Sue Bolton - SBMT.jpg

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? 

I oppose Zero Parking developments and I have consistently voted against Zero Parking developments on Council. Zero Parking developments should have to go through a planning permit process with the community having notification and objection rights, so that they have a chance to say whether such a development is appropriate or not. Some of the problems with Zero Parking developments is that there are no parking bays for residents moving furniture in and out, for tradespeople doing work on the units, or for health or home care workers visiting people in the units to provide care. Another issue with Zero Parking developments is that some residents might move in thinking that they will never need a car, but then have a change in their life, such as getting a job on the outskirts of Melbourne, or become a shift worker, or have an accident so they can’t get around on a bike temporarily or permanently.

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?

I support doing a survey to understand the impact of Zero Parking developments on the neighbouring streets, although the results of such a survey are likely to vary depending on whether it is a standard Zero Parking development or one where the residents have committed to not owning cars.

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?

I support delaying the parking restrictions until this survey work is carried 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?

 I support community consultation in different parts of Moreland on whether parking restrictions are appropriate. There are some areas where there is a high demand for parking such as near restaurant strips, where residents often want restricted parking. But there are other areas where residents don’t want parking restrictions. There also needs to be discussion about what are appropriate parking restrictions around places like community centres and sports grounds.

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?

The parking needs differ between different parts of Moreland and within different suburbs. Parking restrictions need to be worked out on a precinct basis, according to what sorts of centres and activities exist within a precinct, as well as access to public transport.

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?

Society needs to shift away from such a high dependence on cars because they are choking our streets, but I don’t believe that a punitive parking policy will achieve that. It is more likely to result in people shifting to other suburbs so that car usage doesn’t reduce, but simply transfers to another suburb. In order to reduce car usage, you need to massively expand public transport – trains, trams and buses. Experience has shown that when you massively improve public transport, people shift from cars to public transport. Safer cycling infrastructure is also needed so that more people feel safe cycling. Council doesn’t control public transport, but it needs to put more effort into advocating for investment in public transport.

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)

Yes