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What’s behind the lights?

Southbank Residents Association

10 Jul 2018

A massive win for City Rd

Firstly, I would like to acknowledge Cr Rohan Leppert’s efforts with moving a motion, and seconded by our newly-elected Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, at council’s 2018-19 budget meeting to get the highly-anticipated and promised, but now overdue, commencement of the City Rd upgrade.

Cr Leppert’s efforts behind the scenes were instrumental with ensuring there would be unanimous support from other councillors with this important motion.

But having said that, I should never have needed to lobby councillors once it became apparent that once again, for the second year running, the City Rd upgrade was put off.

While I accept there can be legitimate reasons why there are delays, to date, despite asking on numerous occasions, I still have not received any reasoning from management.

As I mentioned in last month’s column, this project’s masterplan was only endorsed by council just over 18 months ago, so I cannot see what could have fundamentally changed in such a short time, not forgetting that the other surrounding projects, Southbank Boulevard upgrade and Swan St bridge widening were all accounted for and considered within the masterplan.

If it was budgetary, surely council would have had forward budget estimates for at least the next five, if not 10 years at the time of compiling the timeline in the masterplan?

So, I struggle to understand, so quickly after the masterplan was endorsed, why there has been a concerted effort to postpone this project.

Southbank is an engaged community, many thanks to the efforts of the Southbank Residents Association (SRA) committee, of which the community contributed many hours to the consultation of this project.

What is so difficult with reaching out to us and keeping us abreast of the progress post-masterplan endorsement?

In any case, I am certainly relieved the City Rd upgrade will now commence in 2018/19 with a commitment to see it get significant attention in the 2019/20 budget.

At the end of last month, council was given approval by the Planning Minister to exhibit amendment C308 which has been compiled by the city’s officers.

C308 – Urban design in the central city and Southbank, is essentially the follow-up amendment to C270 from two years ago. While C270 focused on the built form, C308 focuses on the street level.

Some may argue this is more important than the built form review, but I would say it is equally as important.

SRA acknowledged the importance of C270 and, as such, engaged an urban planning consultant, based in South Melbourne, to assist and direct us with our submission to the built form review.

That advice and report preparation cost $5500 and the SRA committee concluded it was a worthy investment in contributing to the future direction of Southbank’s built form.

Owing to the importance of this new review of our urban design, the SRA committee has decided to engage the same consultant to assist with our submission to this review.

Time is limited, but we are hoping to engage with the entire community through a forum which will assist with shaping our report to council with this review. We will advise further on this at our AGM, newsletters and Facebook. We also encourage the community to make their thoughts known at the Participate Melbourne website where the entire C308 proposal is available for review.

On July 3 council considered a building application for 153 Sturt St which council will not be deciding, as the developer has commenced proceedings with VCAT for it to make a decision.

It is another 58-metre development in a 40 metre discretionary zone.

Unfortunately, the recent VCAT ruling for 135 Sturt St, will be a precedent for the area and no doubt VCAT will rule in favour of this proposal.

The residents surrounding this development have been invited to be a party at the VCAT hearing. This is certainly unprecedented in the Capital City Zone as residents have no notice or appeal rights.

In any case, to be represented at VCAT is costly. Many of these residents are in the process of sourcing funds to be represented and as such have reached out to SRA to ask the wider community for any support.

If you would like to know more, or keen to support then please contact me at

On Wednesday, July 18, is SRA’s 20th annual general meeting. We have our newly-elected Lord Mayor, Sally Capp as a guest speaker and also Steve Perumal, principal project manager from CoM, to give us an update on Southbank Boulevard and Boyd Park.

I encourage you to come and join us and also hear what the SRA committee achievements of the past year have been and what is planned for the next year.

We would also encourage you to consider nominating to join our committee. However, you need to be a member to vote or join the committee.

It is only $10 per year and you can do this either online through our website or on the night. 

The event will be held at Boyd Community Centre, 207 City Rd, commencing at 6.30pm. Please register at Eventbrite so we can prepare for the night.

I will be nominating to remain on the committee and will offer to remain the president. Hopefully see you on July 18.


Tony Penna


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