Stop the War on Cars

Call for review of Melbourne’ Bicycle Network

Community activist and Lord Mayor Candidate Anthony van der Craats (The Light on the Hill Team) has called for a review of the La Trobe Street ‘closed lane’ bicycle path and the banning of bicycles along the Yarra Promenade..

La Trobe Street and the Bicycle Network planning and its rollout has been a complete disaster with the City Council spending 10’s of millions of dollars engineering congestion.’

Council has to restore two lanes of traffic along La Trobe Street to get traffic flowing again.  To do this it either has to remove the existing bike path or remove the adjacent car parking along La Trobe Street.

Outside peak hour less than 20 bicycles use Latrobe Street per hour.

Engineering Services in Melbourne has declined significantly over the last eight years.  The Council is no longer managing traffic instead it is Engineering congestion

Mr van der Craats said that the Copenhagen closed bike lanes have not improved safety and that disabled, elderly and family computers Safety has been placed at risk as a result.

There are better alternatives that cost much less and are better for all users.  Swanston Street is a good example. The Northern end of Swanston Street has a painted line delineation that allows bicycles to travel outside the ‘car dooring zone’, it works, whilst the Southern end between Queensberry Street and Victoria Street is a commuters nightmare.

Similar problems exist with the St Kilda bike lane opposite the Art Galley.

Disabled computers visiting the Art Galley or Gardens can not park safely and as a result are being discriminated against.  For the cost of the 330 metre St Kilda Road strip the Council could have installed a safer more user friendly ‘line delineated’ bike path all the way along St Kilda Road to the Junction.

Yarra River Promenade an accident waiting to happen

Mr van der Craats has also called for bicycles to be banned from the Yarra Promenade as they are a risk to pedestrian and public safety. It is only a matter of time before a serious accident occurs and the Council will be held responsible.

Six months ago the Yarra North Bank walkway was not designated a shared bike path. Now, without consultation, signs have mysteriously appeared and speeding cyclist have turned it into a cyclist speedway.

Council must review and rethink its policy. Other road users needs and consideration must be taken into account.

The Council failed to consult other users most notably Disability advocates, the RACV and motorcycle users all who have been severely impacted on by a poorly design bicycle network.  The Council only consulted bicycle users and held meetings in coffee shops. Alternative designs and solutions had not been properly considered.

It is time to STOP THE WAR ON CARS and to properly manage Melbourne’s road network.

State government to build new Docklands, North Melbourne, Albert Park, Fishermans Bend schools

MORE than 5000 new student places will be created over the coming years including four new schools in Melbourne’s inner-city.

Education Minister James Merlino this morning announced work would start immediately on acquiring a site for a new primary school in Docklands, which would cater for between 450 and 500 students.

The government will also identify sites for a primary school at North Melbourne, a primary and secondary school at Fishermans Bend, and secure a site to expand Albert Park College.

“Melbourne is one of the world’s most liveable cities and we are making sure it remains that way by building new schools and upgrading existing schools for families in the inner city,” Mr Merlino said.

“We know that enrolment growth right across Melbourne and Victoria is just extraordinary. By 2020, we will have one million students in Victoria.

“Over the next five years we need to accommodate 90,000 additional students. We are seeing that pressure right here in the inner-city, in the growth corridors of Melbourne and in our growing regional cities.


Education Minister James Merlino. Picture: Valeriu Campan

“We are meeting this demand but there is so much more to do.”

The government has identified five sites for the Docklands primary school and is expected to purchase land within six months.

Mr Merlino did not rule out vertical schools for the sites and said public private partnerships would also be considered.

There is no set timeline on when the school will open, but Mr Merlino said he anticipated it would be about two years.

“We will move to purchase a site within six months and that will inform our budget process”’ he said.

Inner-city enrolled entry boundaries will also be changed so Docklands families can send their children to Ferrars Street Primary School and University High School.

Mr Merlino said the Andrews Government was going further than the Docklands School Provision Review and stage two of the Inner City Schools Package, released this morning.

Albert Park MP Martin Foley said: “This investment means we will meet the growth in our existing communities making access to education easier to our families.”

anthony.galloway@news.com.au

The City of Melbourne should invest in speeding up the roll out of the NBN

ALP member and candidate for the City of Melbourne today called on the City Council to invest in speeding up the roll-out of the NBN to the City’s residents and businesses.

Mr van der Craats, an IT systems analyst, said that the City’s Residents and businesses are being left behind in the information revolution and that access to high seed internet connection is paramount for Melbourne. The NBN must be accessible to all parts of the City, including South Yarra, East and North Melbourne, Carlton, Parkville and Kensington.  If the Federal Government is unable to give the City priority then it is up to the City Council to step in and invest in Melbourne’s infrastructure.

http://www.nbnco.com.au/connect-home-or-business/check-your-address/outside-rollout.html

 

 

Infrastructure Victoria’s congestion tax for Melbourne CBD is not the way to go

Source: Herald Sun

A CAR congestion tax, including inner-city suburbs as well as the CBD, is guaranteed to destroy business and shopping, turning the city into a no-go zone.

Drivers who have no alternative in crossing the city would be the victims of heavy price gouging. The taxes could range from $2 to $3 a trip, depending on how close drivers come to the CBD.

Such a regressive tax would achieve nothing except to further frustrate motorists and commercial vehicle operators. The tax would strangle the city, not open it to commerce, as people turn to outer-suburban shopping centres; much to the cost of major retailers, such as Myer and David Jones.

The Infrastructure Victoria proposal would be a disaster for a city already being strangled by Premier Daniel Andrews’s decision to tear up the contracts on the East West road-and-tunnel link that would have prevented the traffic chaos caused by cars turning off the Eastern Freeway where it meets Hoddle St.

Ironically, Infrastructure Victoria was created by the Andrews Government to “take short-term politics out of infrastructure planning’’. That hasn’t worked. He must reject what are the recommendations of his brainchild.

Instead of proposing a tax that will become an impost on business as it drives motorists away, the government must open new arteries across the city.

Not only must the abandoned East West Link be revived, the government must look towards a North East Link to connect the metropolitan freeway and tollway systems and a completed ring road around Melbourne.

The Infrastructure Victoria plan, with its key proposals over the next 30 years, suggests offloading the costs to taxpayers when there are other ways to achieve access to a metropolis of the future.

One of the reasons for a new pricing regime is the cost of future mega projects. The East West Link, which has already seen $1.2 billion of taxpayers’ money wasted on payments to contractors, has had a cascading economic effect, leaving Premier Andrews struggling to find an alternative to the second stage of the multi-billion-dollar project that would have eased congestion on the West Gate Bridge with a second Yarra River crossing.


Premier Andrews ‘has already had the best day of his troubled two years’.

A $5.5 billion proposal by CityLink operator Transurban comes at a cost of extending extend tolls on the system for at least a decade, as well as leaving the government about $2 billion short. Premier Andrews insists he has the money for this and the $10.9 billion Metro rail project running under Swanston St and the Yarra with five new stations.

The cost has been spread over future Budgets, but what the government has failed to take into account is the cost blowouts in projects of this magnitude. Construction on the Metro project starts in 2018 but does not finish until 2026.

The call for a wideranging and costly congestion tax can be seen as a recognition that money is likely to run out and motorists and commercial operators left to carry the burden.

Premier Andrews has already had the best day of his troubled two years in government with the windfall of $4.5 billion to $5 billion on the 50-year lease of the Port of Melbourne.

The $6 billion that was expected to come from the Port of Melbourne lease was to be spent exclusively on the removal of the state’s 50 worst level crossings; however, the government has already admitted to a potential blowout of $1 billion.

The government has not been helped by being short-changed by the Turnbull Government under its asset recycling program. Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison says the program has closed and Victoria will get only $877 million, not the $1.4 billion it should receive after Mr Andrews promised the extra money from the Port of Melbourne lease would be spent only on transport infrastructure projects.

But flagging massive regressive taxes on motorists is unacceptable and may bankrupt some city businesses and turn metropolitan Melbourne into a beleaguered fortress city.


Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison says the asset-recycling program has closed.

GREENS JOIN CAR WARS

CAR-hating Greens have come up with a new tactic. The Greens are speeding up their campaign against cars by slowing them down, in policies being taken to the Melbourne City Council elections.

Greens may wear suits but they are the tree huggers of old. Their war against cars, if it is to succeed, will drive business as well as cars out of the CBD. A speed limit of 30km/h and a congestion tax will destroy business, coupled with bike lanes along St Kilda Rd to the south of the city and Royal Parade to the north.

Turning cars into a niche mode of transport and the CBD into a carless precinct is the Greens’ destructive aim. The 30km/h speed limit is the latest front in their anti-car strategy and includes a congestion tax to make it financially unviable to do business in the city.

Motorists will avoid the CBD, taking their business and their custom to outer suburbs and leaving the city to pedestrians and cyclists.

Candidate Profile – Jim Ward

Candidate Profile

Team: Light on the Hill
I live in West Melbourne and have come to know and love the city, from the laneway coffee shops, to the city streets, parks and Victoria Market, which is about 150 metres from our front door.
It is a matter of great concern to me that residents’ voices should be heard. The
Council must be guided by the needs of the many, particularly those who call the city home.
The decisions made now dictate not only the present, but also the legacy we leave for future generations.
I am a survivor of the Longford Gas Explosion, and faced the torment of being blamed for the death and destruction that ensued. I learnt a lot about persistence and the
value of fighting for beliefs during the protracted battle which ultimately cleared my name.
I work in Occupational Health and Safety for a Union and have post-graduate qualifications in that area. If elected, I will fight for transparency and sensible decision-making that will shape a brighter future for the treasure that is Melbourne. My email address is jmwrd1@gmail.com.
Our team website is thelightonthehillteam.com.
Follow me or like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @lonniejim

City of Melbourne’s X-MAS nightmare for ex-resident

The City of Melbourne has issued a fine for not voting at the 2012 Municipal election even though they were not entitled to remain on the municipal role.

The person concerned had moved house in the weeks before the October 2012 Council and as such lost her entitlement to vote. Earlier this year the City of Melbourne issued fines for not voting. Appalled by council’s administrative error they wrote to the City of Melbourne and informed them that she did not live within the municipality at the time and as such was not entitled to vote.

The City Council wrote back rejecting her application to have the fine revoked and increased  the fines value.  A situation that has caused considerable stress resulting in her having to seek medical attention and delays in paying her rent in the days leading up to Chirstmas.

The Melbourne City Council failed to explain on what basis they rejected her request to have the fine revoked.

The matter now has to go to court in order to right the wrong.  More stress and more costs involved.

VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1989 – SECT 11
Entitlements relating to enrolment     (1)     A person can only be enrolled on the voters‘ roll of a Council if the person is a resident in the municipal district of the Council or a ratepayer to the Council exercising an entitlement under and in accordance with this Division.

METRO councils are under fire for spending more than $100 million a year on generous salaries for a small army of senior bureaucrats.

Source:HeraldSun

Melbourne City Council is the top employer with more than 130 senior officers earning at least $130,000 a year, including 18 executives getting $200,000-plus.

The council copped flak earlier this year when it increased CBD on-street parking fees by nearly 40 per cent and introduced a $5 fare for its tourist shuttle bus.

A Herald Sun analysis of 19 metro councils, which have released their annual reports, reveals they have more than 500 staff classed as senior officers earning $130,000-plus salaries.

The revelation comes just weeks after a major State Government survey found that more than 90 per cent of Victorians believed their councils could improve, with low scores given for management of roads, population growth and planning policy.

In 2012-13, the City of Melbourne spent $21.3 million on senior officer salaries, with CEO Kathy Alexander the state’s highest-paid municipal executive on a package of about $440,000.
Ratepayers Victoria president Jack Davis said that too much of councils’ rates revenue went into administration.

“We have far too many people employed by councils but not many workers,” he said.

“There are too many officers whose big salaries can’t be justified.”

Dr Alexander said that Melbourne was a major council with a budget of $450 million and more than 1200 staff, including senior roles like divisional directors, branch managers and senior project staff.

“The national and international accolades the City of Melbourne has this year received in areas such as city safety, sustainability and climate change adaptation are an indication of the leadership, significant professional and technical expertise and experience of our staff,” she said.

Dr Alexander said the number of senior officers had increased by 19 since last year but this was existing staff who had moved into a higher pay scale after an EBA wage rise.

“The figures quoted in the annual report relate to a total employment package that includes salary, superannuation, vehicles and leave loading,” she said.

Among other councils, outer south-eastern Casey had 31 officers earning $130,000-plus, including five getting more than $200,000.

Boroondara had 27 staff in the senior officer category, with four people getting at least $200,000, while Port Phillip, Greater Dandenong and Knox had 25 staff on the senior salary package.
Of the councils surveyed, Nillumbik had the least senior officers, with six, including two on $200,000-plus packages.

Council Domain: Non-existent planning leaves South Yarra high and dry

the City of Mlebourhe has still failed to address residents South of the Yarra concerns over planning.

Changes to Melbourne’s Planning Scheme was sidelined by Coucnil Staff who were caught out sleeping on the job.  

Previously licenced premises such as a tavern along Domain Road required a planning permit now they are an as of right use.

Domain Road should not be in a C1Z (Commerial 1 Planning Zone)

State member Clem Newton-Brown is yet to address this issue. 

When the zoning changes were gazetted late July Domain Road “strip shopping precinct” should have been moved into a Mixed Use zone but regretfully has been “upgraded” to the new Commercial 1 zones

Information  published on the Council’s web site states:

About the changes

On 15 July 2013 the Minister for Planning introduced new commercial zones and modified industrial zones into all planning schemes in Victoria.

Replacement of the Business Zones with new Commercial Zones

The five business zones were consolidated into two new commercial zones:

  • the Commercial 1 Zone replaced the Business 1, Business 2 and Business 5 Zones
  • the Commercial 2 Zone replaced the Business 3 and Business 4 Zones.

Generally the new commercial zones broaden the range of activities that are allowed, without the need for a planning permit and remove existing floor area restrictions.
The Commercial 1 Zone (PDF, 135kb)

  • Allows tavern, hotel, and gaming premises without a planning permit, unless in a strip shopping centre where gaming premises are prohibited (a permit for a liquor license will however still be required).
  • Removes permit requirements for all retail uses (except for adult bookshop)
  • Removes permit requirements for all accommodation uses (other than a corrective institution, which is prohibited) subject to satisfying a 2 metre frontage condition
  • Exempts buildings and works from notice and appeal rights, unless the land is within 30 metres of a residential zone, a hospital or an education centre.

Melbourne City Council weighs up value of Lord Mayor Robert Doyle’s planned US trip

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has been invited to a summit in New York.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has been invited to a summit in New York. Source: News Limited

 
Source: Herald Sun
  LORD Mayor Robert Doyle is set to jet off overseas on a ratepayer-funded trip to New York next month.

Melbourne City Council will meet next Tuesday to decide whether or not to give the Lord Mayor the green light for the trip to the United States.

Cr Doyle will be handed a kitty of $3500 for the one-week jaunt if it is given the go-ahead.

The cash will go towards accommodation and expenses, according to council agenda notes.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has invited Cr Doyle to a summit on how to make cities more livable, sustainable and healthy.

Costs for the trip will be met from the existing 2013-2014 annual plan and budget allocation, the notes state.

Cr Doyle famously announced “no junkets” as his election platform in 2008, which he later clarified to mean he was opposed to trips that showed no benefit to the public.

He did not make the same commitment last year when he was re-elected in a landslide.

The agenda notes state: “This is an unprecedented invitation for the City of Melbourne.

“The Lord Mayor will be in a pivotal position to showcase the city’s achievements.”
Last month Cr Doyle rubbed shoulders with Boris Johnson when the London Mayor visited Melbourne.

In 2009 Cr Doyle stayed in a $1200-a-night hotel suite while in Copenhagen for global climate talks.

On that occasion city ratepayers paid more than $50,000 for the trip and a stop-off in London.

david.hurley@news.com.au