Retrofitting the West
Council is participating in a fantastic initiative led by the City of Maribyrnong to supply, and install a suite of residential retrofit services to maximise state and fed rebates currently available eg. solar hot water, free energy/waste/water assessments/green loans info/insulation etc
Aboriginal Artefacts in Brimbank
After many months of trying to get Council to facilitate contact with Aboriginal Affairs to acknowledge a local resident (in my ward) who has discovered aboriginal stone tools along our local section of creek, Aboriginal Affairs are finally coming to Brimbank to take a look next week!
I have called a community meeting for this Wednesday night with our local Greens branch to discuss the Ombudsman’s report and other local emerging issues in Brimbank. This will be the first time the community has had a chance to discuss these important issues in a public forum like this.
Sunvale PS site
This is a complex issue that on the face of it looks like it supports increased housing development in an area that is close to a train station etc and would be in line with Greens policy. I have opposed the Council’s position on this development because on closer inspection it is simply supporting a sell off of the primary school site to developers. There has been no consultation with the Sunshine community over the development of this site but the community have been continually asking for it. When community members became aware of the possible sale, SUNRAA wrote on their behalf to both the Minister and Brimbank Council CEO Nick Foa to outline what they thought the site should be used for. When Council conducted the ‘Creating Better Parks’ community consultations the participants were unequivocal about the need for more open space and community meeting facilities.
Now that Council has decided it will work with the Sunshine community to advocate to the State Government to keep the Sunvale site for community use, I believe we need to ensure that Council’s desire for a partnership is genuine.
We will not be successful in this campaign if we cannot work together and genuinely listen to the needs of our community. When community members became aware of the possible sale, they were led to believe a separate discussion on the development of the site would take place. This has not happened.
Nevertheless when Council conducted the 'Creating Better Parks' community consultations the community said loud and clear that it needs more open space and community meeting facilities
They did not say they wanted a sell off to developers.
Even though councils current position says its preferred option is 0.8 of a hectare retained for public open space, it also says it is open to negotiation and it does not stress the importance of us getting a better deal because of severe disadvantage
It also concerns me that the report is saying we advocate for affordable housing without specifying what that is.
We all know that affordable housing/social housing can mean a multitude of things – none of which have been properly discussed with our community. It can mean a sell off to developers who are going to build what they can most cheaply to maximise their profit. It can mean social housing with tenants that are in supported accommodation. It can mean public housing and it can mean housing that is owned by welfare groups.
The only genuine affordable housing is public housing. But again if this is what we want there needs to be proper consultation - because we all know it has been done very badly in the past .
And if it was going to be public housing, it has to be a project of high quality, attractive, environmentally sensitive houses that you and I would like to live in and that ensures a mix of people live there.
If we push this through as it is we will be missing an opportunity to work with our community and together lobby the state government for a fantastic opportunity to have a great community asset Ecoliving centre support Council recently voted to support the construction of a CERES of the west by VU on council land (for a peppercorn rent).
Watergardens Priority Development Panel (PDP)
Recently Minister Madden has given the building approval process back to Council! We can only hope he is feeling the pressure from community groups all over Victoria...and there will be more of this happening in the immediate future. This step has meant that Council has been able to renegotiate a land deal for community hub/youth space and because of this we look like getting a much better position for the space.
Unfortunately prior to this, the PDP has worked hard to push Council to support increased retail floor space for this gross and unsustainable development. At the last meeting of Council we adopted a recommendation to accept that increase in the retail floor space at Watergardens Shopping Centre. The increase is something the developer, QIC, have been wanting badly as it has enabled them to secure a Myer department store.
While it might sound great to shoppers to have a new Myer in the area, developments like these are not good for local jobs or for the sustainability (walk-ability or liveability) of a neighbourhood. They mean that the shopping centre is 'inward looking' (i.e. an inside development that you have to drive to) rather than being a real town centre that interacts with the local neighbourhood and provides truly local services.
The Sunshine community is very well aware of what happened to its vibrant shopping strip in Hampshire Rd when Council allowed the development of the 2 monstrous shopping centres to be built along the edge of the precinct - and we are now faced with more of the same poor development decisions at Watergardens.