Residents steam over hot water shutdown in Brownlie Towers

Residents Committee secretary Lorraine Chalon and president Sylvia Brandis.
Water pooled on level one from a leaking water pipe
Water drips down onto the footpath from a leaking water pipe
Ms Chlalon's laundry sink is often clogged, her bathroom floods regularly when she does a load of washing
The footpath where the water pipe burst
The office tenants went to learn about the Bentley Regeneration project is now closed.
Residents Committee secretary Lorraine Chalon and president Sylvia Brandis. Water pooled on level one from a leaking water pipe Water drips down onto the footpath from a leaking water pipe Ms Chlalon's laundry sink is often clogged, her bathroom floods regularly when she does a load of washing The footpath where the water pipe burst The office tenants went to learn about the Bentley Regeneration project is now closed.

BROWNLIE Towers has had no hot water for 24 hours.

Sylvia Brandis, president of the Residents Association, has spent many of those hours on the phone to the Housing Association, trying to get it fixed.

Once the issue is lodged, she was told, the problem could take another 24 hours to rectify.

The water had been shut off in the 300-unit buildings the day before, after a water pipe burst under a path in the communal area, something that has been happening for decades.

But when the water was turned on again, it only ran cold.

Ms Brandis and association secretary Lorraine Chalon lament the lack of upgrades to the buildings beyond cosmetic improvements.

In the almost 11 years since the Bentley Regeneration project was announced, they have been waiting in increasingly sparse surrounds where amenities have been demolished and the promise of new facilities remains just that – only a promise.

“We want action, and we want honesty,” said Ms Chalon, who moved in to Brownlie Towers in 1995.

“I’ve been here 26 years, and there have been a lot of changes. Brownlie Towers has had its ups and downs – 80 per cent for the good and as the years go by it is getting better and better.”

When she first arrived, the then-nicknamed ‘suicide towers’ was another world; Ms Chalon witnessed people jumping from the upper levels to their deaths and other days she would see bodies on the pavement in the morning when she left to start her day.

“It is so much better now, from 2004 I have felt very safe here,” she said.

The problems have by no means been eradicated; youths ride dirt bikes on the property at night and squatters have moved into the complex.

Recently a man set up home in a stairwell. His mother had been a resident there but he stayed on even after she left.

“It was scary sometimes when he’d take drugs and dance in the communal areas, but he has gone now,” Ms Chalon said.

The social problems are far less prolific than they once were, but that is inconsequential to Ms Brandis and Ms Chalon – Brownlie Towers is their home.

The slow progress of the Bentley Regeneration Project has taken its toll on the pair, who want to make their home social, dynamic and inclusive.

Ms Brandis said she wanted to see the building to start and the ongoing razing of old amenities – including the upcoming demolition of the old aquatic centre – to be quickly followed by construction of amenities.

“When are we going to start seeing progress made? We want answers,” she said.

“I have had to deal with a new housing minister as often as I change my underclothes and I want answers.”

Ms Chalon said the stripping of amenities had been detrimental to the older tenants who became more isolated as shops and services shut down.

“I want what they promised… we would love to see what was promised, I would love to see the shopping centre for all the residents who can hardly walk,” she said.

“They’ve changed the regeneration sign about five times, it always look good but we don’t care about the sign we want action, we want what was promised to us.”

And, a hot shower.

Housing has been approached for comment.