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Southbank Residents’ Group

14 Aug 2012

The Southbank Residents Group (SRG) has been quite busy since the beginning of this year and we are finally seeing the results of all our efforts.

The new website has been launched together with our Twitter and Facebook page (please join on us in Facebook and like our page!). We are now looking for some volunteers to help us keep residents informed via our new social media platforms.

In the last few months SRG has been lobbying our politicians regarding key issues concerning Southbank residents, such as lack of planning, inappropriate development, lack of schools in the area, and traffic congestion and noise, among others.

The Southbank Structure Plan 2010 and the Planning Amendment Scheme C-171 were meant to tackle some of these issues. However, some of the initiatives proposed in the amendment are disconnected with residents’ expectations, causing some concerns. This is particularly so regarding the one that refers to the spacing between towers which affects sunlight, daylight and private amenity.

The C-171 Amendment was drafted by the City of Melbourne and, at the request of the council, the Minister for Planning Matthew Guy appointed a panel of experts to review it and to consider the 227 submissions that this amendment attracted.

While the amendment was reviewed by the panel, SRG lodged a petition requesting the Minister to reconsider some of the changes proposed in the amendment. SRG collected more than 200 signatures (thanks to all who signed) while another petition organised by a group of concerned residents collected another 300.

The Minister for Planning replied back at the end of July regarding our petition and advised that the panel recommendations would be considered by the council on August 7 and that “once the council has determined the direction it wishes to take and if adopted by council, he will review the council’s position and the submissions and make a determination on the amendment and any changes to the planning scheme”.

The panel recommendations were considered by the council on August 7 and the council has decided to allow a further two weeks (until August 21) for additional comments and submissions. The council has invited SRG to discuss our concerns and this invitation has been extended to other members of our community. The meeting will take place on August 19 and an update will be provided in our next editorial.

SRG also met with David Mayes (manager, strategic planning at the CoM) back in April and Cr Ken Ong (chair of Planning of Future Melbourne Committee) to discuss the C-171 amendment and to seek the support of the City of Melbourne in catalysing a more co-ordinated approach by the various government authorities to address specific issues affecting Southbank. We hope that this is the start of a long lasting relationship with our community.

On the other hand, a group of parents from Port Melbourne, Southbank and SRG formed the Two Schools Now group to campaign for the urgent establishment of two new schools.  With Port Melbourne Primary School now seriously overcrowded and children from Southbank zoned out from other schools the precinct needs a school now. The Two School

Now campaign has organised a petition and collected more than 1000 signatures. The petition will be handed over on Wednesday, August 15 at 1pm at Parliament.

As you may be aware, over the last 12 months, the Department of Education and Early childhood Development (DEECD) has been undertaking a feasibility study into the provision of primary schools across inner Melbourne. Unfortunately, this is not the first feasibility study undertaken to address this issue. However, we all hope that it is the last one and that some decisive action will be taken by the corresponding authorities once their findings are out.

There is still lots to do to make Southbank a more liveable and vibrant suburb. For this reason, I would like to invite Southbank residents to volunteer their time with SRG to keep us going.

Please note that nominations for November elections are now opened. If you are interested in nominating yourself for a position in the executive committee at SRG, please contact us on srgi2000@gmail.com.

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