GIANT Christmas presents — placed in the middle of Sydney’s CBD — have appeared as part of a federal anti-terror initiative.
After horrific vehicle ramming attacks around the world, including Barcelona, Nice, London and Melbourne, Transport for NSW says the bollards have been placed in crowded places to keep pedestrians safe. However, a spokesman added that they were only a temporary measure.
They appeared as part of a massive transformation of the CBD’s bustling George St as part of the city’s light rail development — opening the thoroughfare up to pedestrians for the first time in more than two years.
Dressed up to fit in with the Christmas theme, some Sydneysiders were pleasantly surprised by the security tactic.
Australia also suffered its own ramming attack in January. Five people died in Melbourne when Dimitrious “Jimmy” Gargasoulas allegedly drove through the pedestrianised section of the Bourke St mall.
And, not everybody has been happy about the placement of concrete bollards and barriers in CBDs across the country — some say they are ugly and inconvenient.
One Melbourne resident, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described the blocks in his city as “eyesores”.
“It’s only one step away from armed guards with machine guns and night curfews for residents,” he told news.com.au.
“Safety is important but so is keeping the place attractive for locals and tourists to want to live and visit. There’s got to be a better way to do it.”
However, a Transport for NSW spokesman said the new Sydney bollards can also be used as “additional seating” as well as looking festive and providing safety for pedestrians.
“In accordance with the new federal guidelines for crowded places, there is a need to include vehicle barriers into the design throughout the light rail pedestrian zone — Hunter St to Bathurst St,” he said.
“Although inserted into the design for safety, they can also be used as additional seating and some will be fitted with timber and metal backs and arm rests.
“Christmas decorations along the light rail pedestrian zone on George St are part of the TfNSW business activation program to encourage foot traffic during the Christmas retail period.
“The planter boxes and blocks are a temporary measure until the City of Sydney installs a permanent solution designed in line with the look of the boulevard.”
Thousands of bollards appeared in Sydney this year. The cost for the supply and installation of a bollard can vary depending on the use between $1000 and $5000, according to the council.
Brisbane City Council has also spent almost $50,000 on concrete barriers — amid concerns that they may fail to meet international standards.
Intelligent Risks security expert Garth Adams supported council’s proactive approach to installing barriers, but was also critical of the tactic’s success rate.
“A visual deterrent is 99 per cent of the battle,” Mr Adams told The Courier Mail.“But a bollard is not the silver bullet or panacea for hostile vehicle mitigation.