‘Swearing, urinating’: Locals hire security to stop drunks
Residents living near Howard Smith Wharves (HSW) have attacked the Brisbane City Council's fast-track approval of more bars and restaurants at the facility complaining they have already been forced to hire security guards to control traffic and unruly drunks near the venue.
More than 30 residents have lodged objections to the plan which was this week approved by the Brisbane City Council, which said it did not have to seek public comment as it was considered a "minor change."
A Boundary St resident, who declined to be named, said locals could now expect more traffic problems, more drunk patrons standing in front of apartments "yelling, swearing and urinating," unreasonably loud music and more drunken scooter riders and loud pedal cabs.
The riverfront venue wants to convert convention space at the site to more food and drink outlets as it attempts to ride out a collapse in bookings due to COVID-19.
But the resident said the pandemic was being used as an excuse to expand operations at the venue and approval of the application would impact on residents in Boundary Street, Ivory Lane and Bowen Tce as well as those across the river at Kangaroo Point.
"This approval will allow HSW to operate with a larger capacity of patrons well after the COVID restrictions have lifted," the resident said in a letter to council. "COVID is an excuse. The convention centres were only used occasionally but now they are looking at a beer hall type arrangement and it will be all day every day."
She said residents of her apartment building had to hire a security guard on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights to stop Uber drivers blocking their driveway when they dropped off or picked up passengers. Residents have already had a noise abatement notice issued against the venue to control loud music performances.
Another resident told the council that there was already too much clutter from businesses backing onto the public pathway running through the complex.
"If you aren't coughing from all the second-hand smoke, you'll end up being bowled over by a bunch of intoxicated imbeciles," the resident said,
Kangaroo Point resident Andrew Gray complained that the expansion of the facility would increase noise nuisance.
"My wife works in intensive care at the local hospital, and at night she sleeps with ear plugs in so as to try and block out the noise, so that she can function at work the next day," Mr Gray said in a submission to the council.
A Brisbane City Council spokesperson said the application was approved to allow HSW to be flexible as they adapted to the challenging circumstances of COVID-19.
"Due to current State Government restrictions the function venues have had a majority of events cancelled and this looks to be ongoing," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said resident feedback was considered as part of the planning decision.
The existing development approvals includes conditions around the hours of operations, management of noise and movement of vehicles with these conditions extending to recent approval of the changed use of the function centres.
Howard Smith Wharves chief executive Luke Fraser said the change would allow the company to adapt to the environment created by COVID.
"We are still holding and taking booking for events where it is possible under government restrictions," said Mr Fraser. "But like so many businesses that have been decimated by COVID we are having to adapt to the new landscape."
Originally published as 'Swearing, urinating': Locals hire security to stop traffic, drunks