Kensington Times: Reply to Residents’ Association Survey

Some Kensington Issues:
We seek your views on what action do you commit yourself to campaign activelyaround.
What do you see as the key issue for residents in the seat of Melbourne generally and Kensington in particular. 
Specific local issues:
Reintroduction of a truck ban in Kensington Rd, Epsom Rd and Macaulay Rd.
Over the last 20 years, there have been various levels of regulation over the use of these roads by heavy vehicles.  A 24/7 ban on heavy vehicles was removed by the Kennett government.  It was replace with a limited access ban by the current government (no trucks between 7PM and 7AM).

It is not the role of Councillors to hold the answers or be responsible to every issue but to give voice and a mechanism for community issues to be properly aired and considered on their merits.  Each precinct does not exist in isolation.  It my belief that Council needs to build a proper process of expert committees that address specific issues.  These committees would have community representatives and persons who are experts in their field on them.  There should be a Transport committee that can oversee council administration and policy development on all forms of transport, Public transport, roads and bicycle network development and review State governmnet polciy as it effects the City.  

Of course issues and concerns over heavy vehicle movements need to be address to protect residential amenity.  Better access to road infrastructure, better planning and alternative need to be properly considered to meet these needs

Mandatory Height overlays

There is strong support for the concept of mandatory building height overlays (in other than declared activity zones).  The ongoing MSS process has also generated both significant interest and concern for residents
What, in your view, would constitute appropriate development in Kensington?
Again there is no one formula that can be applied to address and specific area.  Heritage and development planning controls are important to protect areas of significance.  Council’s role is to oversee the process of community consultation and policy development which should be left to the professional staff and expert in their field to determine.  Residents and stakeholders should have direct input into the committee process.  Any decisions that come from the committees would be subject to final approval by the elected Council were there is no consensus or agreement.    
South Kensington Station and JJ Holland Park
The proposed Metro One link will have a portal in the proximity of JJ Holland Park (The only major open space recreational area in Kensington).  Residents are overwhelmingly opposed to any of the park being used for the portal. 
What is your view on access to or the usage of Holland Park for major infrastructure projects?
Open public space should not be seen as a Publicly Aquiered Resources Kits (PARK) for private or public development. Parks and open public space are sacrosanct and any proposal to impact on their surrounds MUST meet with community approval.
These are issues that need to discussed and resolved by an effective and functioning committee structure ensuring that stakeholders and members of the community are given a voice.  These issues do not just effect Kensington and many of the same issues are confronting all communities across Melbourne.  We have to restore community representation and participation in local democracy.  This is best achieved under the current system through the Council committee structure.  For too long Councillors have been overloaded and expected to sit on all committees and decide on every issue an d in the process they are swamped by the work load. The administration pray on this and use it to direct Council away from the issues that really matter. By divesting a degree of responsibility to the committees Councillors can hopefully focus more of their attention on oversight and further consultation ensuring that the system is functioning and the administration are held to account for their actions and policy development.  Councillors should not sit on expert committees.  They can not be judge and jury of their own proposals.
Childcare Shortage
There is an ongoing shortage of childcare in Kensington.  What would you do to facilitate additional childcare places in and around Kensington?
Again these are issues that need to be address in detail by expert committees responsible for overseeing the development of Council policy and service delivery.  The role of the committee is to facilitate community discussion and planning.  Each local precinct should be entitled to representation and a voice. Members of community organisations wishing to participate in a particular field of expertise can and should be recruited to assist in this role
Council services
What additional services do you think that council should provide to residents?
These are decisions that need to be discussed and determined in consultation with all stakeholders and community representatives. The role of the Council is to facilitate consultation and community participation to try and meet their expectations and needs. It is pointless to just be reactionary to any proposal.  Residents and Businesses need to put forward proposals and be prepared to advocate for them or against them based on its merits. As a Councillor I would not be seeking to impose my views over the process but seek to listen and support the outcomes of the stakeholder consultation assessment process.