[By Sue Bolton] Issues that were discussed at the August 10 meeting of the Moreland Council included:
Development in Moreland – A report was presented which showed that a record number of planning permit applications were received and determined in the 2015-2016 financial year. Over the past 5 years planning permit application numbers have increased by 31%. There has also been an increase in enforcement cases against builders for breaches of permits, but there is still a big backlog.
Footpaths in Coburg – People will have noticed that the Coburg footpaths on Sydney Road have been in a bad state for a long time. A contractor has finally been selected for the job of upgrading the footpaths in the area.
Pentridge Masterplans – Council voted to start work with the developers to review the Pentridge masterplans. I managed to get an amendment included that the review allow for community consultation and consider heritage, including improved setbacks from heritage building walls and other structures, sightlines from the public realm of important buildings like D Division, the preservation of the recently discovered panopticons, more open space, lower density, public realm improvements including landscaping, traffic management and good sustainable design including affordable and accessible housing.
Audit of all Pentridge Developments – With the developers planning a conglomeration of high-rise towers for Pentridge, and with local residents not knowing what has been approved on the site, I moved a motion for an audit of which sites have permits attached and for how many storeys in Pentridge. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a seconder so my motion lapsed. I will put the motion up again.
Amendment C160 (1-9 Moreland Road) – A developer wants to rezone 1-9 Moreland Road for a development. Local residents are opposed to the plan as it could lead to a corridor of 4-6 storey buildings facing Merri Creek as well as having a very negative impact on traffic and the amenity of nearby residents. The report on this was deferred.
Hopetoun Avenue Park Reserve, Brunswick West – Residents in Brunswick West are in danger of losing a section of Hopetoun Avenue Reserve which backs onto the Moonee Ponds Creek in Brunswick West. Melbourne Water is seeking Ministerial fast tracking to rezone Lot 1B from Public Park and Recreation to Residential. I moved a motion for the council to lobby the state government to cease work on re-zoning and to request that the land be gifted to the council to be retained as open space. The motion was carried.
Christmas Decorations – The Herald Sun has been running a campaign against the Moreland Council, saying that it is banning Christmas. This is because the council took a decision to have an approach of celebrating Christmas and other special occasions to other faiths. Council also decided that they wanted a more spectacular Christmas lighting display so instead of investing in Christmas decorations all over Moreland, they decided to only have Christmas decorations in the three main activity centres – Brunswick, Coburg and Glenroy. I received some calls from residents which indicated to me that some residents would misinterpret this decision and unfairly blame the Muslim community for the decision. So I moved a motion for Council to receive a report to include Fawkner amongst the centres to get Christmas decorations.
Moreland Food System Framework – A report on a Moreland Food System Framework that provides a framework for community gardens and other food security plans was deferred to a future council meeting.
Preventing Family Violence in Moreland Strategy 2016-2020 – Council adopted a Preventing Family Violence in Moreland Strategy 2016-2020 to respond to family violence.
Buskers – One of the other councillors put up a motion for a review of regulations regarding buskers, and which recommended the City of Melbourne’s busking policy. I am worried that this may result in an overly restrictive policy but we’ll have to wait and see what comes back.