March AGM Report and Demolition Update

RAID@3051 AGM – was held on Wednesday, March 9th at the North Melbourne Recreation Centre Auditorium.  The meeting was well supported by the RAID community.  Dr Darragh O’Brien, Chair of the Inner Melbourne Planning Alliance (IMPA) – of which RAID is a member – was the guest speaker on the important topic of public participation on the planning and development that is changing 3051.  Some key points, which generated discussion from the floor, included:

  • defining ’condensed’ v ‘spread out’ city
  • densification can result in ‘City Rd’ model – no active street frontage; little/no space between buildings
  • currently the community comes in at the ‘tail end’ as objectors
  • opportunistic developers work within the limitations of the planning policies without necessarily considering the infrastructure impact of the development
  • AMSP and C190 provide some positive directions eg. aspiration for a green neighbourhood feel for ‘city edge’ suburbs like North Melbourne and Kensington; however there are challenges with the legal instruments eg. mandatory heights and setbacks conflicting with the aspiration
  • what is needed is a ‘conversation’ as to what the community wants the city to be and guidelines for architects to work within when advising developers – for all parties there needs to be a degree of certainty
  • individuals and communities can make a difference.

2.       Update on the Woolworths demolition

The demolition of the factory building on the Woolworths site commenced on January 4, 2016 and demolition has effectively been continuous six days a week aside from a week in late February when the site was closed down and a ‘stop work’ order posted.  RAID remains unclear as to why the order was required despite seeking advice from City of Melbourne Officers.  Ongoing demolition work continues today.  A perimeter fence has been constructed in the past week as all of the factory buildings have been demolished.

RAID members are keeping a watching brief over the site and raising issues with CoM Officers and Councillors as they arise – or before they arise – as a pre-emptive measure in the case of traffic management around the site.  RAID is aware that a development site of this size requires approval of a Construction Management Plan (CMP) which includes, among other matters, a detailed plan for traffic management at all stages of the demolition and construction phases.

Note that the permitted hours of work within the City of Melbourne are Monday to Friday from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm and Saturday from 8.00 am to 3.00 pm.  Any work outside of these hours requires an out of hours permit to be issued. Workers are permitted to be on site prior to this time however must not undertake any building work.  Any issues can be reported to the City of Melbourne on 9658 9658.

Finally, RAID continues to seek advice on the status of any new plans which may be submitted for the site; and on the VCAT prescribed conditions to the permit to be met.  The lack of community consultation remains a major issue.


3.       RAID presented at the Managing Residential Development Advisory Committee

RAID was represented at the Minister for Planning’s Managing Residential Development Advisory Committee Hearing on April 27th and the presentation focused on addressing the terms of reference as to a review of process including community consultation.  In particular the emphasis put was on gaining an appreciation of, and respect for, the importance of community groups in informing planning policy and planning decisions; an exploration as to why community groups form in response to planning matters; the need to consult using effective strategies so that the community voice is heard; the need for plain English explanations and unpacking the complex planning language and processes when the majority of community group members are not planning experts.

The presentation also noted examples of what RAID considers to be the inconsistent application of the Residential Zone criteria in North Melbourne by the City of Melbourne and compared this to how other inner city municipalities had identified and designated significantly higher percentages of the more protected Neighbourhood Residential Zones within their areas.  In closing a series of review requests were posed for consideration by the Panel members.  The outcomes from the Advisory Committee deliberations will be reported to the Minister for Planning.


4.       Renewal of RAID membership

Thank you to RAID members who have are renewed their membership for 2016 or are joining for the first time.  The March AGM endorsed maintaining the joining fee at $1.00 and the membership renewal fee at $1.00.  For renewing or new members please refer to the attached membership / membership renewal forms.  Please download, complete and include the membership fee and send to PO Box 2007, Hotham Hill, 3051 or leave in the letter box at 42 Canning Street, North Melbourne.

Your ongoing support is appreciated.