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Sell Stuart Flats 'ghetto', says former councillor

Kevin Gill says the Stuart Flats have become a ghetto.

Kevin Gill says the Stuart Flats have become a ghetto. Photo: Elesa Lee

The former head of the Inner South Community Council, Kevin Gill, has recounted his harrowing year living in the ''ghetto'' of Stuart Flats in the 1990s, and has called for the complex to be sold and the proceeds used to spread tenants across the city in new public housing.

The Griffith public housing estate is under the spotlight after a shot was fired through a window on Wednesday, the latest in a series of incidents at the complex in recent years.

Mr Gill was the inaugural president of the Inner South Community Council, which covers Griffith, and also lived in the estate for a year after serious heart surgery in the 1990s.

He said alcoholism, violence and drug use had become rife there.

Attempted break-ins to his flat were almost a nightly occurrence, Mr Gill said, and dirty needles were constantly found around the estate.

That was a marked difference to the ''prestigious'' feel of the complex in the 1960s.

''It had become a ghetto,'' Mr Gill said.

''As social housing, or government housing, got tighter and tighter, more and more people were put in these places who had degrees of social disorientation.

''It's not a place for kids, older people feel intimidated, I'm not certain if that's still the case today, but I suspect that's the case.''

The government is gradually redeveloping the estates, but any real progress is likely to be years away.

That process is designed to break up the estates, and distribute public housing around the suburbs.

Mr Gill described public housing estates as a failed social experiment.

He urged the government to sell the Stuart Flats, and use the substantial profits to construct new public housing and spread tenants through the city.

''It's been a problem for a long time, and I think the answer to those sorts of places is to spread people out in the wider community,'' Mr Gill said.

He said the issue of the flats was routinely talked about, but never formally raised, at the Inner South Community Council, which he left as president late last year.

5 comments

  • The other side of the coin is maybe the wider community is not to keen on having the "alcoholism, violence and drug use" spread out into their neighbourhoods.

    Commenter
    Likelylad1957
    Date and time
    February 21, 2013, 7:17AM
    • Spot on Likely. The flats aren't the problem, it's the tenants and there’s probably only a minority of those who are troublemakers. Deal with them instead of making them someone elses problem.

      Commenter
      Wing Nut
      Date and time
      February 21, 2013, 9:37AM
  • It is time the bad tenants are banished to housing out in Uriarra and told they'll be locked up if they're seen in Canberra. They can get their food delivered to them. Law abiding people shouldn't have to put up with this. Oh and spare a thought for the Housing ACT housing managers who have to deal with this day in, day out.

    Commenter
    farnarkler
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    February 21, 2013, 9:08AM
    • Seems like a good site for a parking complex for Manuak Oval. The other proposal to knock down the Child care centre may be too contraversial.

      Kevin Gill should have been a real eatate agent rather than a Labor agent masquerading at the local community council..

      Commenter
      patrick
      Date and time
      February 21, 2013, 9:37AM
      • I agree, why should the rest of the community suffer for the choices of these people.

        I choose to not take drugs, I choose to work extremely hard in my job and save for a house, and I choose to not commit crimes. Everyone has choices; I have friends who were brought up in horrible, horrible situations. They made choices and now some are nurses, some are at uni, some are in the army etc. but yes some unfortunately chose drugs and therefore and no longer my friends. It’s all about the choice's you make.

        I vote keep all the criminals and junkies together and let them fester in their own little community, when they complain they have no community facilities due to them ruining everything they have no one to blame but themselves.

        Also move all the mothers, fathers, elderly and any of those who are not criminals, trouble makers or drug addicts to better accommodation, with parks and nicer community facilities. I’m talking about those people who look after their houses and actually feel privileged to have a place to call home. They also should not suffer at the hands of these people who choose to ruin and steal everything around them.

        Commenter
        ME....
        Date and time
        February 21, 2013, 11:34AM
        Comments are now closed

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