temporary marquee built onto shared path

Privatising Public Space

As has been predicted on this blog since the redevelopment of the riverfront South Wharf Promenade with each successive event/redevelopment/year the businesses continue to push their boundaries further into the public space. While the council initially seemed interesting in looking at the problems they’ve failed to follow up with any progress and the public space continues to erode.

Going back to some of the planning documents for the site we can see a proposed shared space and outdoor eating area at the riverside.

cross section of planed development

Not long after the businesses moved in they appropriated the outdoor eating areas fully and then expanded onto the public space as required for larger events or additional exposure. Most of theses outdoor spaces are now fully enclosed with glass or vinyl screens (walls) that remain in place outside opening hours. So having seen no push back from that the ante has been raised with the latest promotion including a miniature private ice rink.

temporary marquee built onto shared path

Advertised by The Common Man restaurant/bar they are part of the larger shopping centre managed by the conglomerate Vicinity Centres as formed by a merger of the previous “operator” of this public space, its commercial interests all the way to the top. So of course there is no problem in absorbing almost half of the 4000mm (13 foot) wide shared path to make more space for the ice rink marquee, especially looking to the other side of the building:


The ice rink is set back from the shop fronts to maintain vehicle access to the corner of the site, but the public thoroughfare is fair game for occupying while the temporary structure is in place. Checking the dates for this promotion it’s in operation for a full 3 months this year without adding the additional time needed for assembly and disassembly. The council has handed off control of the area to a commercially interested party who isn’t operating the public space in the interests of the public but instead for their commercial benefits, and its continuing to remove public space unchecked.


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