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Name it Domain!

Southbank Residents Group

14 Aug 2015

This month car share has kept my focus. The City of Melbourne proposed to significantly increase the costs to the car share operators for the on-street parking spots provided by CoM.

This took the operators by surprise and hence they lobbied hard to keep the cost down as any increase would invariably need to be passed onto the users, you and I.

I am an avid fan and user of car share. In many ways car share was a godsend for me as I have not personally owned a vehicle since 1997 which was when I made an active decision to rid myself of the, at the time, unnecessary expense. I have not looked back!

I took up the fight with the operators and also lobbied on behalf of all us residents who do not wish to see the costs of this service increase.

I was bamboozled with the position of council on this one. It was the last thing I would have expected considering their environmental push and an earlier statement from the Lord Mayor that “no great city in the world is trying to bring more cars into the city centre”.

It just seemed counter-intuitive, especially when car share was adopted by the City of Sydney and Melbourne at almost the same time yet Sydney has been able to achieve 20 per cent membership from its resident population while Melbourne has managed just 4 per cent.

It didn’t take long for me to learn this was driven by an apparent need to offset the loss of parking revenue these car parking spots were using, an estimated $600,000.

Yet we have just learnt for 2014-15 financial year there is a $2.89 million surplus from parking fees. I also noted that council receives no revenue for all the car parks allocated as taxi ranks, yet taxi operators are also a for-profit venture.

It just didn’t make any sense to me.

The end result was increased costs to the operators which no doubt will flow back to us, the users. After all, car share should be seen as an extension of public transport.

As mentioned last month, I was going to ask the Lord Mayor about the horrendous noise from the renovated Southbank footbridge (now aptly called the Evan Walker footbridge).

I put this question to him in the Future Melbourne Committee public question time and the response was “first world problem”, although he did refer the question to the head of engineering who advised they were aware of the problem and were in discussions with the manufacturer to find a solution.

I have not had any updates as yet but I sincerely hope a solution is found.

We are not too many months away from Southbank Residents Group holding its AGM.

Can I please call upon the community to consider becoming involved. As in past years, we are always in need of committee members to assist with running this fabulous community group. If you have a desire to learn the workings of a committee and take up an active role in support of your community then please don’t hesitate to make contact, you would be most welcome.

As usual, if you are not a member and would like to support us, please visit our website and don’t forget to like us on Facebook - southbankresidents

Tony Penna

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