its toll on the pair, who want to make their home social, dynamic and inclusive.
Ms Chalon said the stripping of amenities had isolated older tenants as shops and services shut down.
According to Housing actinggeneral manager of service delivery Trevor Gregory, hot water was restored at Brownlie Towers on January 24, the day the outage was reported.
“It appears that the hot water system was accidentally turned off when plumbing works were undertaken on Monday, 23 January,” he said.
The spokesman said any tenant who reported ongoing plumbing issues could request a transferred to different accommodation and the Bentley Regeneration would continue around the 121 occupied units of Brownlie Towers. “The Housing Authority is considering the optimum approach for the future of Brownlie Towers and the overall Bentley Regeneration area,” Mr Gregory said.
Meanwhile, Ms Chalon said: “I want what they promised. We would love to see what was promised.
“I would love to see the shopping centre for all the residents who can hardly walk.
“They’ve changed the regeneration sign about five times. It always looks good but we don’t care about the sign – we want action.”
Lorraine Chalon and Sylvia Brandis. Inset top: the footpath where the water pipe burst. Inset bottom: the now-closed office where tenants went to learn about the Bentley Regeneration.