Walking Class Heroes
Walk a mile in my shoes
Three City workers are the stars of a poster campaign celebrating Sydney as a walking city.
Here they share their everyday tales of walking on the job.
Shane Pinter is a street sweeper, USU union delegate and member of the Joint Consultative Committee. He has been with Cleansing and Waste for 14 years. Steps in a shift: 18,361.
“My duties change from day to day. Today I’m on the afternoon shift and cleaning the streets, picking up rubbish, predominantly from the footpath.
“People consider council workers approachable and they’ve got an opinion to share on just about everything – your job, God, politics, Clover, bike lanes.
“You’re considered part of their community, part of the city, part of the street. People see us every day and we become like family. There’s a little old lady who lives near Surry Hills and she’ll go out of her way to tell you how wonderful you are. I look forward to seeing her and getting my hug, even if she’s 85 and got no teeth.
“I really enjoy being a member of the Joint Consultative Committee. We meet with the executives each month to give feedback on policy and staff issues. All this is why I love coming to work - you never know what’s going to happen. It’s the city.
“Put on a yellow shirt and take a walk around the city. It’ll open your eyes."
Sophie Golding is an urban ecology coordinator. She has worked for the City since November 2013 overseeing the implementation of the urban ecology strategy action plan. Steps in a shift: 16,003.
"My job is about native planting, creating habitats for native animals and connecting habitats.
"It’s lots of fun. We’ve been really excited about the sighting of bandicoots in Camperdown and Alexandria, powerful owl sightings in Centennial Park and a few blue tongue lizards in Sydney Park.
"A fairy penguin ended up on the steps of the Opera House. He must have been quite surprised, but he was ready for his debut.
"I’m out walking day and night. I look at sites we’re planning to plant on and at night, we survey Sydney’s micro bats – there are 9 different species native to the Sydney area. I’m very lucky, I get to walk in such pretty parts of the city.
"Community engagement is a big part of implementing our plans. We are about changing people’s ideas of what we have and what we can do to keep our native habitats alive and growing.
"What would be amazing is if one day people are walking around the city with binoculars hanging around their necks."
Shadow Rocco is a City ranger who has walked the streets of Sydney for 7 years. Shadow walks between 10 and 12 kms in a shift and cycles from his Coogee home to Pitt Street HQ and back 5 days a week. Steps in a shift: 16,895.
"We’re out on streets most Sydneysiders don’t even know exist - the dead ends, laneways and forgotten alley ways.
"Our job is a moving picture. In 10 minutes you could be having your photo taken with a tourist, being thanked by a family for helping them find a park and being abused by an irate customer who’s received a fine that day.
"I am outside, my office is the streets and I am walking. I’m not an office person.
"You’re always interacting with the public in this job – the uniform is a one stop shop. You’re an encyclopedia, counsellor, guide and tourist map in one. Most of our customers are tourists asking for directions, but they’ll also ask you where’s a good place to eat.
"The worst part of the job is the unpredictability of situations, the aggression and the abuse. But you can’t take it personally: it’s the uniform."
Last updated: Friday, 11 July 2014