Mackay's street of horrors after dark
A MAN staggers up the street letting loose random outbursts of foul language and abuse. He can't keep his balance and doesn't seem to know which way is which. Who knows what potent combination of alcohol or dangerous drugs is coursing through his bloodstream.
His presence and behaviour, caught on video, is a confronting sight you would not expect in a suburban street, but it's one the residents of James St on the fringe of Mackay's CBD don't find unusual. For the umpteenth time, they go through the routine of reaching for the phone, dialling 000.
In the light of day, James St appears quiet and friendly, but if you look a little closer, the glass shattered on the roadway and the chains and locks on the front gates of homes paint a darker picture - one that rears its ugly head soon after the sun goes down.
Young Mackay couple Skye Moore and Cody Hansen have lived in James St for about 18 months but with a six-month- old daughter, they say it's time to get out. They don't have anywhere to go yet, but say anything is better than where they are now and by next Wednesday they will have waved goodbye to James St. They have applied for more than 20 rentals and emergency housing.
Their time in James St has certainly been memorable and they have a few stories to tell at barbecues.
Like the time a man involved in a stabbing nearby jumped their fence and ran through their yard while fleeing police.
Or the time an aggressive man confronted Cody in the driveway for no reason other than to scream racial abuse inches from his face and tell him he was going to 'kill his missus', who he'd just had a huge fight with up the street.
Skye and Cody say they moved into their James St home unaware of the issues, but soon found out about its sordid reputation, attributed to the clientele of a nearby hostel.
"We have been here since April last year... We were young so just moved in where we could. It went downhill from there. The cops come through almost every night picking people up off the street, sometimes until 3am," Cody said.
"There is a fight at least once a week at the hostel car park and they take it up the street, yelling and screaming at each other. Apparently the street has always been this way. Our landlord told us the house next door was a drug den before he bought it.
"Night time is the worst. You can pretty much tell when people will start stumbling past. As soon as 9-10pm hits, there will be at least 10 people in the street. It's a combination of males and females of all ages - we have 12-year-olds in the street at 12am.
"Mowing the yard, I'm always finding broken glass. We need to get out of here before our daughter Laura gets too old. We want her to be able to play in the yard safely without being exposed to that."
Skye and Cody say they understand the hostel management can't control what goes on outside the property, but the entire neighbourhood is tired of living in fear.
"It's just getting a bit ridiculous. When the poor guy a few doors up had just moved in, he didn't realise he had to lock his gate and someone was there trying to break into his car. Everyone goes through this and everybody is honestly sick of it.
"This would be up there on the list of the worst streets in town. We've learned not to go outside at night."