What a difference a community campaign makes

[By Sue Bolton] Residents were shocked the day before the May council meeting to see workers arrive unexpectedly to dig up a small and much-loved local park, Methven Park in Brunswick East. It turned out that the workers were there to start building a public toilet on the only part of the park that gets the afternoon sun and in the middle of one of the two small strips of grass. Continue reading

Fawkner residents campaign against toxic site

[By Sue Bolton] Fawkner residents have formed Toxic Free Fawkner, to oppose development on the old Nufarm factory site at 102 McBryde St Fawkner and call for an independent environmental audit of the site and the surrounding sites. The group’s first public meeting showed the community concern with 95 people packing out the Fawkner Senior Citizens Centre on May 11 to hear speakers about the toxic Nufarm chemicals site at 100 and 102 McBryde St Fawkner and the development application for 102 McBryde St. Continue reading

Why I voted against the council budget

[By Sue Bolton] The draft council budget was voted up on May 22. On May 23, right-wing councillor Ali Irfanli wrote on Facebook that I had voted against public consultation on the Moreland Council budget.

I voted against the draft budget because I disagreed with some measures in it. I certainly don’t oppose public consultation on the budget. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am consistently the councillor who most pushes for genuine consultation with residents.  Continue reading

Report on May 10 Moreland Council meeting

[By Sue Bolton] This is a snapshot of some of the issues voted on at the May 10 Moreland Council meeting.

Allowances for mayor & councillors
I believe that politicians’ incomes should be linked to either the median or average wage. I proposed a motion that the allowance for the mayor should be linked to the median wage ($43,836) and councillors’ allowances should be half that to reflect that the position is part-time ($21,918). I opposed the per annum allowances of $94,641 for the mayor and $29,630 for councillors, and proposed an alternative motion that the allowances should be linked to the median wage for all Australians of $43,836 for the mayor and half that for councillors ($21,918). There was no support for my alternative motion.  Continue reading

Developer ignores concerns about toxic site in Fawkner

 [By Sue Bolton] Toxic sites in Australia are not well known or well managed. One such site is the old Nufarm chemical factory site in Melbourne’s northern suburb, Fawkner.

The factory operated from 1957 to 1974, making a wide range of noxious chemicals including dioxins; DDT; toluline-based emulsifiable concentrate; phenoxyacetic acid herbicide; 2,4-D; 2,4,5-T; esters; dichlorophenol and trichlorophenol and arsenic-based sheep dip.  Read more at Green Left Weekly.

Report on April 12 council meeting

[By Sue Bolton] Issues that were discussed at the April 12 council meeting included:

Toxic site in Fawkner: A development application has been lodged to build warehouses on a toxic site in Fawkner (102 McBryde St). Corporate giant Nufarm used to produce dioxins and other dangerous chemicals on 100 & 102 McBryde St from 1957-1974. The Fawkner Broadmeadows Progress Association fought to have the factory closed down. They eventually succeeded but then had to wage an almost 20-year battle to get the site cleaned up. The discovery of a cancer cluster in the area was what finally got the EPA to do an environmental audit and order clean-up notices. The factory was demolished, with some contaminated soil removed and the site was capped but illegal building work has occurred on the site over the years. Residents are concerned that construction work would have to penetrate the clay cap and that this would release the toxins again. Continue reading