We are fortunate to be able to follow up our excellent speaker presentation by Barry Dickins at our AGM with two more very worthy speakers: Jim Holdsworth and Rod Quantock. There topic will be: “Comedy & Development in Inner Melbourne” or should that read “A Comedy of Errors”? Since 1995, Jim Holdsworth has been Manager of Urban Design and Architecture at the City of Port Phillip. Perhaps less known is Jim’s contribution to comedy in Melbourne. Jim partnered Rod Quantock in the original “Comedy Café. Rod Quantock’s bio can be read at http://www.comedy.com.au/html/artists/rod/bio.pdf The bio begins “Rod Quantock is a comedian, writer, director and producer with more than twenty years experience working in cabaret, theatre, television, radio, advertising and the corporate sector”. Also "A living Melbourne treasure" (The Age). Rod and his wife Mary Kenneally are also passionate about Melbourne, and work actively to preserve Melbourne’s culture and heritage.
With all this relevant talent, it is clear that CRA is very privileged to have Rod and Jim as our guest speakers for our next General Meeting on TUESDAY MAY 27th from 7.30 to 9.30pm at the Kathleen Syme Building/Old Faraday Street School, Faraday Street, Carlton). Note the meeting will be on Tuesday, not Monday the 26th as previously planned due to Rod’s availability. The meeting should be memorable and good for counteracting the seriousness of the challenges we face with the Eastern Precinct Appeal.
Eastern Precinct Development
Since our last newsletter, there has been a VCAT Directions Hearing that resolved that the VCAT Appeal hearing will start on June 11th and run for ten days. Likely scenario for the case will be the Department of Sustainability and Environment, followed by MCC, National Trust, CRA, Becton and the University. Members of the public can attend the hearing at 55 King Street.
Members can help in the following ways by:
I will attach a copy of the elevations of the final plans for the development which we received yesterday. Full A1 plans of the 30 odd sheets can be viewed at 244 Faraday Street.
MCC has appointed a Place Manager: Colleen Lazenby who will help the Carlton community implement the Carlton 2010 strategy plan. Her time will be shared between Carlton and North & West Melbourne.
Colleen began as Place Manager for Melbourne City Council on March 31 after five years as Heritage Coordinator for the City of Greater Dandenong. Her many achievements include the National Award for Innovation in Local Government for Community Service in 2000, and Royal Australian Institute of Planners and Victorian Local History commendations in 2001. Colleen has a background in the natural and social sciences. Her professional experience prior to local government was as an anthropologist, archaeologist and geologist.
Colleen is very much a positive, optimistic soul who makes things happen. You will have an opportunity to meet Colleen at our next general meeting. Her keen interest in community and heritage will be most welcome in Carlton.
Our Carlton History is now moving through the editorial stage at Melbourne University Press. Our financial commitment has been met (great relief). The due date was to have been October this year, but MUP are thinking it is likely to be February 2004. Publishing such a large multi-authored book is a very big project, and MUP staff would prefer the additional time to ensure that the book is a proud volume. So, just a bit longer, but worth the wait at this stage! In the meantime, if you have a suggestion of a suitable title, we are still interested to hear from you. Surely we can do better than “A History of Carlton”?
We had a meeting of our Planning Group last night. We are beginning to see the effects of the C20 Amendment in action with developers lifting the heights in areas where the heights are higher than expected as in the case of 116-128 Leicester Street which presently has a permit for 139 apartments and a new application for 326 apartments, with a reduction of on-site car spaces from 176 to 51. Even 139 apartments are a considerable number of apartments to absorb in a neighbourhood. Double the number on the same block makes the situation even more difficult. The permits for five new buildings of eight storeys height in the immediate vicinity exacerbate the increase in density level.
These increases reflect the urban consolidation goal of Melbourne 2030. The overall development of new dwellings in Carlton in January 2003 estimates provided by MCC was 2785 (note this is without the 620 apartments proposed for the Eastern Precinct site) mainly in the South Carlton and Swanston Street areas. This amount of new dwellings amply meeting the target levels for new dwellings near the Activity Centres listed in Melbourne 2030 (Carlton-Lygon Street is listed).
Maintaining liveable neighbourhoods will require close monitoring to ensure the social and physical environments being created keep pace with the intensity levels. Laneways need to be made safe with good lighting and paving. Greening the area will require more funds devoted toward streetscape improvements and tree planting. These are not grand schemes, but what a difference to liveability they make as can be seen around Curtain Square in Rathdowne Street. Who will pay for these improvements? Currently developers’ levies can be used for the provision of open space. But new open space is basically unavailable near developments in Carlton. At the moment creation of more functional public spaces in neighbourhoods is lagging behind the construction of new dwellings.
How can we change the situation? Better pedestrian networks and streetscape improvements, and greening are at the heart of the Carlton 2010 strategy. But the funds allocated for streetscape improvements are miniscule relative to what would be required to make a big impact. One can continue to argue for developers levies to be spent in improving the immediate public spaces. A recent MCC initiative could be used. A Neighbourhood Amenity Fund proposal has just recently been recommended for funding by MCC for the next financial year. These grants would provide some funding for local projects considered to be important to local communities and involving community participation. You might like to surf the City of Seattle weblink http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/neighborhoods/nmf/about.htm to get an idea of some neighbourhood projects that have been part of a similar program.
In the meantime, the news on recent planning applications includes the withdrawal of applications by both the Clyde Hotel and the Comedy Club for extended trading hours, a permit for the Woolpack Hotel to reopen on the corner of Princes and Drummond Streets (with limits on trading times in the evenings), and a win at VCAT against a development which was seen as detrimental to the heritage context. We were concerned with the precedent created by two permits: one for a food and drink business in a residential zone at 258 Elgin Street and the other for a 3 am trading permit for a wine bar north of Grattan Street. Others being decided soonish are a development on Waterloo Street and another at the Astoria Apartments on Swanston Street.
We are fortunate to have a strong Planning Group. We are on the look out for competent and available members who could represent CRA at VCAT hearings. If that sounds like you, we would be interested to hear from you.
I have been meeting with a small group of MCC Officers, and the President of the Carlton Business Association re the landscaping of Argyle Square. The discussions are going well. It looks like the name will remain the same, as will the south side of the Square (where the elms are), and that on the north side, where the Bowling Club lawn was, there could be a hard surface. There would also be improved steps and some more trees at the border of the north and west side. You may be interested in reading about the history of the Square on our website. A public consultation process will be beginning in mid year til about October so there will be plenty of time to comment.
The MCC Autumn/Winter major tree planting for Carlton this year is as follows:
Pelham Street: 29 Quercus canariensis (Algerian Oak); Rathdowne St: 20 Quercus rubra (Red Oak); Canning Palmerston Reserve: 5 Pyrus calleryana (Callery Pear). Note that these plantings are consistent with oak species being the theme tree for Carlton in the Carlton Tree Plan, strategic plans for upgrading Pelham Street and replacement of diseased trees (in Rathdowne Street). There is also likely to be a Carlton Gardens Masterplan Reference Group established in the second half of the year. This is very timely given the progress of the World Heritage listing of the Royal Exhibition Buildings and Carlton Gardens.
At our last Committee meeting, we were pretty pleased with membership renewals. We still have unrealized dreams of multiplying in numbers, and suggest that members try to think of one other potential member and invite them to join us. You can get membership information from our website at http://www.carltonresidents.org.au/what_the_cra_is_for.htm or from Colin Macnamara our Secretary: PO Box 1140, Carlton.
Don Chambers has been asked by many “when” are the Heritage Walks going to happen? Don is happy to take a walk on Sunday May 4th starting at 244 Faraday Street at 2pm. This will take in the Eastern Precinct, and north of Elgin Street and around the Lygon Street and residential areas north of Grattan Street. There will be no charge.
To the mystery person(s) who nominated me for a Centenary Medal for “service to the local community particularly in heritage and conservation areas” let's say I am surprised, delighted, honoured and curious. The award has a seven point Commonwealth Star and is very attractive see http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/about/medal_descriptions/commemorative.html As most of you know, I could not spend the time I do on CRA work were it not for my husband Don Chambers; and for the many people who are passionate about Carlton as a place to live and worth working toward handing on a great place for others. It is great to be part of the process. I have not seen the list of others awarded a Centenary Medal, but have heard that members Carole Turner who has just completed a wonderful career with the Carlton Senior Citizens and Ray Cowling (former principal of Neill Street school, and President of the North and West Melbourne Association) and Angela Williams, planning advisor and member of the North and West Melbourne Association are other recipients. Angela helped us greatly through the Amendment C20 process and often provides advice on planning matters. Congratulations Carole, Ray and Angela! There may be other members who are also recipients who we will hear about when the lists are published. Less likely is that we will hear the nominees!