Council backflips after 'appalling' error in street sign revealed - but there's a twist

A Sydney council has fixed an error on a sign in one of the city's most elite beach suburbs, only to embarrassingly introduce a new mistake, writes Adam Lucius.

The old street sign reading South Steyne Rd (left) and what it was corrected to (right).
The local council has backfliped after mistakenly putting up a sign misnaming a Manly street, however, they inadvertently introduced a new error when they erected the new signage. Source: Supplied

Nothing irritates ratepayers and residents more than local councils getting involved in areas of which they know little about — and stuffing it right up.

Anger levels rise even further when work no-one asked for ends up costing time and money that could have been better spent elsewhere.

Sometimes it pays for councils to let sleeping dogs (as long as they are leashed and away from breeding plover birds) lie.

Manly beach.
Manly ratepayers were outraged by the change. Source: Supplied

Sydney's Northern Beaches Council (NBC) couldn’t help getting involved in solving a problem that didn’t exist and fixed one mistake only to create another.

And it all started with just two letters on a sign.

Let me explain.

The strip of road running along the Manly beachfront has been commonly known as South Steyne for well over 150 years.

It took its name from the Steyne - or "Steine" - from Brighton, England, via the founder of Manly, Englishman Henry Gilbert Smith.

Businesses along that stretch, including international brands Wahlburgers — founded by Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg — and Ben and Jerry's, carry "South Steyne" in their address.

Three businesses displaying South Steyne in their address Alice Dumpling Bar (left) Wahlburgers (centre) and Edify (right).
Many business were using South Steyne in their addresses. Source: Supplied

For reasons that remain unexplained, NBC recently erected a new street sign along South Steyne and overlooked 100-plus years of history by renaming it.

Overnight, South Steyne became South Steyne Rd.

Locals with a keen eye for history — not to mention a radar for tautology — were flummoxed.

One outraged resident wrote on a community Facebook page: "Appalling. What next NBC, The Corso Lane? Manly Wharf Wharf? If you must put up signs at least carry out due diligence."

"If you are a Manlyite, you would know the roadway along the waterfront has always been known as North Steyne and South Steyne, intersected by the Corso."

But he was countered by another member of the group, who insisted South Steyne Rd was right.

"Fail to understand the issue. It's correct," the poster responded.

Except it wasn't.

After Yahoo News Australia sought clarification from NBC, the sign was quickly amended.

We were told: "Council has reviewed the street name and (can) confirm the ‘Rd’ in the street sign is not required". "A replacement sign has been installed this morning. It was a simple error."

Now you see it, now you don't.

But here comes the kicker.

In fixing up one mess, council created another.

With the "Rd" on the South Steyne sign now safely covered up, restoring the strip to its former glory, some genius at council okayed a "North Steyne"; sign on the same pole pointing north.

New street sign.
The new sign points out where North an South Steyne are, but there's a catch. Source: Supplied

Problem is, that's not where North Steyne starts.

Never has.

It begins 100 metres or so up the beachfront.

Cue more outrage and incredulity.

One frustrated ratepayer vented: "I would love to know how much of our money council has spent in the past two years correcting the absolute catalogue of mistakes they have allowed to happen. It's embarrassing!"

It sure is.

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