Blind Faith: Council accepts verbal assurance that new planning regime will not adversely effect residential amenity

Chair of Governance and Deputy Chair of Planning, Stephen Mayne reneges on previous undertaking for the City of Melbourne to provide a comprehensive report on the impact of the State Government’s proposed new planning zones which comes into affect on July 1.

Under the proposed new planning regime all ‘Business zones” will be transferred into a new comprehensive ‘anything goes” “Commercial 1” zone which includes an “as of right use” (No planning permit required) for a tavern and gaming venue.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, Stephen Mayne and other Councillors accepted in blind faith a verbal undertaking given by the Director of Planning, Geoff Lawler, in closed session of council that existing “overlays” in Melbourne’s planning scheme would protect and prevent the establishment of taverns and gaming venues that adversely affect adjoining residential precincts. 

(Clause 22.12 of the City of Melbourne Planning Scheme outlines “Policy” in relation to Gaming venues  and Clause 22.22 which outlines “Policy” in relation to Licensed premises which both reference Business Zones which are being phased out on July 1)

Geoff Lawler in response to requests for a written report reassured the council and public gallery that “developments such as the one proposed for 157 Domain Rd South Yarra and the establishment of a restaurant/tavern last month would not proceed under the new Planning zone provisions”

Mr Lawler failed to outline exactly which overlays and in what way they would protect the residential amenity of South Yarra.

Clause 22.12 and 22.2 are policy guidelines that apply to the consideration of any new Planing permit application. Under the new Commercial 1 zone a planning permit is no longer required for a licensed Food and Beverage premises such as a Tavern, Gaming venue or Nightclub

If, as is feared, a new application is made after July 1 for a change of use and the developer seeks to exercise his new “As right of use” and reinstates a request for a tavern and it later shown that the advice given by Mr Lawler was false then we can expect calls for both Robert Doyle and Councillor Mayne, along with Geoff Lawler, having mislead the public to resign.

Prudence is the best policy not complacency

A verbal nod and a wink is not satisfactory and fails to instill confidence in the City Council administration of planning.

The onus still lies with the City Council and it’s administration to provide a written assessment outlining in detail which provisions of the Melbourne planning scheme Mr Lawler is relying on when giving his advice.

Any Councillor that is prepared to accept verbal advice should also put their job on line.

New Commercial 1 zone to replace Business 1, 2 zones

34.01 COMMERCIAL 1 ZONE

Shown on the planning scheme map as B1Z, B2Z, B5Z or C1Z.
Purpose
To implement the State Planning Policy Framework and the Local Planning Policy
Framework, including the Municipal Strategic Statement and local planning policies.
To create vibrant mixed use commercial centres for retail, office, business, entertainment and community uses.
To provide for residential uses at densities complementary
to the role and scale of the commercial centre.
34.01-1 Table of uses
Section 1 – Permit not required

  • Retail premises (other than Shop)
  • Shop (other than Adult sex bookshop)

The defination of retail premises includes:

  • Food and drink premises
  • Gambling premises
  • Landscape gardening supplies
  • Manufacturing sales
  • Market
  • Motor vehicle, boat, or caravan sales
  • Postal agency
  • Primary produce
  • sales
  • Shop
  • Trade supplies

The defination of Food and drink premises includes:

Convenience restaurant

Hotel
Restaurant
Take away food premises
Tavern

Previously Business 1 zone (To be phased out on July 1) listed under

34.01  BUSINESS 1 ZONE

34.01-1 Section 1 – Permit not required

Food and drink premises (other than Hotel, Restaurant and Tavern)

34.01-2 Section 2 – Permit required

Retail premises (other than Betting agency, Food and drink premises, Postal agency, Shop, and Trade supplies)

Tavern

Doyle Trial by deception. Pushes ahead on Princes Bridge lane closure

Melbourne City Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, thumbed his nose at the community and has decided to push ahead with plans to remove traffic lanes on Princess Bridge to make way for bicycles.

Robert Doyle claims the proposal is a trail by city insiders know this is not the case

The City Council has been criticised by the RACV, business and residents alike with Residents’ South of the Yarra complaining there were not been consulted .  South of the Yarra will be blocked-out from accessing the city as Princes Bridge is the MAIN access point to the City.


The number of cyclists using Princess Bridge is minimal and even less during during off-peak and the non summer periods.

Melbourne’s bike paths have come under considerable community opposition.  It’s bike madness.  The City of Melbourne is Engineering congestion.
 
The push for more bike paths in the City comes from City Engineers Geoff Robinson and Haig Poulson.

Last month the City Council had to defer it’s Road Safety Plan following complaints by Melbourne’s Motorcycle and Scooter riders that they were not consulted in the development of the Traffic management plan.

And it was not just Motorcyclist they were not consulted the City Engineer department also failed to consult Melbourne’s Emergency services, Ambulance or Fire Brigade.  Questions are being asked what impact the lane closure will have on Ambulances accessing the City from the Alfred Hospital?

The proposed lane reduction on Princes has been opposed by the RACV, Motorcycle/Scooter riders, businesses and City residents who have called on the State Government to step in and assume management of the City’s road infrastructure policy development and put a halt on the sheer madness that has engulf our city leaders.
 
The City Council is flushed with cash and the engineering department is keen to spend up big and issue contracts for expenditure that is not required.  

The Queensberry Street and LaTrobe Street bike paths are not working and the intersection of Latrobe Street and Queen Street is an accident waiting to happen.

You only have to travel down Queensberry Street and LaTrobe Street where the Council has spent over 2.6 Million Dollars constructing bike paths that service few bikes.  There is hardly a bike in sight on Queensberry Street yet the council has dedicated a full lane of traffic to bicycles generating congestion in the Street and beyond.

The City of Melbourne has proposed spending additional $300,000 in next years budget on a bike path in Neil Street Carlton. 

We contacted a number of Councillors today and asked them if they had been down Neil Street? They said they had not.  Had they done so they would see that there is no Bicycle traffic or significant car movements in Neil Street that warrants the construction of a $300,000 bike path.  Most bikes use Canning Street not Neil Street.

Robert Doyle is pandering to the wishes of a few at the expense of the majority and in the process demonstrating why he would not have been a good State leader.   

The Princes Bridge “Trial” and lane reduction is another chink in the Armour and is having a negative impact on City businesses .  City Commuters and business will pay the cost for the Council’s engineered congestion,

Doyle pushes for Princes Bridge lane closure

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and the City of Melbourne plans to push ahead with the proposal to reduce traffic lanes in Princess Bridge to allow for the creation of a bike lane amidst opposition from  road users and the local community.

A reported 27,000 motorists use Princes Bridge to access the city a day .  The proposal is to reduced the number of car lanes from two in each direction to just a single lane to create a dedicated bike lane catering for less than 2000 bicyclists.

The Council’s claim to have consulted with stakeholders is false. The Council had consulted with bicycle riders, Vicroads and the RACV but has failed to consult with Motorcyclists, Scooter riders or local residents in South Bank or South Yarra.

Most traffic crossing Princes Bridge heading into the city turn right into Flinders Street and head east and also travel in the reverse direction when existing the city.

The proposed lane closure is expected to increase congestion in the city. The Flinders’ Street/Princess Bridge route is the only route that provides vehicle access to the South Yarra precinct.   Morall’s Bridge to the East which has been closed to vehicular traffic, is for pedestrians and bicyclist only.  The only other nearest means of crossing the Yarra into the City is along Alexander Parade/Swan Street Bride and the Batman Ave. Tollway that travels next to the Tennis Centre and into Exhibition Street.

Alexander Parade/Swan Street Bridge option is already congested with traffic backing up at Swan Street bridge as far back as Princess bridge and the Arts Centre  in peak hour traffic with little easing during the day.   This rout can not absorb any overflow created by Lane closure on Princes Bridge

The other option is for Motorists to travel down South Bank Boulevard around the Casino tuning left at Power Street and across into William Street or turn right and then along Queens Street.  Both of these options will increase travel time for motorists by 20 minutes and further add to city congestion.

The Council could look at constructing an new bridge linking Linlithgow Avenue to Batman Avenue but that would costs Millions of dollars. 

Transport Minister Terry Mulder says VicRoads has jurisdiction over the project.

“VicRoads would have to be consulted for any work that was to be undertaken on that bridge and any impact it would have on the broader road network,” Mr Mulder said.

Last month on 3AW Neil Mitchel Denis Napthine, Victoria’s  Premier, claimed that VicRoads had not signed off on the project.

Opposition spokesperson on Road, Luke Donnellan has also expressed concern over the proposed lane closure.  “The City of Melbourne must put in place alternative routes and measures before it can close down traffic on the bridge. All other options must be considered first.

Melbourne City Councillor Richard Foster echoing the views express by Luke Donnellan has called on the City of Melbourne to implement better line marking and bike path delineation before reducing traffic access to the City.

The City of Melbourne must rethink its proposed lane closure and consult more widely or run teh risk of a community backlash,.  South Yarra residents, who were not consulted, have expressed opposition to the proposal .  Residents are calling on Local State member and former deputy Lord Mayor,  Clem Newton-Brown to put a halt to the project and engaged in more consultation and consider alternative options.

Negligence or Corruption a question on Twitters mind

Questions remain unanswered following last months fatal wall collapse with the City of Melbourne ducking for cover and in lock down mode avoiding responsibility.

According to a City of Melbourne spokesperson a permit is required for the construction of a hoarding on a building site. The City of Melbourne in its statement published on April 9 stated that a permit was not issued for a hoarding on the GroCon Swanston Street building site that collapsed on March 28 killing three pedestrians.

When asked on April 16 if the Council had issued a permit for the NEW hoarding on thee GroCon Swanston Street site and if the Council Officers had inspected the site and if not why not? Councillor Stephen Mayne, Chairman of the Council’s Governance portfolio was unable to answer and took the question on notice.

A week has passed and still the City of Melbourne has not been able to respond to this important and yet simple question.

Questions are being asked if the Council is guilty of contributory negligence for the death of three innocent people by failing to fulfill its statutory obligations and/or if Council staff had received inducements to turn a blind eye to the requirement to issue a permit for the construction of a hoarding?  Both the new and old hoardings were taller then the maximum height of 2.4m listed in the Council’s Construction Management Plan guidelines.

It is a simple question and deserves an answer. 

Council itself, and Councillor Mayne in particular, are now being compromised by the Council’s failing to reply.  Avoiding the question will not make it go away and only serves to undermine public confidence in the City Council’s Administration.

The Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, may also be tainted by the Council’s lack of response with allegations being made that Councillor Doyle is actively seeking to block twitter discussion and review of his administration.

Negligence or Corruption a question on Twitters mind

Questions remain unanswered following last months fatal wall collapse with the City of Melbourne ducking for cover and in lock down mode avoiding responsibility.

According to a City of Melbourne spokesperson a permit is required for the construction of a hoarding on a building site. The City of Melbourne in its statement published on April 9 stated that a permit was not issued for a hoarding on the GroCon Swanston Street building site that collapsed on March 28 killing three pedestrians.

When asked on April 16 if the Council had issued a permit for the NEW hoarding on thee GroCon Swanston Street site and if the Council Officers had inspected the site and if not why not? Councillor Stephen Mayne, Chairman of the Council’s Governance portfolio was unable to answer and took the question on notice.

A week has passed and still the City of Melbourne has not been able to respond to this important and yet simple question.

Questions are being asked if the Council is guilty of contributory negligence for the death of three innocent people by failing to fulfill its statutory obligations and/or if Council staff had received inducements to turn a blind eye to the requirement to issue a permit for the construction of a hoarding?  Both the new and old hoardings were taller then the maximum height of 2.4m listed in the Council’s Construction Management Plan guidelines.

It is a simple question and deserves an answer. 

Council itself, and Councillor Mayne in particular, are now being compromised by the Council’s failing to reply.  Avoiding the question will not make it go away and only serves to undermine public confidence in the City Council’s Administration.

The Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, may also be tainted by the Council’s lack of response with allegations being made that Councillor Doyle is actively seeking to block twitter discussion and review of his administration.

Then and Now: Doyle backs down from Legal Challenge: Decisions by Proxy

Robert Doyle on the run backs down on legal challenge of integrity Then … and Now

Councillors Richard Forster, Rohan Leppert and Stephen Mayne have already reneged on their commitment to Open and Transparent Government


Richard Foster said “he also wanted to increase the public’s perception of the council’s integrity by ending the policy of closing council meetings

 “Doing nothing is not an option“.- Richard Foster “Our Melbourne” @Richo_Foster That is until he was elected. Policy and commitment for Open and transparency out the window. 

Within less than 2 months of being elected @Richo_Foster continued practice of secret meetings behind closed doors locking out the public .

Greens’ Rohan Leppert “there were issues of transparency that needed to be addressed“. Leppert, like that of his predecessor Greens Councillor  Fraser Bindley before him, also supported closed meetings subverting s89 LGA

Self proclaimed “Transparency advocate” and new councillor Stephen Mayne @MayneReport has also continued the practice of secret meetings subverting s89 of the LGA

 
On November 27 The City Council held a “Decision by Proxy” Councillor Forum meeting locking out the public and community.  No reports and no minutes, No accountability.  No Transparency. Policy on the run hidden from public view. 

  • Open and transparent systems permit everyone to make informed choices, and give everyone access to information in an easily understood format

    Accountability is acting responsibly and being answerable for actions taken

    A lack of openness, transparency and insufficient accountability creates the conditions in which corruption flourishes

    The Internet is the ideal medium for cost effective delivery of information maintaining open and transparent government (eGovernance)

       

     

Section 89 Victorian Local Government Act 1989

Meetings to be open to the public
  • 89. Meetings to be open to the public

    (1) Unless subsection (2) applies, any meeting of a Council or a special
    committee must be open to members of the public.

    (2) A Council or special committee may resolve that the meeting be closed to
    members of the public if the meeting is discussing any of the following-

    (a) personnel matters;

    (b) the personal hardship of any resident or ratepayer;

    (c) industrial matters;

    (d) contractual matters;

    (e) proposed developments;

    (f) legal advice;

    (g) matters affecting the security of Council property;

    (h) any other matter which the Council or special committee considers
    would prejudice the Council or any person;

    (i) a resolution to close the meeting to members of the public.

    (3) If a Council or special committee resolves to close a meeting to members
    of the public the reason must be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

    (4) Unless subsection (4A) applies, a Council must at least 7 days before the
    holding of-

    (a) an ordinary council meeting; or

    (b) a special council meeting; or

    (c) a meeting of a special committee comprised solely of Councillors-

    give public notice of the meeting.

    (4A) If urgent or extraordinary circumstances prevent a Council from complying
    with subsection (4), the Council must-

    (a) give such public notice as is practicable; and

    (b) specify the urgent or extraordinary circumstances which prevented the
    Council from complying with subsection (4) in the minutes.

    (5) The Chairperson of a special committee that is not comprised solely of
    Councillors must provide reasonable notice to the public of meetings of the
    special committee.

       

CEO contract up for renewal next year

In what has become Melbourne’s worst kept secret – rumours are abound that Kathy Alexander will not be reappointed CEO next year when her contract expires in 2013.  It is well known that Robert Doyle and his team are not happy with Alexander’s performance.

Sources in the Council’s Governance Department have long been expressing the view that Robert Doyle does not support Kathy Alexander, with reports of ongoing conflict between the CEO and the Office of the Lord Mayor. 

The City Council under Kathy Alexander has been criticised for its lack of openness and transparency with more and more decisions of Council being made behind closed doors and without public accountability. A situation which could leave the City Council open to allegations of corruption and loss of public confidence.

There is no register or public record of decisions made under delegation.

Doyle leading Lord Mayor race is close and still not over

Early analysis with 27,000 votes counted indicates Robert Doyle is set to scrape home with ALP Peter McMullin coming in second place.

The electron count is not finalised and the projected results are subject to final analysis. There are two very close conjunctions between Catherine Ng and Gary Singer, Catherine Ng and the Greens with less the 100 votes difference between the the two. If the Greens survive its a McMullin Doyle toss with Doyle winning.If Ng surveys its still Doyle. Doyle looks unbeatable have caught all the drift.

Inverse donkey vote or well known name. A recount is looking more and more less likely as the count progresses. The only chance of a surprise win is if Singer and out poll Ng but with a gap of 600 votes this is unlikely.

Update: 50% of the vote counted the gap has widened and Robert Doyle looks as if he is unstoppable. There is a close call that keeps changing the order of elimination between Catherine Ng and The Greens but Doyle still comes up trumps.

Candidates Vote Counted Percentage
DOYLE, Robert / RILEY, Susan 8672 26.76%
NG, Catherine / MAKINGS, Terry 3561 10.99%
TOSCANO, Joseph / ELY, Margaret 495 1.53%
COLUMN, Nick / CALDWELL, Sue 1524 4.70%
BAND, Adam / MALTZAHN, Kathleen 4799 14.81%
CRAWFORD, Robert King / KENNEDY, Michael 391 1.21%
ROBERTS, Shelley / FARAH, Abdiaziz 391 1.21%
SINGER, Gary / PAINTER, Joanne 3314 10.23%
FOWLES, Will / WILSON, David 2750 8.49%
McMULLIN, Peter / WILSON, Tim 4035 12.45%
MORGAN, Gary / ANDERSON, Michele 2473 7.63%

Doyle leading Lord Mayor race is close and still not over

Early analisys with 27,000 votes counted indicates Robert Doyle is set to scpare home with ALP Peter McMullin comming in second place.

The elcton count is not finalised and the projected results are subject to final analysis. There are two very close conjuntions between Catheriun Ng and Gary Singer, Catherine Ng and the Greens with less the 100 votes difference between the the two. if teh Greens survive its a McMullin Doyle toss with Doyle winning.If Ng survies its still Doyle. Dpoyle looks unbeatable have caught all the drift.

Inverse doney vote or well known name. A recount is looking more and more less likely as the count progresses. The only chance of a surpise win is if Singer and out poll Ng but with a gap of 600 votes this is unlikely.

Doyle leading Lord Mayor race is close and still not over

Early analisys with 27,000 votes counted indicates Robert Doyle is set to scpare home with ALP Peter McMullin comming in second place.

The elcton count is not finalised and the projected results are subject to final analysis. There are two very close conjuntions between Catheriun Ng and Gary Singer, Catherine Ng and the Greens with less the 100 votes difference between the the two. if teh Greens survive its a McMullin Doyle toss with Doyle winning.If Ng survies its still Doyle. Dpoyle looks unbeatable have caught all the drift.

Inverse doney vote or well known name. A recount is looking more and more less likely as the count progresses. The only chance of a surpise win is if Singer and out poll Ng but with a gap of 600 votes this is unlikely.