The family behind properties on notorious street of crime say they are housing people nobody wants to take in an effort to give them a second chance.
The family behind properties on notorious street of crime say they are housing people nobody wants to take in an effort to give them a second chance.

Inside life on one of Australia's most dangerous streets

THE family behind properties on Townsville's most notorious street of crime have spoken out, saying they are housing people no one wants to take in an effort to give them a second chance.

Alex Duncan, co-owner of six Boyes Court properties, has finally spoken about his role in managing countless issues in the infamous street in the wake of the Townsville Bulletin report that police were called there 140 times in six weeks.

Kirwan Police officer-in-charge Jason Brosnan said the street was one of the "problem" areas in the region after data showed nearly 100 offences were reported in the last 12 months.

Mr Duncan said he had not spoken to police about the crime situation in years but claimed the trouble makers were visitors not tenants and blamed loose lockup laws for the crime rates.

Police were called to Boyes Court, Heatley 140 times over six weeks.
Police were called to Boyes Court, Heatley 140 times over six weeks.

He acknowledged that there was an issue with crime in the street, but said some of his tenants were vulnerable and were often knocked back by others.

"Everyone stuffs up in their life and you don't stick your foot on their neck and keep pushing them into the dirt," he said.

"We will look at people who have records but will talk to them about it and talk them through it."

Mr Duncan explained he and his brother first acquired the properties from their father about a decade ago when the street "had a reputation".

All six properties are listed under ownership of multiple business names, but all are linked to the Duncan family.

The average rent of their properties is about $220 per week, but no evidence of real estate rental payments are available online from about 2015.

One of these properties includes a derelict unit block at the end of the street that was gutted by fire in 2018.

A fire has gutted a unit in an abandoned block in Boyes Court, Heatley.
A fire has gutted a unit in an abandoned block in Boyes Court, Heatley.

Mr Duncan said the city's historic floods postponed maintenance work on the burnt-out building but he intended on fixing it this year.

He said it got to a stage where he "had to walk away" from the project after vandals repeatedly damaged his maintenance progress, but did not address the structural dangers.

"It was upsetting that the damage was being done," he said.

Townsville City Council responded to 33 complaints at Boyes Crt since the start of the year, but say it is powerless in enforcing maintenance on rental properties that have "longstanding building issues".

A spokeswoman said council routinely contacted property owners about the issues and referred complaints outside its jurisdiction to the police.

The Townsville Bulletin patrolled the street yesterday with photos showing residents out mowing their lawns.

Mr Duncan said the perception of the street needed to change before anything else could.

"Until that changes all the bad eggs are going to turn up there," he said.

Street starting to shine: Agent

A TOWNSVILLE real estate agent has revealed what goes on inside the city's most notorious street of crime, saying it was misunderstood and deserves to be applauded for how far it has come.

Her response comes as the Bulletin revealed the extent of crime in Boyes Court with police being called there more than 140 times in the last six weeks.

 

Real Estate Agent Margaret Fogarty in Boyes Court, Heatley. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Real Estate Agent Margaret Fogarty in Boyes Court, Heatley. Picture: Alix Sweeney

 

DM Realty property manager Margaret Fogarty snapped back at the statistics, saying the street was in better shape than ever and visitors targeted the street.

The behaviour in the street yesterday was a stark contrast to the statistics, with residents out mowing the lawn, hosing down driveways and cleaning up the area when the Bulletin paid a visit.

Ms Fogarty started working with the properties on Boyes Court more than five years ago when she says things were at their worst.

Graffiti lined exterior walls, grass was overgrown and homes didn't even have letterboxes, and that was just what was visible from outside.

 

Damage to properties on Boyes Court, Heatley is easily visible from the street. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Damage to properties on Boyes Court, Heatley is easily visible from the street. Picture: Alix Sweeney

 

She said interior doors were off hinges and walls were caved in at some homes, devastating her so much that she felt she had to step in.

Ms Fogarty manages almost half of the homes on the 14-block street, including all six homes owned by the Duncan family, and a single unit.

Ms Fogarty said she had poured tireless efforts and resources into trying to make the street a family-friendly place, including hiring a regular gardener, replacing bins, and enlisting maintenance workers and tradesmen.

She made it her mission to clean up the area and said tenants were appreciative of her work and often helped.

Ms Fogarty said the residents loved their street and were proud to live there.

"The work we have done is phenomenal, it was shocking when I first saw it," she said.

"We are at the point now where people really want to live at Boyes Court."

 

Real Estate Agent Margaret Fogarty said residents of Boyes Court loved their street. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Real Estate Agent Margaret Fogarty said residents of Boyes Court loved their street. Picture: Alix Sweeney

 

 

 

What it's like living there

A MOTHER has revealed what it is like to live at Boyes Court in the wake of police saying it was one of the most "problem" streets in Kirwan.

The Heatley resident, who does not want to be named, says she feels safe raising her family there but admits fighting, noise complaints and drunken violence was a problem when they first moved in.

The mum has lived in the street for six years with her husband and children and says she has no intention of moving.

 

A mother living in Boyes Court, who did not wish to be named, said crime on the street was bad. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
A mother living in Boyes Court, who did not wish to be named, said crime on the street was bad. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

She said the crime in the street was "bad" when they first moved in but the tenants weren't to blame.

"It's visitors to the area … they dump stolen cars here because the street has a reputation," she said.

Kirwan Police were being called to the street about twice a day for a range of issues, including wanted person reports and disturbances.

The woman said she heard the odd noise complaint, but denied the street was unsafe to live in.

She said the tenants tried to keep the area clean and helped with maintenance when needed.

Originally published as Inside life on one of Townsville's most dangerous streets



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