Melbourne’s War Horse: The battle to remove Horse and Carriages from the City

The City of Melbourne – Engineering Services has embarked on a campaign of harassment and intimidation of Melbourne’s Horse and Carriages.

Instead of supporting the Horse and Carriages the Administration is trying to run them out of town.  

Previous elected City Councils have rejected the move,  recognizing the contribution and value the Horse and Carriage Street Traders provide to Melbourne Tourism and the vitality of the city. 

Having spent 100’s of millions of dollars on Swanston Street the Street still is lacking appeal or vitality. The Administration blame the Horse and Carriages for Swanston Streets ongoing failure.  The problem is not the Horse and Carriages.  Sitting down at the corner of Finders Street and Swanston Street outside St Paul’s Cathedral on a weekend and you soon realize the interest and enjoyment that the horses and carriages bring to the City. 

Reflection on an era past, our history and heritage on a family day out or a romantic evening

Melbourne stands alongside Paris, Prague and New York and is the only Australian Capital City that has Horse and Carriages in the City Centre.

The Horse and Carriages represent our heritage they remind us of the early days of the city’s past when horse and carriages were the main stream of transport, a chance to experience a bit of history that made Melbourne.

Those that can afford to take a ride in a carriage enjoy the atmosphere that only a carriage ride can give as they ride down Swanston Street to the Shine of remembrance past the flower clock the Art Gallery and Concert hall.  A half hour Carriage tour of the City can accommodate a family of six to eight people or provide a slow paced ride for that special romantic moment for two to remember.

Children and Family Tourists in particular enjoy seeing the horses in the city centre. The smiles and expression of excitement that comes over the children’s faces is hard to miss. As one person we spoke to said  “seeing the horses in Swanston street is like seeing a a bit of the Melbourne show every day of the year”.

Since the departure of the State Museum from the City Centre there is very little that attracts families with children to visit the City  Apart from the Myers Christmas windows and New Years Fireworks there is not much that excites children visiting Melbourne. The City has become a sterile non-family friendly environment thanks in a large part to our City designers, planners and ill-considered decisions of State Governments past.

The reason why Swantson Street is not working not the horse and Carriages but the administration

The administration Engineering Services has killed off Swanston Street and the town planners have forced families out of the City.  If you bring back families by providing  a reason for children to visit the city then this would have a balance and positive effect on the atmosphere of the Street.

The administrations war against the Horse and Carriage

The administration in their war against the horses have consistently sought to harass the street traders on a daily basis by issuing fines (Some providers have over $10,000 in fines). The council by-laws officers have even harassed members of the public demanding their names and personal details when they are not employed by the Street Traders.

The parking space allocated to the horse and Carriages is restricted to two locations: the site outside St Paul’s between Flinders Lane and Flinders Street and the site opposite the Town hall on the weekend.  The administration want the Street traders to move to the Queen Ann Garden precinct. A site that is removed from the city centre and  lacks commercial viability. 

Half of the parking space allocated for the Horse and Carriages in Swanston Street is taken up by Police vehicles that use Swantson Street as a department car park.  This has placed pressure on the Traders who have nowhere to park so they stop on the other side of the road outside Young and Jackson’s whilst they wait for a spot to become vacant on the other side of the road.  The City Council is quick to have bylaw officers drop in and issue a fine $100 for parking in a non-authorised location and a further $1000 for breach of their permit.  Police vehicles and taxis illegally parked in the horse and carriage parking area are never fined.

The problem is the administration not the elected Council

It is important to note that the harassment and opposition to the Street Traders is not coming from the elected Council, the problem is the administration.

The administration hold meetings behind closed doors. Policy discussion is not open to the public and there is no open transparent consultation with the Street Traders or the general public.

Christmas can be and is a danger zone for public policy.

The administration seek to drive the horse and carriages from the City Centre by pushing through their policy to outlaw them, taking advantage of the lead-up to Christmas and the honey moon period of newly elected Councillors.

Councillors Kevin Louey, Ken Ong, Richard Foster, Beverely Pinder-Mortimer and Jackie Watts all support the continuance of Horse and Carriages in the City .  It is unclear where the Lord Mayor -Robert Doyle, Deputy Lord Mayor – Susan Riley, or Councillors Arron Wood and Stephen Mayne stand on the issue, but we believe they are also supportive of the Street Traders.

The Green “Christmas Grinchs”, Councillors Cathy Oak and Rohan Leppert, are opposed to horses and any other form of transport except bicycles and trams in the City.

Our Street Traders, the horse and carriage operators are an asset not a blight.   

What the Council needs to do is support our Street Traders, not harass them, The Street Traders want the City Council to relocate responsibility for Street Trading from the Engineering Services Department and place them under the auspice of the department responsible for Tourism and business where they rightly belong.

Melbourne’s War Horse: The battle to remove Horse and Carriages from the City

The City of Melbourne – Engineering Services has embarked on a campaign of harassment and intimidation of Melbourne’s Horse and Carriages.

Instead of supporting the Horse and Carriages the Administration is trying to run them out of town.  

Previous elected City Councils have rejected the move,  recognizing the contribution and value the Horse and Carriage Street Traders provide to Melbourne Tourism and the vitality of the city. 

Having spent 100’s of millions of dollars on Swanston Street the Street still is lacking appeal or vitality. The Administration blame the Horse and Carriages for Swanston Streets ongoing failure.  The problem is not the Horse and Carriages.  Sitting down at the corner of Finders Street and Swanston Street outside St Paul’s Cathedral on a weekend and you soon realize the interest and enjoyment that the horses and carriages bring to the City. 

Reflection on an era past, our history and heritage on a family day out or a romantic evening

Melbourne stands alongside Paris, Prague and New York and is the only Australian Capital City that has Horse and Carriages in the City Centre.

The Horse and Carriages represent our heritage they remind us of the early days of the city’s past when horse and carriages were the main stream of transport, a chance to experience a bit of history that made Melbourne.

Those that can afford to take a ride in a carriage enjoy the atmosphere that only a carriage ride can give as they ride down Swanston Street to the Shine of remembrance past the flower clock the Art Gallery and Concert hall.  A half hour Carriage tour of the City can accommodate a family of six to eight people or provide a slow paced ride for that special romantic moment for two to remember.

Children and Family Tourists in particular enjoy seeing the horses in the city centre. The smiles and expression of excitement that comes over the children’s faces is hard to miss. As one person we spoke to said  “seeing the horses in Swanston street is like seeing a a bit of the Melbourne show every day of the year”.

Since the departure of the State Museum from the City Centre there is very little that attracts families with children to visit the City  Apart from the Myers Christmas windows and New Years Fireworks there is not much that excites children visiting Melbourne. The City has become a sterile non-family friendly environment thanks in a large part to our City designers, planners and ill-considered decisions of State Governments past.

The reason why Swantson Street is not working not the horse and Carriages but the administration

The administration Engineering Services has killed off Swanston Street and the town planners have forced families out of the City.  If you bring back families by providing  a reason for children to visit the city then this would have a balance and positive effect on the atmosphere of the Street.

The administrations war against the Horse and Carriage

The administration in their war against the horses have consistently sought to harass the street traders on a daily basis by issuing fines (Some providers have over $10,000 in fines). The council by-laws officers have even harassed members of the public demanding their names and personal details when they are not employed by the Street Traders.

The parking space allocated to the horse and Carriages is restricted to two locations: the site outside St Paul’s between Flinders Lane and Flinders Street and the site opposite the Town hall on the weekend.  The administration want the Street traders to move to the Queen Ann Garden precinct. A site that is removed from the city centre and  lacks commercial viability. 

Half of the parking space allocated for the Horse and Carriages in Swanston Street is taken up by Police vehicles that use Swantson Street as a department car park.  This has placed pressure on the Traders who have nowhere to park so they stop on the other side of the road outside Young and Jackson’s whilst they wait for a spot to become vacant on the other side of the road.  The City Council is quick to have bylaw officers drop in and issue a fine $100 for parking in a non-authorised location and a further $1000 for breach of their permit.  Police vehicles and taxis illegally parked in the horse and carriage parking area are never fined.

The problem is the administration not the elected Council

It is important to note that the harassment and opposition to the Street Traders is not coming from the elected Council, the problem is the administration.

The administration hold meetings behind closed doors. Policy discussion is not open to the public and there is no open transparent consultation with the Street Traders or the general public.

Christmas can be and is a danger zone for public policy.

The administration seek to drive the horse and carriages from the City Centre by pushing through their policy to outlaw them, taking advantage of the lead-up to Christmas and the honey moon period of newly elected Councillors.

Councillors Kevin Louey, Ken Ong, Richard Foster, Beverely Pinder-Mortimer and Jackie Watts all support the continuance of Horse and Carriages in the City .  It is unclear where the Lord Mayor -Robert Doyle, Deputy Lord Mayor – Susan Riley, or Councillors Arron Wood and Stephen Mayne stand on the issue, but we believe they are also supportive of the Street Traders.

The Green “Christmas Grinchs”, Councillors Cathy Oak and Rohan Leppert, are opposed to horses and any other form of transport except bicycles and trams in the City.

Our Street Traders, the horse and carriage operators are an asset not a blight.   

What the Council needs to do is support our Street Traders, not harass them, The Street Traders want the City Council to relocate responsibility for Street Trading from the Engineering Services Department and place them under the auspice of the department responsible for Tourism and business where they rightly belong.

Big Fish Seeking a Bigger Pond

Updated:

Maverick Councillor Steven Mayne in his first motion before the Council calling on the City of Melbourne subscribe to the Municipal Association of Victoria and that he be appointed the Council’s representative to the association.  A move that will costs Ratepayers in excess of $33,169. (Money that was not included in the 2012-2013 City Budget and the recommendation even bypassed Council’s Finance Committee

Councillor Mayne has been given chair of governance and finance and even more disturbing Greens Councillor Rohan Leppert Deputy Chair.  

Carlton ALP member, Cr Richard Foster was denied an economic portfolio and has been sidelined by being allocated Transport and People City. 

In another hidden appointment Greens Councillor Cathy Oake was reappointed as the Council’s nominee to International Council for Local Environment Initiatives (ICLEI) and it’s Oceania Regional Executive Committee .  What is of greater concern is that the City of Melbourne is picking up Councillor Oake’s expenses.  The costs include numerous international trips and junkets to attend ICLEI’s executive meetings – each flight generating enough green house gases generated by a family in year. Why they can not just telecommute is any ones guess, ICELI is more about junkets and marketing than the environment. The Enviro Fest Travel set.

There are ongoing concerns and questions asked as to why the Council is picking up the tab for a third party organisations executive costs and why these costs are not being paid for by the association itself.    Similar concerns were raised with expenses related to former Green Crs David Risstrom and Fraser Brindley. No doubts this is part of the Council’s inducement and payouts of Councillor appointments.  You scratch my back and I will scratch yours.

A tell-tale sign of the Greens true committement towards the environment is the failure of the Greens to take on Waste Management in the City.  Newly elected Greens Counicllor Rohan Leppert prefering instead to chair the socialite portfolio of Arts and Culture. Waste Management and the Environment come a distant second on the Greens portfolio list unless there is a junket or two.

The Council’s all-up “Future Melbourne” committee structure is designed to distract councillors from the real game and to lock out community representation. Smoke and Mirrors.  Most decisions are  held behind closed doors and made under “delegation”. 

There is no clear structure or reporting on what decisions have been  made in the name of the council.  There is no published public register of delegations or even the need to report on decisions made under delegations, all of which should be readily available on the council’s web site.

The newly elected Council failed to review the delegation lists. If the public don’t know what delegations are in place what confidence can we have that the elected Council knows what decisions have been delegated.  The signing of a blank check with little to no accountability.

Council has made a small micro step towards Council becoming more open to the public.  Meetings will now commence at 5:30PM not 5:00PM as was previously the case.  This still locks out most community input. 

The holding of council meetings on Tuesdays means they miss the local media deadlines and there still is no single local media outlet that covers the entire City.  South of the Yarra is ignored and forgotten as are most of the local precincts.

The City Council made no effort towards  establishing net-casting of Council meetings, something that in today’s technological world should be already in place by now. When it comes to information about governance the Council’s web site has little to offer is is under utilised. Teh guiding principle is do as little as possible and nmo more then is required under legilsation

The published Councillor expense statements do not show the full picture with many costs, payments and benefits afforded Councillors hidden from public view. 

Our City council will go to any extent to avoid disclosure and accountability. Nothing has changed and the newly elected council looks set to maintain the established tradition. Maybe Stephen Mayne will address this issue but I would not be holding my breath.  I doubt open and transparency is on his agenda.

Big Fish Seeking a Bigger Pond

Updated:

Maverick Councillor Steven Mayne in his first motion before the Council calling on the City of Melbourne subscribe to the Municipal Association of Victoria and that he be appointed the Council’s representative to the association.  A move that will costs Ratepayers in excess of $33,169. (Money that was not included in the 2012-2013 City Budget and the recommendation even bypassed Council’s Finance Committee

Councillor Mayne has been given chair of governance and finance and even more disturbing Greens Councillor Rohan Leppert Deputy Chair.  

Carlton ALP member, Cr Richard Foster was denied an economic portfolio and has been sidelined by being allocated Transport and People City. 

In another hidden appointment Greens Councillor Cathy Oake was reappointed as the Council’s nominee to International Council for Local Environment Initiatives (ICLEI) and it’s Oceania Regional Executive Committee .  What is of greater concern is that the City of Melbourne is picking up Councillor Oake’s expenses.  The costs include numerous international trips and junkets to attend ICLEI’s executive meetings – each flight generating enough green house gases generated by a family in year. Why they can not just telecommute is any ones guess, ICELI is more about junkets and marketing than the environment. The Enviro Fest Travel set.

There are ongoing concerns and questions asked as to why the Council is picking up the tab for a third party organisations executive costs and why these costs are not being paid for by the association itself.    Similar concerns were raised with expenses related to former Green Crs David Risstrom and Fraser Brindley. No doubts this is part of the Council’s inducement and payouts of Councillor appointments.  You scratch my back and I will scratch yours.

A tell-tale sign of the Greens true committement towards the environment is the failure of the Greens to take on Waste Management in the City.  Newly elected Greens Counicllor Rohan Leppert prefering instead to chair the socialite portfolio of Arts and Culture. Waste Management and the Environment come a distant second on the Greens portfolio list unless there is a junket or two.

The Council’s all-up “Future Melbourne” committee structure is designed to distract councillors from the real game and to lock out community representation. Smoke and Mirrors.  Most decisions are  held behind closed doors and made under “delegation”. 

There is no clear structure or reporting on what decisions have been  made in the name of the council.  There is no published public register of delegations or even the need to report on decisions made under delegations, all of which should be readily available on the council’s web site.

The newly elected Council failed to review the delegation lists. If the public don’t know what delegations are in place what confidence can we have that the elected Council knows what decisions have been delegated.  The signing of a blank check with little to no accountability.

Council has made a small micro step towards Council becoming more open to the public.  Meetings will now commence at 5:30PM not 5:00PM as was previously the case.  This still locks out most community input. 

The holding of council meetings on Tuesdays means they miss the local media deadlines and there still is no single local media outlet that covers the entire City.  South of the Yarra is ignored and forgotten as are most of the local precincts.

The City Council made no effort towards  establishing net-casting of Council meetings, something that in today’s technological world should be already in place by now. When it comes to information about governance the Council’s web site has little to offer is is under utilised. Teh guiding principle is do as little as possible and nmo more then is required under legilsation

The published Councillor expense statements do not show the full picture with many costs, payments and benefits afforded Councillors hidden from public view. 

Our City council will go to any extent to avoid disclosure and accountability. Nothing has changed and the newly elected council looks set to maintain the established tradition. Maybe Stephen Mayne will address this issue but I would not be holding my breath.  I doubt open and transparency is on his agenda.

Loss of Trust: The de-democratisation of the National Trust

National Trust of Australia (Victoria) members attending Saturday’s Annual General Meeting criticized the board for the de-democratization of the National Trust, a decision that that could very easily reignite the division and distrust in the National Trust Executive.

The board, without consultation with the membership, had acted to remove a thirty year tradition of electing members of the board by proportional representation –  replacing it by a first-past-the-post ‘multiple cross’ voting system.  This did not become an issue of contention this year as members of the Board were re-elected unopposed, whoever under a first-past-the-post voting system the board runs the risk of no longer being representative of the Trust membership.

The National Trust Board has promised to re-look at the question with the aim of taking the issue back to the Trust members although no commitment was given by the Chairman, Dr. Graeme L Blackman OAM, that the board would in fact do so.

This issue could become divisive and may see the Trust divided as it was back in the late 1990’s when the board, to the dismay and outrage of its members, overturned the recommendations of the Trust’s Expert Committee opposed to the development of the Museum at the Royal Exhibition Buildings.

Loss of Trust: The de-democratisation of the National Trust

National Trust of Australia (Victoria) members attending Saturday’s Annual General Meeting criticized the board for the de-democratization of the National Trust, a decision that that could very easily reignite the division and distrust in the National Trust Executive.

The board, without consultation with the membership, had acted to remove a thirty year tradition of electing members of the board by proportional representation –  replacing it by a first-past-the-post ‘multiple cross’ voting system.  This did not become an issue of contention this year as members of the Board were re-elected unopposed, whoever under a first-past-the-post voting system the board runs the risk of no longer being representative of the Trust membership.

The National Trust Board has promised to re-look at the question with the aim of taking the issue back to the Trust members although no commitment was given by the Chairman, Dr. Graeme L Blackman OAM, that the board would in fact do so.

This issue could become divisive and may see the Trust divided as it was back in the late 1990’s when the board, to the dismay and outrage of its members, overturned the recommendations of the Trust’s Expert Committee opposed to the development of the Museum at the Royal Exhibition Buildings.

Dividing the Cake: Portfolio Allocations just before Christmas

New Council portfolio responsibilities

Tuesday, 13 November 2012 
Source: Melbourne.vic.gov.au

At the first Future Melbourne Committee meeting of the new Melbourne City Council tonight, Councillors approved the following portfolio allocations:

  • Planning portfolio – Chair Cr Ong, Deputy Chair Cr Mayne
  • Finance and Governance portfolio – Chair Cr Mayne, Deputy Chair Cr Leppert
  • Arts and Culture portfolio – Chair Cr Leppert, Deputy Chair Cr Pinder-Mortimer
  • Major Projects portfolio – Chair Lord Mayor, Deputy Chair Cr Ong
  • Transport portfolio – Chair Cr Oke, Deputy Chair Cr Foster
  • Environment portfolio – Chair Cr Wood, Deputy Chair Cr Oke
  • Economic Development portfolio – Chair Cr Louey, Deputy Chair Cr Wood
  • Marketing Melbourne portfolio – Chair Cr Pinder-Mortimer, Deputy Chair: Deputy Lord Mayor
  • Knowledge City portfolio – Chair Cr Watts, Deputy Chair Cr Louey
  • People City portfolio – Chair Cr Foster, Deputy Chair Cr Wattts

These portfolio appointments will be officially confirmed at the 27 November Council meeting.

Comment:
We will be watching with much interests the developments of the Finance and Governance Committee.  Will they hold the Council to account or will they follow in the footsteps of past Councillors such as Greens Councillor Fraser Brindely and continue to hold behind close doors secret meetings with decisions implemented under delegations.  The first task they should be embarking on is a review of delegated authorities and the establishment and publication of the delegation registry and the decisions made so that the public knows what is going on.  The second task is the webcasting of all public meetings.

It seams that the Council has fallen into the mistake of having Councillors sit on all committees.  Each Councillor having at least two Committees.  There appears no mention or consideration of appointing outside experts and community representatives onto the Council advisory committees.   (A big mistake)  What experience and knowledge Rohan Leppert has on Governance and Finance is anyone’s guess.

The real test will be in the next month as we enter the Delegation danger zone.  the time of year when the administration sneak in decisions that they want little to now scrutiny.  New Councillors will be busying finding their way around and they keep busy tied up and engaged in the Christmas cheer.  This is the period where the most controversial decisions are made., the period when the public and media’s attention is else where.  Journalists take a break, talk back radio is replaced by the cricket and the administration get away with what ever they want.

Its not just dangerous on the road but also in the council chamber.  Councillors are introduced to the free booze bar and the Lord Mayor’s nose looks more and more like Santa. 

Dividing the Cake: Portfolio Allocations just before Christmas

New Council portfolio responsibilities

Tuesday, 13 November 2012 
Source: Melbourne.vic.gov.au

At the first Future Melbourne Committee meeting of the new Melbourne City Council tonight, Councillors approved the following portfolio allocations:

  • Planning portfolio – Chair Cr Ong, Deputy Chair Cr Mayne
  • Finance and Governance portfolio – Chair Cr Mayne, Deputy Chair Cr Leppert
  • Arts and Culture portfolio – Chair Cr Leppert, Deputy Chair Cr Pinder-Mortimer
  • Major Projects portfolio – Chair Lord Mayor, Deputy Chair Cr Ong
  • Transport portfolio – Chair Cr Oke, Deputy Chair Cr Foster
  • Environment portfolio – Chair Cr Wood, Deputy Chair Cr Oke
  • Economic Development portfolio – Chair Cr Louey, Deputy Chair Cr Wood
  • Marketing Melbourne portfolio – Chair Cr Pinder-Mortimer, Deputy Chair: Deputy Lord Mayor
  • Knowledge City portfolio – Chair Cr Watts, Deputy Chair Cr Louey
  • People City portfolio – Chair Cr Foster, Deputy Chair Cr Wattts

These portfolio appointments will be officially confirmed at the 27 November Council meeting.

Comment:
We will be watching with much interests the developments of the Finance and Governance Committee.  Will they hold the Council to account or will they follow in the footsteps of past Councillors such as Greens Councillor Fraser Brindely and continue to hold behind close doors secret meetings with decisions implemented under delegations.  The first task they should be embarking on is a review of delegated authorities and the establishment and publication of the delegation registry and the decisions made so that the public knows what is going on.  The second task is the webcasting of all public meetings.

It seams that the Council has fallen into the mistake of having Councillors sit on all committees.  Each Councillor having at least two Committees.  There appears no mention or consideration of appointing outside experts and community representatives onto the Council advisory committees.   (A big mistake)  What experience and knowledge Rohan Leppert has on Governance and Finance is anyone’s guess.

The real test will be in the next month as we enter the Delegation danger zone.  the time of year when the administration sneak in decisions that they want little to now scrutiny.  New Councillors will be busying finding their way around and they keep busy tied up and engaged in the Christmas cheer.  This is the period where the most controversial decisions are made., the period when the public and media’s attention is else where.  Journalists take a break, talk back radio is replaced by the cricket and the administration get away with what ever they want.

Its not just dangerous on the road but also in the council chamber.  Councillors are introduced to the free booze bar and the Lord Mayor’s nose looks more and more like Santa. 

Dividing the Cake: Portfolio Allocations just before Christmas

New Council portfolio responsibilities

Tuesday, 13 November 2012 
Source: Melbourne.vic.gov.au

At the first Future Melbourne Committee meeting of the new Melbourne City Council tonight, Councillors approved the following portfolio allocations:

  • Planning portfolio – Chair Cr Ong, Deputy Chair Cr Mayne
  • Finance and Governance portfolio – Chair Cr Mayne, Deputy Chair Cr Leppert
  • Arts and Culture portfolio – Chair Cr Leppert, Deputy Chair Cr Pinder-Mortimer
  • Major Projects portfolio – Chair Lord Mayor, Deputy Chair Cr Ong
  • Transport portfolio – Chair Cr Oke, Deputy Chair Cr Foster
  • Environment portfolio – Chair Cr Wood, Deputy Chair Cr Oke
  • Economic Development portfolio – Chair Cr Louey, Deputy Chair Cr Wood
  • Marketing Melbourne portfolio – Chair Cr Pinder-Mortimer, Deputy Chair: Deputy Lord Mayor
  • Knowledge City portfolio – Chair Cr Watts, Deputy Chair Cr Louey
  • People City portfolio – Chair Cr Foster, Deputy Chair Cr Wattts

These portfolio appointments will be officially confirmed at the 27 November Council meeting.

Comment:
We will be watching with much interests the developments of the Finance and Governance Committee.  Will they hold the Council to account or will they follow in the footsteps of past Councillors such as Greens Councillor Fraser Brindely and continue to hold behind close doors secret meetings with decisions implemented under delegations.  The first task they should be embarking on is a review of delegated authorities and the establishment and publication of the delegation registry and the decisions made so that the public knows what is going on.  The second task is the webcasting of all public meetings.

It seams that the Council has fallen into the mistake of having Councillors sit on all committees.  Each Councillor having at least two Committees.  There appears no mention or consideration of appointing outside experts and community representatives onto the Council advisory committees.   (A big mistake)  What experience and knowledge Rohan Leppert has on Governance and Finance is anyone’s guess.

The real test will be in the next month as we enter the Delegation danger zone.  the time of year when the administration sneak in decisions that they want little to now scrutiny.  New Councillors will be busying finding their way around and they keep busy tied up and engaged in the Christmas cheer.  This is the period where the most controversial decisions are made., the period when the public and media’s attention is else where.  Journalists take a break, talk back radio is replaced by the cricket and the administration get away with what ever they want.

Its not just dangerous on the road but also in the council chamber.  Councillors are introduced to the free booze bar and the Lord Mayor’s nose looks more and more like Santa. 

Nightmare on Swanston Street: Design Madness – What not to do..

Melbourne’s Swanston Street’s recent  26 Million dollar make over is a major safety hazzard and a classic case of poor design. It’s hard to believe they got a design ward for the streetscape. Just goes to show you can get an award for anything.

Tram Stops Blocking Emergency Access.

Starting with the Tram ‘Super Stops’ come bicycle ramp.  Whoever came up with the design should be sacked or sent into academia.  It is a classic ‘What not to do” in urban design.  Placing the stops in parallel has placed the precinct at risk.  If trams are on each side of the road there is no way an emergency vehicle can get access or pass the trams without having to crash over the footpaths and ramps.  If they remained diagonally staggered fire trucks, ambulances and police could weave through. In an emergency, where every second counts, just hope you’re nowhere near Town Hall.

Call a Litigation Lawyer

The Tram stops are an accident waiting to happen.  The raised profile does not fit.  Z Class tram’s front entrance is a serious safety hazard with passengers running the risk of having their foot trapped between the tram and the platform There is no warning. You alight from the tram and you fall into a hole if you’re not careful. Should you be unfortunate to be a victim of bad design call a lawyer.  The Council and designer would most certainly be liable. Yarra Trams must be worried as they also could be held to be liable for any accident.

Street lights of shame. 

Swanston Street has a new set of ‘Stainless Steel’ Street lights. The design, nominated for an award, is totally useless in Summer.  They are positioned and so tall that they are hidden in the tress foliage and cast little light on the street.  The designer thought of form before function.

Seats of steel

Swanston Street also has new street furniture. The new seats are made from Stainless steel and cost a pretty penny.  No expenses spared for Bamboo Rob Adams design team folly.  Being polished Stainless steel they will show up every scratch and rub as time goes by.  What’s worse, in the midst of a hot summer day, in the full sun they are scalding.  Sit down at your own risk  As Melbournians will tell you Melbourne get hot in Summer with temperatures in the mid 30’s to 40s. Even hotter in the full sun. You cold toast a bun on these heat sinks.

How much more must we spend on Swanston Street before they realize that it is not working? Will we have to wait until Rob Adams retires and hope that his predecessor will not following in his golden footsteps. King Ludwig he is not.  The sooner Professor Adams retires into academia the better.