DADA has been working hard to get some further information on the process of applying a Heritage Overlay to protect Preston Market.
Below is a screenshot from the Council website on transparent governance.
At the Council meeting of 27th of April 2020 six questions were asked in relation to any further information
Our questions were not read out in the council meeting nor were they answered. Instead Council thinks good governance is to release documents on the Friday before a planned Council meeting where matters are listed on the following Monday.
The process is completely inadequate as it gives the community only three days to read, comprehend and prepare a five minute submission for Council meeting. Questions will not be answered on any matter listed for consideration on a council meeting agenda.
This lack of transparency also effects councilors who do not get the full reports to read either. They have to rely on the summaries produced by officers in updates and briefings.
Darebin Councilors who delegate responsibility to council officers without full and proper over-site, that includes community inclusion, are not adequately representing their constituents.
If Councilors continue to delegate decisions to officers without reading reports and questioning the veracity of the briefings and updates then what is the use of Councillors?
Questions to Council Meeting 27th of April, 2020
From Maria Poletti DADA President
At the Council meeting of 14th October 2019 Council voted unanimously to ‘Commissions its own heritage studies to fully investigate and considers any further new evidence regarding the cultural, social. Building and technical heritage matters at Preston Market to help inform Council on the application of a Heritage Overlay through the Darebin Planning Scheme’
At the same meeting, point (10) of the unanimously carried recommendation ‘Notes that Council has recently called on the VPA to support Council’s endorsed objectives and key elements (endorsed at Planning Committee Meeting of 19 August 2019 and shown in Appendix C), that relate to critical market identity and character elements, however Council will review its endorsed objectives and key elements in light of future heritage studies.’
With the mounting evidence, now three reports, that Preston Market does deserve a significant level of heritage protection of the much appreciated and loved local historical, aesthetic, technical and social features and values embedded within;
- Will Council release to the community the full RBA report before they make any further recommendations on a heritage overlay for Preston Market?
- Will Council do as promised at the Planning Meeting of 19 August 2019 and review endorsed objectives and key elements in the light of the RBA Heritage study recommendations?
- Will council review the advice on urban design, commercial viability, identity, affordability and diversity in the light of the recommendations of the heritage reports?
From Chris Erlandsen DADA Vice President and Save Our Preston Market Representative
- Will Council facilitate a meeting with DADA and Save Our Preston Market representatives and RBA Architects and Conservation Consultants (RBA) who have now finalized the report and identified Preston Market as of local significance and recommend a heritage overlay be applied?
- Will Council facilitate a briefing for Councilors and officers and community representatives with Jane Stanley, a world renowned expert on markets viability?
- In the name of further transparency will Council release an updated timeline for the progress of all matters and decisions relating to the future of Preston Market?
From ORDINARY COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES 27 APRIL 2020
• Maria Poletti, DADA President and Chris Erlandsen
THE QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY MS POLLETTI AND MR ERLANDSEN CONTAINED INFORMATION IN PART FROM CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS AND WERE NOT READ OUT HOWEVER THEY WERE RESPONDED TO BY THE MAYOR.
RESPONSE FROM CHAIRPERSON, MAYOR RENNIE
WE’VE HAD QUESTIONS FROM MARIA POLETTI AND CHRIS ERLANDSEN OF THE DAREBIN APPROPRIATE DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION WHICH RELATE TO SEVERAL CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, SO I AM UNABLE TO READ OUT THE QUESTIONS HERE OR TO ADDRESS ANY OF THE CONFIDENTIAL MATTERS.
I’D LIKE TO THANK MARIA AND CHRIS FOR THE QUESTIONS AND CAN PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING RESPONSES.
IN RESPONSE TO YOUR QUESTIONS MARIA, I CAN TELL YOU THAT UNDERSTANDING AND ADVOCATING FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE CHARACTER, IDENTITY AND HERITAGE OF PRESTON MARKET HAS BEEN A LONG STANDING PRIORITY FOR COUNCIL. WE HAVE INVESTED SIGNIFICANT TIME AND RESOURCES INTO THIS AND HAVE BEEN WORKING HARD TO CALL ON THE STATE GOVERNMENT FOR THEIR COMMITMENT TO THIS AS THE DECISION MAKER.
COUNCIL HAS MADE ALL REPORTS CONSIDERING THE IDENTITY AND HERITAGE OF PRESTON MARKET FULLY PUBLIC SO FAR AND WE INTEND TO CONTINUE TO DO SO. WE’RE EXPECTING TO CONSIDER RECENT TECHNICAL REPORTS ON PRESTON MARKET, INCLUDING THE HERITAGE STUDIES ARISING FROM COUNCIL’S MEETING ON 14 OCTOBER 2019, AT COUNCIL’S UPCOMING MAY MEETING. ALL THIS INFORMATION WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE COMMUNITY TO SEE AS PART OF THE MEETING AGENDA PAPERS.
YOUR SECOND QUESTION RELATES TO A POTENTIAL FUTURE DECISION OF COUNCIL, SO I AM NOT ABLE TO PRE-EMPT THAT DECISION. WHAT I WOULD SAY IS THAT THIS MATTER IS HIGHLY IMPORTANT TO ALL COUNCILLORS AND COUNCIL HAS A LONG STANDING COMMITMENT TO ENSURING THE MARKET THRIVES.
IN REGARD TO QUESTION THREE, COUNCIL IS GETTING A RANGE OF ADVICE ON A RANGE OF MATTERS AND ALL THE ADVICE WILL BE CONSIDERED IN DETAIL.
CHRIS, YOUR FIRST QUESTION HAS DETAILS IN IT THAT ARE CONFIDENTIAL, SO I WON’T READ IT IN FULL.
QUESTION ONE REFERS TO HERITAGE WORK THAT IS IN PROGRESS ARISING FROM COUNCIL’S DECISION OF 14 OCTOBER 2019. AS I MENTIONED EARLIER TONIGHT, COUNCIL WILL SHARE THE WORK PUBLICLY IN MAY AS PART OF THE AGENDA PAPERS FOR ITS 18 MAY COUNCIL MEETING. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ARISING FROM THE REPORT WHEN YOU’VE SEEN IT, OFFICERS WILL BE HAPPY TO HELP WITH ANY QUESTIONS THAT MAY ARISE.
THANK YOU FOR THE SUGGESTION. IF JANE STANLEY IS KEEN TO SPEAK TO COUNCILLORS, I’M HAPPY TO TRY TO FACILITATE THAT. OFFICERS WILL BE IN TOUCH ABOUT THIS.
YOUR THIRD QUESTION RELATES TO THE TIMELINES FOR MAKING DECISIONS. THE STATE GOVERNMENT SETS THE TIMELINE FOR THIS. THE VICTORIAN PLANNING AUTHORITY HAS ADVISED THAT A DRAFT STRUCTURE PLAN AND PLANNING SCHEME AMENDMENT IS DUE IN THE SECOND HALF OF 2020.