Saturday, September 24, 2016

2016 Council election

I invite you to find out more about me and my work on this website. It's a record of council and community work since 2008. 

Local government decisions have a lasting impact on our community and so Council elections are important.

Ballots will arrive by post between 4th and 6th of October.  They must be returned by post by the 21 October.

You must number every box (from 1-11 for Myrnong Ward).

I am asking you to vote 1 for ROSE ISER.
And number the rest of the boxes 2 - 11.

I have not done deals with other candidates for preferences or issued a 'How To Vote' preference card.  Please number all boxes from 2 to 11 in the order your prefer.

I would like to see progressive, community focused councillors with a genuine commitment to supporting residents, action on climate change and protecting and enhancing our parks and waterways, and respecting and restoring our heritage homes and buildings.  

That's my preference. 

If you have any questions at all about the election or my candidacy, please call me on
0414 959 427.

Thanks - 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Previous achievements on Moonee Valley Council

From 2007-2010, I served as the Councillor for Flemington, Kensington (now City of Melbourne), Ascot Vale and Moonee Ponds.

During this time, I advocated tirelessly for:

Action on climate change
  • funding for annual targets to lower Council's emissions
  • support for residents to install solar panels and water tanks
  • funding for bike paths to enable children and commuters to ride safely
Environmental protection
  • funding for parks and open space
  • strategies for healthy water ways 
  • sustainable water plans for open spaces and street trees

Community inclusion
  • publications in multiple languages for our large population without English as a first language
  • the inclusion of local artwork in street enhancement projects
  • a strategy for sporting facilities for netball
  • funding for childcare and support for kindergartens
  • support for aged, disability and diversity services
  • heritage protection for suburbs with significant neighbourhood character and inadequate protection
  • consultation with residents on issues affecting them
  • appropriate venue management to restore neighbourhood amenity in Moonee Ponds Mt Road precinct
I fought:
  • over-development at Lombards and 1 Ascot Vale Rd
  • against the destruction of parkland by the proposed East West Link
  • over-development of small blocks resulting in loss of amenity for neighbours
  • poor governance 
  • inequity in spending 
  • the sale of parkland.
In 2007, I was one of the only Councillors to vote against the sale of a portion of Debneys Park that eventually paved the way for the construction of the Lombards tower.

I value investment in environmental and community services that make our suburbs even more vibrant, healthy, inclusive and sustainable.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Local issues - planning, planning and planning

Talking with residents in Travancore and Flemington over the weekend, planning continues to be the most discussed local issue.

Travancore and Flemington are close to the city, so we expect some development and increased density.  But we don't expect, or accept, that our beautiful streets and neighbourhoods need to be spoilt, or that residential amenity should be sacrificed for developer greed.

Areas particularly under threat of over-development are those abutting main roads and commercial precincts including Racecourse, Mt Alexander, Epsom, Ascot Vale and Maribyrnong roads.  

Residents living in areas without heritage protection, like Newmarket, are under increasing stress as a stream of developments are proposed in the area.

So what can we do?

VCAT recently rejected an 8 storey (25m), 62 dwelling development at 436-442 Mt Alexander Rd.  This was in an area designated by Council for 3 storey dwellings - or 5 storey for key sites.  VCAT found that:

  • the Council had done extensive strategic work on the Mt Road corridor and had set preferred heights
  • the site had direct residential interfaces and
  • the proposal failed to address the interfaces in an acceptable manner

What this demonstrates is that where Council puts in the strategic work to specify heights, residential interfaces and other preferred design elements - including neighbourhood character and heritage protection, VCAT can support the intent of these planning guidelines.

This means Council needs to continue to put in the work at the strategic level to detail the preferred heights and design elements in areas that are likely to be subject to development.

Council officers also recommended approval of the proposal at 436-442 Mt Road demonstrating, as one resident put it, a real gap between elected councillors and officers at Moonee Valley. 

It's an ongoing project, but Council putting its shoulder to the wheel and doing the hard strategic work is essential.

From the VCAT decision:

  1. With respect to the proposal’s height, scale and form, the proposal is not acceptable having regard to the site’s physical and strategic context. The strategic direction for the corridor has been the subject of extensive policy development and the resultant planning scheme controls give effect to that policy development. Preferred maximum heights have been established and, while these are not mandatory, the extent to which this proposal seeks to exceed those heights is not acceptable on this site. The review site has direct residential interfaces and the design of this proposal has failed to address those interfaces in an acceptable manner. The amenity impacts of this proposal on its residential neighbours are unacceptable.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Photos by Philip Smith

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Photo by Philip Smith


I've been writing this blog sporadically since 2008.  In the archives, there are many articles about Moonee Valley Council activities between 2008-2010 (see menu on right hand side).

Since 2010, I've used the blog as a travel diary and a space for reflections on politics, life and community conundrums.

There many be something of interest to you - thanks for reading.

You may also be interested in the eastwestlinkblog which is still online.