It is truly remarkable that after 18 years, the community of Carlton refuses to be divided and continues to reject the ‘political’ municipal boundaries imposed in 1993. The Carlton community has steadfastly persisted in retaining its original long-term ‘identity’ as a legitimate and worthy extension of the State capital.
In 2011 an ad hoc group called the Carlton Alliance, composed of North Carlton residents and CRA members, began to explore the feasibility of reunifying North and South Carlton within the City of Melbourne. This resulted in the “Case for Carlton Reunification” document which was launched on 24th July.
Although the Carlton Alliance Working Group expended much effort in rallying North Carlton residents and business towards reunification, no broad groundswell of support emerged. The Group decided in March 2013 to maintain a ‘watching brief’ on the situation, including the possibility of the emergence of a Greater Melbourne City Council, and to respond accordingly.
Carlton has a very large, diverse population, and many workers and visitors. It is one of Victoria’s most disadvantaged areas. Yet unlike all other precincts in the City of Melbourne, we had no public buildings, no town hall, above all, no public library. To access a public library, Carlton’s residents, school children, the elderly, everyone who lives and works in Carlton, has to walk 1.5km and cross major arterial roads to an adjoining suburb: North Carlton, East Melbourne, North Melbourne, or the City Library.
A library is a most essential and empowering community resource. Not only will a Library counter disadvantage in our community (approx.18% of Carlton’s population), but it will also provide essential services to them and to the other 82% of Carlton residents. It is a place where all Carlton’s diverse population can meet and be community.
Since 2006 we focused our decades long, passionate campaign for a building suitable as a Library/Community Centre on the ideally located, iconic Kathleen Syme Centre. The State Labor Government refused to release the building for Council purchase, despite numerous pleas. In desperation, we appealed to Matthew Guy, then Shadow Planning Minister, who after gaining government facilitated KSC for purchase to the City of Melbourne.
Our euphoria quickly dissipated when consultations and an unproductive ‘competition’ for KSC identified it for service provision. However the community rallied and lobbied overwhelmingly for a Library and Community Centre for all Carlton.
The building will be named Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre. The City of Melbourne has called for tenders to redevelop the building, to be completed in 2015. We very much look forward to a time when Carlton will have a public library and community centre.
Concerns remain, e.g. the design does not include a direly needed, large meeting room, scarce space is being taken for a commercial kitchen despite there being two under-utilized, council provided commercial kitchens in the immediate vicinity, and CRA and other local stakeholders were excluded from the design consultation processes.
Ongoing vigilance will be required to ensure an optimum outcome for our community.
The Carlton Gardens are under threat due to inappropriate commercial exploitation. Neither the Council nor the State Government have the will to properly protect the world heritage site. A long standing campaign is being waged to maintain the integrity of the Carlton Gardens for residents and the people of Victoria.
There are fourteen Residents and Business Associations within the City of Melbourne and many areas of shared concern throughout the municipality (e.g. Residential Zoning, public transport, roads, licensing, public gardens, safety, events). Currently the most pressing issue of concern is the need for reform of the election processes in advance of Melbourne City Council elections in November. CoRBA has identified many anomalies and is lobbying very strongly for an objective review of the deeply flawed, unrepresentative and undemocratic processes.
In September, the Growing CRA Reference Group was established to find better ways of engaging people which would involve them working in the Reference Groups and taking up financial membership. Its report
circulated to the Committee in December will be considered in 2010.
CRA supports the group (Planning Backlash) calling for a review of Melbourne 2030 (M2030), a controversial planning policy introduced in 2002 aimed at concentrating residential development within 120 “Activity Centres” to curb urban sprawl. The State Government has established an Audit Expert Group (AEG) to audit M2030 implementation. The AEG has received 204 submissions from the development industry, planning professionals, resident groups (such as CRA) and individuals. Residents groups have been universally critical of the Audit, its questionable Terms of Reference and inadequate consultative processes.
This Reference will group will commence in 2010.
To date the heritage value of the MGC has not been respected and we need a group of ‘Friends’ to make sure that we achieve better future outcomes for this unique site.
Register your interest in preserving this truly marvellous piece of Carlton heritage by: emailing jackiewatts@netspace,net.au
The Opportunities for Carlton (OFC) project is a City of Melbourne community strengthening project in partnership with the Victorian State Government. The three year project is due to be completed in 2012.
CRA has maintained a watching brief over the past decade and has collaborated with Protectors of Public Lands to protect Carlton’s parkland and public land from inappropriate use and development.
The Planning Committee meets monthly to review these development plans, and to decide whether or not the CRA should lodge objections.
The Group Coordinator checks the weekly lists of planning applications on CoM’s website, and requests plans of applications for 3053. Generally objections relate to non–compliance, erosion of amenity, height, heritage, Design Overlay. When required, the committee writes formal objections and prepares briefs for CRA submissions to VCAT.
The role of the PCCC is to enhance safety and security in Carlton through community partnerships with police. Victoria Police connects with residents through a monthly meeting at which the CRA can raise concerns or gather information of value to the community. Issues might include burglary, drunkenness, public nuisance, licensing, begging etc.
The Carlton Police Station in Drummond Street was built in 1878 and used continuously for police purposes until August 2010, when police operations were transferred to a new complex in North Melbourne. Since that time, CRA has been lobbying for “adaptive reuse” of the heritage listed building for community purposes. We were successful in securing the site from vandalism by a security fence. Currently, we are engaged in discussions with the City of Melbourne on possible reuse of the building for services to Carlton Public Housing Estate tenants.
There are several large Office of Housing (OoH) estates in Carlton. Three
of these areas are currently being redeveloped in collaboration with private
developers. The outcome will impact upon us all.
Thus far, the OoH is unresponsive to all residents – public and private. CRA has a watching brief to monitor plans and developments since the OoH has a very poor consultation track record. CRA monitors the OoH website and the press, and attends Redevelopment meetings.
The Carlton Residents Association and Fitzroy Residents Association have joined forces to obtain government funding to restore the viewing area at the base of the Royal Exhibition Building dome to its former glory including a passenger elevator. The Carlton Community website provides an historical and romantic backdrop to this proposal.
The REB and Gardens were added to the World Heritage list in 2004 as one of the few 'world fair' buildings from the 19th century and the only surviving Great Hall of the Palace of Industry, the centrepiece of the International Exhibitions
CRA promotes CoM Greening Policy and has long lobbied MCC Planning Committee for increased Median Strip Greening. The idea of returning median car parking areas to greenspace has been a focus for many years and was emphasised in the Carlton 2010 vision document.
Over the past decade CRA has closely engaged with diverse issues which have arisen, including direct participation in the Northern Central City Corridor Study (DoI) and The Melbourne Transport Strategy (MCC). Many papers and presentations have been prepared. The Transport Reference Group monitors State Govt and Council proposals; engages with the issues and promote CRA policies, represents CRA at meetings and addresses the media.
The State Government’s decision in 2012 to prioritise the $15 billion East-West Toll Road as its major transport initiative and to defer indefinitely Doncaster Rail, has focussed the attention of CRA. We joined the ‘Trains not Tollroads’ campaign led by the Yarra Campaign for Action on Transport (YCAT) which is now actively supported by Yarra Council. Work on the $8 billion eastern section of the Toll Road (Hoddle St to City Link) is scheduled to begin in 2014. A campaign to keep Doncaster Rail on the transport agenda is being actively pursued in the media and community.
This is an extension to the work of the Planning Committee. Once the CRA lodges an objection to any development, the process is in train which may result in CRA needing to appear at VCAT to speak about the objection in person. Members volunteer to represent CRA in these hearings. The content of the objections is prepared by the Planning Committee who brief CRA representatives for their VCAT appearances.