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COM Heritage Policy review

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Despite our submissions to Council during the course of the review of its heritage policy, the resulting draft  failed in our view to achieve the necessary protections for South Yarra. Accordingly, enclosed is our response to that draft dated 3 March 2016. –
Following discussions with Councillor Rohan Leppert who we briefed and who took a supportive interest in the issues, a meeting was arranged with the senior planners handling the matter for Council. In particular, the President of MSYRG Michael Butcher and local resident Paul McSweeney, met with Robyn Hellman, who is a senior administrator dealing with Planning Scheme amendments.  Attached is our letter to her dated 16 May requesting specific changes to the draft as it affected South Yarra.
Read this letter here – HellmanLetter16-5-16
We are yet to receive a reply from Ms Hellman, however Councillor Leppert will speak to us at our member’s meeting on 9 June 2016 about these important issues affecting South Yarra.
Cr_Leppert
Councillor Rohan Leppert

City of Melbourne Act review and Council Elections

By | Local Government, Melbourne City Council, Planning, State Government, Uncategorized | No Comments
Readers will recall that when the State Government announced a review of the Local Government Act and City of Melbourne Act we lodged a submission in December last year requesting an urgent review of the law relating to the forthcoming City of Melbourne elections to be held in October this year.
The City of Melbourne has its own, unique, Act that governs the way that the COM operates. The Local Government Act covers other non-COM councils.
The MSYRG said we did not want a repeat of the 2012 elections when Mayor Doyle and his team received over $400,000 in donations from property developers and others with the resulting taint of undue influence and corruption.
The usual outcome of this large scale conflict of interest by Doyle ticket councillors is that a quorum at important planning meetings is not achieved because those on the ticket have had to remove themselves from participating in the matter they are conflicted upon. This has the effect that rather than the matter being deliberated by councillors, supported by submissions from members of the public at an open meeting, a relevant planning matter is dealt with administratively behind the scenes by officers of the City of Melbourne. Open discussion is effectively stymied and untoward outcomes ensue.
Ratepayers expect that Councillors will do their job and contribute in a fair and equitable manner to critical council meetings and not be struck out because they have accepted donations from entities that are seeking planning approval from the COM.
Despite further requests from us particularly following the reported offer by Councillor Ong to pay the Lord Mayor $200,000 to be part of his team at the coming elections, nothing has been heard from the Minister for Local Government.
We were eventually able to arrange a meeting with the Minister’s senior local government adviser where we again pressed for change, including to the law relating to donations, but it is now clear no change will be made in time for the 2016 Council elections.
Attached is our further submission relating to proposed changes to certain regulations relating to the coming elections and our letter to the adviser following our recent meeting.
We have also been attending Council meetings that allow questions from members of the public and have been pressing Lord Mayor Doyle to refuse donations from property developers and to to disclose all donations as they are  received. Doyle has refused to provide assurance that he will not accept developer donations and and his responses to this important matter upon direct questioning have been sadly inadequate with much ongoing deflection of central arguments relating to clear and transparent processes.
Our letter to the Minister for Local Government can be found here – Hutchins
Our submission to the State Government re changes to the Local Government act can be found here – SubmissionToStateGovt5-5-16

Goodrest Appeal – VCAT Hearing scheduled for April 2016

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The appeal against the use of Goodrest as a pre-school centre is continuing and is to be heard at VCAT in April. The proposed development raises very important issues for local residents. The MSYRG has contributed to the considerable cost of the appeal. The group would encourage all those concerned with the impact this development will have on the residential amenity of our increasingly over trafficked area of South Yarra area to do the same. Please contact  Neil Gunn on 0418 435811 to make your contribution.

ANZAC Day Dawn Service road closures

By | Events, Traffic, Uncategorized | No Comments

In recent years, and particularly 2015, areas of South Yarra have been inundated with persons parking illegally and damaging trees and median strips whilst attending the ANZAC Day Dawn Service. Domain Street has been most affected by this activity. An attempt to dissuade persons from parking on the central median strip and damaging young Tulip trees was made last year by placing large green tree watering bollards on the granitic sand between the trees on the central road islands. These were simply bulldozed out of the way by enthusiastic drivers who then pinned the bollards between the tow bars of their 4WD utes and the trees themselves causing just as much damage. The MSYRG has encouraged the CoM to take the next step and that would be closing off Domain Street for 2 hours around the time of the Dawn Service so as to protect these important public assets. The closure should have no effect on residents who will be able to move in and out of Domain Street between 05:30 and 07:30am on 25th April whilst the road closure to non-residents is in place. With any luck, no further damage will be done to trees and infrastructure by careless members of the public and their automobiles. Some examples of Dawn Service parking prowess demonstrated in 2015 can be seen below.

IMG_2727 (1)IMG_2729IMG_2722 (1)IMG_2728 (1)

Protecting the Heritage of South Yarra

By | Heritage, Uncategorized | No Comments

The Melbourne South Yarra Residents Group has as one of its main objectives the desire to protect the heritage nature of South Yarra. To that end, the President Michael Butcher has led the development of a submission to the Melbourne Heritage Review (MHR) intended to clearly describe some of the important heritage features of a number of specific streets in the South Yarra component of the City of Melbourne. It was decided to focus at the outset on a number of streets, or sub-precincts, that had substantially intact heritage features. Additionally we needed the assistance of individual residents – “street captains”  who were able to contribute to the development of the statements of significance for each street. The MSYRG also commissioned the services of heritage architect Nigel Lewis to review and crystallise the individual precinct statements for ultimate submission to the Melbourne Heritage Review.

This project has involved many of hours of meetings, research and some expense to create this document that the MSYRG hopes will be a valuable contribution to the Melbourne Heritage review.

Very importantly, the MHR will be used by the City of Melbourne planning department to guide planning decisions in the future. The City of Melbourne states on its website that “Recognising and protecting the social and architectural heritage that defines our streets and neighbourhoods is an essential part of the City of Melbourne’s planning work”. The heritage review submission that we have made on behalf of all South Yarra residents aims to provide detail about the significant and irreplaceable heritage asset we have here in our midst.

It is important to realise that without the support of members and committee of the MSYRG, this important submission would not be possible and South Yarra would have missed out on vital input from residents who live in and take an interest in the area. Support of the MSYRG by local community is critical to its functioning.

Please take the time to have a read of the MSYRG submission – it outlines some of the rich and important history and of our local community.

MHR submission MSYRG