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Looking back

Participation an early priority

With the formation of the FRA in 1969, the Committee decided to join with the Fitzroy Social Services Council, following a VCOSS report titled, Community Welfare Facilities in Fitzroy which focused on building “structures of citizen participation in the municipality”.
The newly formed FRA Committee recognised the need to build participatory structures if it was to be an effective voice on the issues and needs of the day.
“The last year has seen the emergence of a vigorous residents’ association in Fitzroy. Dedicated to the task of increasing the level of citizen participation in public affairs, the Fitzroy Residents’ Association has been involved in almost every aspect of Fitzroy’s life over the past 12 months”.
(Collective Action in Fitzroy by Brian Howe. December 1970)

Car rollover

Community protests against the Eastern (F19) Freeway, 1977. Source: Tigerulze

F19 Baricade

Aerial view of protests against the F19. Source: How to Make Trouble & Influence People

The battle against the freeways commences in 1971 as a response to the Transport Plan for Melbourne 1985. FRA establishes a Freeway Action Group, supports Council against freeways and advocates for public transport.

Become a member

Looking forward

Do you want to assist in contributing to Fitzroy's future?
Would you like to make a contribution as a member of our Committee?
Please get in touch!

Night time economy in need of oversight

The night time economy may be on hard times but residents are wary if the NTE strategy, introduced by the Council in response to resident concerns in 2012, is not reviewed and updated annually to meet the needs and issues of a changing economic and social environment.
The increasing development pressures, both residential and commercial in Fitzroy, are needing an accommodation with residential living and neighbourhood amenity, not solely skewed to advantage the economic bottom line and thus create problems now and into the future.

Rose St looking west JN

Rose St looking west showing proposed development at 419 Fitzroy St (image prepared by resident)

IDAC decision angers local residents

The decision by the Yarra City Council, Internal Development Approvals Committee meeting on 7 August to approve a Residential Hotel at 419 Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy, maybe the trojan horse for the expansion of the night time economy into the Mixed Use Zone at the expense of residential well being and amenity.
The bulk and height of the proposed hotel that will accommodate 127 bedrooms provides an opportunity for the owner to apply in the future for a fully functioning hotel with a full blown range of activities including ‘the sale of liquor for consumption on or off the premise, function or conference rooms, entertainment, dancing, amusement machines and gambling’. This is allowed if a Residential Hotel development crosses the threshold of 20 rooms. This possibility raises concern for residents.

IDAC needs reform!

The Internal Development Approvals Committee is the responsible Council body to make decisions on applications for planning permits referred to it by Council officers. The Committee comprises three councillors appointed on a rotational basis. Major developments are sometimes considered at regular Council meetings.
The definition of a ‘major’ development is one that is considered by the administration to be ‘of municipal wide significance’ due to its location, height, bulk and it having broader implications across the City of Yarra.
This certainly sets the bar high and in fact out of reach for a proposal which has a major impact on a neighbourhhood, precinct or suburb.
There is a process for referral of a planning application to a Council meeting. This requires a formal request by a councillor to the Mayor which is then circulated to all Councillors for a written response within four days. If five or more Councillors support the referral, it is then supported.
There are some major concerns about the process. The definition of a ‘major development’ is limited in scope and application, and is an assessment made by the administration. A councillor can only secure consideration by the Council by securing the support of a majority of councillors. There is no opportunity for discussion of the merits of the application and the impact it may have on a neighbourhood, precinct or suburb or the municipality.
These shortfalls need to be addressed. There could be, for example, an additional step in the process, one that allows for a ‘calling in process’ of an IDAC decision whereby a councillor(s) can have an application considered by a full Council meeting especially when a Ward councillor is of the view that their constituency has sufficient cause for concern.

Shopping strips

Taking a bite from the Big Apple?

The New York City Council last month passed a law requiring shop owners to register the status of their retail space with updates on their future business. This has been in response to the increasing number of vacant shops in as much as 20% of some retail neighbourhoods across Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The City Council has recognized the need to ensure vibrancy in its street life and local business is at the forefront of their concerns. It has taken this measure to assess the number of vacancies by first collecting data on vacancy rates and their locations and second managing the impact and supporting a return to street life viability through targeted policies and programs.
See AFR Article 18 August 2019

...and in the UK

Over in the UK, its Labour Party has announced it will allow councils to seize abandoned shops to give them a new lease of life as cooperatives or community centres.
See The Guardian article 17 August

...and in Fitzroy - Have your say about Brunswick Street

You have until 13 September to share your ideas about Brunswick Street
Council wants to hear how it can enhance the footpaths and public spaces along Brunswick Street, as well as some of the surrounding area. This includes trees, public seating, bike racks, greenery, and anywhere cars don’t go.
You also have the opportunity to engage with Council at its pop-up consultations:
- Saturday 31 August, 10am to 1pm at the corner of Kerr and Brunswick streets.
- Friday 6 September, 4pm to 7pm at the corner of Victoria and Brunswick streets.
Remember, Brunswick Street is special but it can be improved. This is your opportunity to say how!

The good, bad and the ugly

Protect our heritage features

Some TLC required

BS seat

More please!

Room to walk

Footpaths are for pedestrians too

Bins blocking peds


Our historic shopping strips

Queens Parade Built Form Review

Residents in 3068 have been participating in the Planning Panel hearing relating to Planning amendment C231 for the Queens Parade Built Form Review. Groups and individual residents have made some compelling submissions and are to be congratulated for their efforts. The Planning Panel hearing will conclude on Monday, 2 September.

Is planning destroying our historic shopping strips?

This has been a view strongly expressed in various resident forums. The recent newsletter of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria contained an article by Ian Wight, town planner and member of the RHSV Heritage Committee. His article expresses a view on the very serious threat to heritage, not only in Yarra, but to all Melbourne's Victorian and Edwardian shopping strips. We have made the article accessible online.
Check out RHSV benefits if you join up:

Have your say on planning rules for apartment developments

The government has announced changes to the planning rules for apartment developments, with a focus on the relationship between new apartment developments and the amenity of existing neighbourhoods.
Contribute online by 27 September.
For those interested in apartment living, check out this article from The Conversation.
For those of you who have been following the flammable cladding debacle, you may be interested in another recent article published by the Fifth Estate.

A win for Fitzroy - at tennis!

Fitzroy Tennis Club (FTC) recently hosted their arch rival Carlton Gardens (CGTC) in a 'friendly' and battled for the highly regarded prize - the aptly named "Nicholson Divide Perpetual Trophy". FTC played under the banner of the "MisFitz" and they're proud to say that after four hours of tennis, just two games separated the teams and Fitzroy were triumphant, securing the trophy! Below is an image of Viv, president of FTC proudly holding the cup. The competition is between two clubs who pride themselves on great community engagement and both teams were made up of a variety of ages, skills and different levels of endeavour.
A re-match is not far off and if anyone is interested to be a part of either club at any level please drop them a line or mail (via their websites).


Good to end on a cheery note. Contributions to the newsletter always welcome. We appreciate your interest and support.

Martin Brennan, Chair
Margaret Portelli, Secretary
September 2019

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