James Conlan - Greens.jpg

FPM COMMENTARY: James is a pass on the Fair Parking Moreland Test, but having failed two key Questions, we will add some commentary to give the responses context.

Overall, we wish to note that there is a lot of hope in Jame’s answers, as he is committed to re-looking at many elements of the Parking Restrictions and Parking Implementation Plan, with community engagement in mind, which we highly commend.

The other Greens candidates wrote responses that were very similar, but James spent time crafting unique responses, which illustrates he has a good capacity and willingness to contribute his own ideas and think independently.

We thank James for the thoughtful replies, and encourage him to view the responses of other candidates, to understand why the majority are in-line with our membership, with legitimate concerns around these policies.

Moreland proposed a planning law amendment, C183, however a State-appointed independent planning panel determined council had not adequately conducted surveys and parking plans to understand the consequences of this change. Do you support this proposal to change planning laws that would allow developers to build Zero Car Parking developments in Activity Centres without requiring a planning permit? 

The proposed changes to the parking requirements under Planning Scheme amendment C183 is to allow developments in well-located areas with good access to public transport, the option to provide less car parking if required. Currently, all new developments in Moreland are required to provide a minimum number of car parking, with a permit being required to provide less than the minimum. The proposed changes will allow new developments the Activity Centres of Brunswick, Coburg and Glenroy (not the entire suburbs) to provide a maximum number of car parks, with a permit required for developers who want to provide more. The proposal doesn’t mandate that developers provide zero car parking - it gives them the option to provide less given the strategically important location of activity centres.

FPM COMMENTARY: Whilst James explains his understanding of C183, he does not answer the question. We assume that by justifying the amendment, James is in support, which is not in line with the views of our membership. ​

A tribunal revealed that a recent Zero Car Parking development in Moreland had 7-9 cars secretly parked on the street. In order to trust these developments, residents need to better understand their impact on local amenity. Are you willing to support an urgent survey of existing Zero Parking developments, to ascertain their impact on parking in adjacent streets?

Preserving the amenity of local streets surrounding activity centres is one of my key concerns. I appreciate and understand that the community have raised concerns about the possible, negative spill over effects into neighbouring residential streets as a result of the proposed parking changes in activity centres. That’s why I support further surveys and community consultation to ensure that neighbouring residential streets are not adversely affected.

The Zero Parking amendment, C183, failed in part because it did not follow the Planning Minister’s guidelines – the need to conduct parking surveys and understand impact on local amenity, and local input. Would you support that the parking restrictions are not rolled out until the parking survey work is completed, so that the use and needs of proposed restricted areas are better understood?

 

Yes. The independent panel concluded that more research was needed. It makes sense that the parking survey work be completed before the changes are implemented. So I support this work being undertaken before any parking restrictions are rolled out.

The Moreland Integrated Transport Strategy introduces strict 2hr blanket 8am-8pm parking restrictions across much of Moreland. 2P restrictions Moreland-wide have never been debated in Council Meetings, or had any community consultation. Do you support these Parking Restriction Zones, and would you be open to restrictions going through community consultation for co-design?

 The reason I’m running as a Greens candidate in this election is because of party’s history of standing up for communities against powerful vested interests. I believe there should be community consultation on as many council issues as possible, especially substantial changes to important policy areas like parking. One of council’s key learnings from the MITS implementation process has been the need for deeper community consultation. As a Greens candidate, I am committed to further consultation before the implementation of the proposed parking restrictions.

Many residents feel that the needs of Glenroy, are different to the needs of Brunswick, are different to the needs of Coburg. Do you believe in the idea of one parking plan across all of Moreland, or that areas should be evaluated based on their local usage and needs?

I’ve lived in Moreland for 25 years, so I appreciate that different suburbs have different needs, including in relation to car parking. That’s why I’m committed to meaningful, deep engagement with local communities in developing our city-wide plans. In my experience, meaningful community consultation results in better outcomes for all, as it’s locals who know their neighbourhoods best.

One of the central tenets of MITS is that people ‘choose to drive’, and council should make it difficult and expensive to use a car in Moreland, to discourage car use. Do you think this approach is the best way to discourage car use, or are you open to a less punitive approach?

As a former transport planner, I am well aware that Australia’s high dependence on cars for travel is the product of decades of government disinvestment in public transport and policies and spending that prioritise car travel, like mega toll roads. That’s why I do not blame the majority of people who drive a car - they drive because they often have no other choice. I believe governments, including councils, should use the policy levers at their disposal in creating sustainable transport options. Like any good government policy, transport policies and projects must be developed in close consultation with communities, especially those most impacted. If elected to council, I will utilise my extensive experience in community campaigning and advocacy to fight for more cycling and walking infrastructure, and well improved public transport services for Moreland.

Zero Parking developments were constructed and approved on the premise that residents would not impact on local street amenity. This changed in Feb 2020, when council approved ‘Permit A’, which will allow these developments to buy an on-street parking permit. Do you commit to restricting all zero parking developments from obtaining ‘Permit A’?

Yes

Given the level of community concern, including our own petition of 1200 signatories, and disregard for the views expressed in community consultations, do you commit to redrafting MITS and the parking restrictions, with an eye to rebuilding the strategy with better community engagement? (Y/N)

The community have raised legitimate concerns about the implementation of the Parking Plan. I support further research and community consultation before revisiting the policy.

FPM COMMENTARY: James declined to answer Y/N, so submitted the survey as a PDF document rather than complete the online form that all other candidates used, even though FPM replied to the Greens candidates that doing so would create an uneven playing field with the other candidates. Whilst James demonstrates an interest in revisiting the Parking Plan, he has neglected to commit to reviewing MITS with an eye toward better community engagement. ​

 

 

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