Cam­eras to guard St Kilda pen­guins

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - IAN ROYALL

PARKS Vic­to­ria has turned to CCTV footage to help pro­tect lit­tle pen­guins from touchy tourists at St Kilda Pier.

Pa­trols are be­ing in­creased again this sum­mer to pro­tect the pop­u­lar sea birds on the in­ner-city break­wa­ter.

More than 2000 peo­ple visit the colony on sum­mer week­nights, ris­ing to as many as 4000 a day at week­ends.

Video from the se­cu­rity cam­eras helps volunteers iden­tify ar­eas where vis­i­tors may be get­ting too close to the pen­guins.

Teams of St Kilda Earth­care volunteers pro­tect the pen­guins when they come ashore ev­ery evening at dusk.

Earth­care spokesman Terry Lobert said most evenings peo­ple had to be ush­ered away from get­ting too close.

“Peo­ple are try­ing to pick up pen­guins and we do get push­back from peo­ple when you ask them to do the right thing,’’ he said.

“In­creas­ingly be­cause the num­ber of vis­i­tors has grown ex­po­nen­tially in the last few years it’s pen­guin pro­tec­tion re­ally, ask­ing peo­ple to dis­able the flash on the cam­era and keep peo­ple away from the pen­guins as they head to­wards their nests.

“Peo­ple do tend to form a cir­cle around a pen­guin if they see one so the guards have to help pen­guins cross to where they want to go.’’

David Rit­man, Parks Vic­to­ria’s chief ranger of the West Port Phillip area, said more wildlife of­fi­cers would be on duty dur­ing sum­mer with a focus on ed­u­cat­ing vis­i­tors.

“In par­tic­u­lar, our rangers will be out and about en­sur­ing that vis­i­tors un­der­stand the im­por­tance of giv­ing the pen­guins space to get to their nests, not touch­ing pen­guins, stay­ing on formed paths and the board­walk, and not us­ing flash photography,’’ Mr Rit­man said,

Such is the pop­u­lar­ity of the pen­guins, win­ter view­ing has be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar.

“Ba­si­cally ev­ery night, ev­ery pub­lic hol­i­day, all year, even in win­ter,’’ Mr Lobert said. OWN­ERS of aban­doned, derelict build­ings in Melbourne’s CBD have been or­dered to clean up their act and fix the con­crete eye­sores.

As thou­sands of Mel­bur­ni­ans and tourists pre­pare to de­scend on the city’s pre­miere shop­ping strips, Lord Mayor Sally Capp has urged de­vel­op­ers to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the graf­fiti-rid­dled and po­ten­tially danger­ous build­ings that have be­come a “blight on the city”.

Va­cant build­ings, both on the main city drags and hid­den in laneways, are be­ing van­dalised and bro­ken into. Many are reg­u­larly oc­cu­pied by squat­ters.

Ms Capp high­lighted key sites in des­per­ate need of makeovers, in­clud­ing a de­cay­ing back­pack­ers on Spencer St and the for­mer Cancer Coun­cil build­ing in Carl­ton that has fallen into dis­re­pair af­ter years of dis­use, say­ing “it’s time for a makeover”.

“All own­ers of un­used build­ings have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to prop­erly se­cure their build­ings,” she said.

“Key eye­sore prop­er­ties around the city should be cleaned up, re­fur­bished, ac­ti­vated and, if nec­es­sary, re­de­vel­oped,” Ms Capp said.

Build­ings along the Bourke St Mall have caught the at­ten­tion of shop­pers and tourists, in­clud­ing the build­ing op­po­site the tourist kiosk that is covered in graf­fiti.

“I’ve been here for years and I don’t think it’s a great look. I think build­ings like this could do with a tidy-up,” Jo Price, 64, said. Kel­lie Pater­son, 41, agreed. “It’s pretty sad when build­ings are like this; it just looks ugly, and could re­ally use a clean-up,” she said.

Steve Lam­brick, 62, said he did not mind street art but the scrib­ble on the build­ing needed to go.

“I would rather build­ings were painted with more for­malised graf­fiti, more art­work; this is just messy,” he said.

Adam Moss, 29, said the graf­fiti ru­ined the city’s im­age.

“This city is so beau­ti­ful, and a build­ing like this takes the bal­ance from it; the city is so clean and it just doesn’t fit in,” he said.

The Lord Mayor set her sights on other eye­sore build­ings in­clud­ing the Job Ware­house in Bourke St, the once colour­ful fabric shop’s win­dows now boarded up. But a clean-up of the site is un­der­way with plans to re­store the his­toric build­ing to its for­mer glory.

Ms Capp said more needed to be done to trans­form the city’s streetscape.

“So much vi­brant ac­tiv­ity hap­pens on our streets and laneways in Melbourne and the best build­ings are those that open up, en­gage with peo­ple,” she said. “Over the years we’ve seen some great ex­am­ples of derelict sites trans­formed into vis­ually ap­peal­ing build­ings at a street level that func­tion as of­fice, ed­u­ca­tion, ho­tel or res­i­den­tial spa­ces above.” genevieve.ali­[email protected]

Devel­op­ment at the for­mer pub has stalled and the build­ing has sat dor­mant for years.

The art nou­veau ho­tel built in 1913 is now ac­com­mo­dat­ing back­pack­ers. The his­toric Melbourne build­ing has “huge po­ten­tial” to be cleaned up and trans­formed.

Duke of Kent at 293-303 La Trobe St:

Sir Charles Hotham Ho­tel at 2-8 Spencer St:

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.