Saturday, September 20, 2008

A little more discretion and common sense

Last week I made a formal complaint to the Sydney Opera House about their overbearing & unpublished policy of banning dogs from the Bennelong Point precinct.

Today I received a reply from Richard  Hull, Customer Service Manager:

Thank you for your email regarding dogs on Bennelong Point.
I actually think you make a very good point.
While the security officer was perfectly correct in his actions - there is a current bylaw prohibiting dogs (or any animal) on the Opera House site, unless they are 'assistance' dogs - I believe we can review the way in which this rule is implemented.
It is entirely valid to prohibit animals when we have special events and large crowds on the forecourt and this will continue to be the case. However, it seems less relevant given your circumstances of walking well behaved dogs on a leash around the northern broadwalks.
Please be assured that I will discuss your comments and concerns with our executive today and see if we can approach this issue with a little more discretion and common sense in the future.
Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.
Kind regards
Richard Hull


It's nice to get a reply that addresses some of the substance of a complaint (unlike a long letter I recently sent to my State member of parliament, Carmel Tebbutt*).

I still query his "It is entirely valid..." comment as there is usually a seamless group of people from the area adjacent such as Circular quay and The Rocks, and there is no issue with "large crowds" elsewhere in Sydney public areas.  As long as security guards rather than police are in charge then I fear that the attitude will be skewed unnecessarily. As I have noted before, in my wide experience, security guards exaggerate any perceived threats, whereas police have more common sense and are on the lookout for real issues.

* There is a long and tedious tradition in Australia of padding out debates, speeches and other verbal correspondence with entirely context-free dictionary definitions. Each time I have written to a NSW member of parliament on an issue, the reply usually comes back like a 4th-grade report copy-pasted from a website. On top of that the usual response is to state that the matter I am complaining about is forbidden because "it's against the law". Well thank you for that clarification.)

1 comment:

  1. I have heard of two more cases of dog owners being ejected from Bennelong Point since I wrote this post. One of them this year.

    The Opera House draft by-laws for 2010 still prohibit animals.


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