[By Sue Bolton] The April council meeting began with about fifty people protesting against plans by the council to cut down a heritage tree in Champ St at the request of the developer. Protestors then marched to the Moreland Civic Centre. They packed into the council chambers to ask questions about whether the council would put a stop to these plans.
Pentridge heritage: Finally, after much public angst and community protest, the councillors are starting to grapple with the problems at Pentridge. There was a report to council on what Pentridge Heritage has been destroyed. I was successful in amending the report to include a request for structural engineering reports on the integrity of the Pentridge Prison wall, and for council to request that the Pentridge Heritage Precinct be listed on the National Heritage List.
Treaty with the Wurundjeri: In a historic vote, I won the support of the majority of councillors (except for one) to begin Treaty discussions with the traditional owners – the Wurundjeri and to call on the federal government to consider a Treaty with the First Nations people. Australia is the only Commonwealth country not to have signed a Treaty with the First Nations people.
Thanks to the Ballerrt Mooroop working group and the Wurundjeri for getting the councillors to take First Nations issues more seriously. Without their efforts, the motion for Treaty would not have been possible.
Renewal notices for disability parking stickers: Council stopped sending reminder notices for the renewal of disability parking stickers last year. This new practice has led to massive problems for many people who need these stickers. I moved a motion for a review of this policy.
Flammable external wall cladding: The Victorian Building Authority released an audit which found that 51% of buildings in the Melbourne CBD and immediately surrounding suburbs used non-compliant external wall-cladding. The audit was the first of its kind in Australia and was in response to a fire at the Lacrosse Apartments in Melbourne’s Docklands in November 2014. The Metropolitan Fire Brigade found that the use of non-compliant aluminium composite panelling (ACP) had contributed to the spread of the fire. The combustible aluminium cladding fuelled the rapid spread of the fire from the 8th storey to the top of the 23-storey tower.
I moved a motion for a report on compliance in the use of external wall cladding in buildings in Moreland.
Construction management: The increase in major building developments within Moreland has led to an increase with issues of poor construction management practices. Residents living near the 146 Bell St 8-storey building site have experienced noise, damage to fences, blocked laneway and the crane jib swinging above adjacent buildings. Council resolved to undertake an independent study into construction management.