February Yarra News
Message from the Mayor
Welcome to the first edition of Yarra News for 2016. I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable festive season and are looking forward to the year ahead.
Many of you chose to ring in the New Year at some of Yarra's local parks and reserves, and I have received great feedback about the welcoming atmosphere and enjoyable night that was had by many. Council worked hard to ensure the community could enjoy safe and family-friendly environments in Yarra to celebrate New Year's Eve.
A big year lies ahead for Council, mainly due to budgetary issues, including the impacts of the State Government's 2.5 per cent rate cap. There is no doubt this will mean some hard decisions need to be made about how we spend limited resources. Of course, we will continue to seek your input. See page 4 for more details.
Turning now to Australia Day, I would like to congratulate and acknowledge the recipients of Council's 2016 Australia Day Awards.
I congratulate FareShare, winner of Community Service of the Year. This service uses quality surplus food to cook nutritious meals, which are delivered to charities for serving to those in need. The work this Abbotsford organisation does shows community spirit is alive in Yarra, as does the work of our other winners.
I also extend my congratulations to Citizen of the Year, Sophie Daws and Young Citizen of the Year, Rebecca Chapman, both tireless volunteers in our community. See page 5 for more information.
Please join me in acknowledging our Australia Day Award winners, and also the many other selfless and passionate volunteers in our community.
Cr Roberto Colanzi
Accessible tram stop upgrades to Victoria Street
Two pairs of easy-access tram stops will be installed in Victoria Street Richmond in February, following extensive community consultation by VicRoads and Yarra Trams.
Council has been working with Public Transport Victoria, VicRoads and Yarra Trams since last September on the construction of the accessible tram stops which will link up with the growing number of accessible stops already in place throughout the municipality and wider Melbourne.
The tram stops are located at stop 19, North Richmond Train Station and stop 20, Nicholson/Lennox Street. Both will provide level entry and exit from trams to the kerbside and greatly benefit people with accessibility impairments, the elderly and people with prams.
Preliminary works are expected to start on Wednesday, 10 February, and the major work (including the closure of Victoria Street from Hoddle Street to Church Street) is planned to occur through the week of 21-28 February.
Challenges for Council in wake of rate cap
The State Government’s announcement in December that Victorian Council rate rises will be capped at 2.5 per cent for 2016/17 will have a significant impact on Yarra Council.
This enforced cap will mean fewer available funds to allocate to capital works, services and major projects.
According to the Municipal Association of Victoria, Council rates have risen at a lower rate each year than State taxes which have risen an average 5.59 per cent each year for the past decade and State property taxes which have increased an average 7.13 per cent a year.
Council rates deliver hundreds of vital local services, and Council accepts that its limited resources will need to be used carefully. However, the rate cap will very significantly reduce Council’s income.
As mandated by the State Government, Council will also be undertaking a property revaluation process
Victorian Government legislation requires all properties in Yarra, and across Victoria, to be valued every two years on a common date, the last occurring in January 2014.
The amount of rates to be paid by an individual property will depend upon the movement in value of that property compared to the value of all other properties in the municipality. All properties in Yarra will be revalued as of 1 January 2016.
For further information visit www.yarracity.vic.gov.au/your-council/budget/ or www.mav.asn.au
Australia Day winners
Abbotsford-based charity FareShare, who cook more than one million free nutritious meals a year for charities across the State, have been named as Yarra’s 2016 Community Service of the Year.
Formally recognised in Council’s 2016 Australia Day honours, FareShare rescues surplus food that businesses can no longer use, saving it from landfill and turning it into meals for thousands of Victorians who are in need.
What’s more, this year more than 7,000 volunteers got cooking in the FareShare kitchen, including local secondary school students and local business workers.
“Being named the Community Service of the Year is fantastic recognition for our staff and 750 regular volunteers who cook 5,000 meals a day for the hungry, homeless and those doing it tough,” said FareShare CEO, Marcus Godinho.
But despite cooking and delivering more than one million meals this year, demand is greater than ever with Marcus revealing FareShare currently receives two to three calls a week from charities requesting more food.
“Over the next couple of years our aim is to double the number of meals we cook for charities to two million a year.”
Citizen of the Year – Sophie Daws
Sophie Daws has worked tirelessly in the Yarra community for many years. She currently runs and trains volunteers for a community lunch program at The Wellington, Collingwood. Sophie can often be found cooking, cleaning, and driving homeless people around to provide them company. In addition to her extensive community work, Sophie is also a mother-of-two and cares for a son with special needs.
Young Citizen of the Year – Rebecca Chapman
A volunteer with Eating Disorders Victoria, Rebecca Chapman has incredible passion and motivation for assisting people who are experiencing eating disorders and strives to improve their quality of life. The 25-year-old goes above and beyond in her work and has also been instrumental in setting up a project which provides eating disorder-related education and information to education professionals, school-aged children and their parents.
Annual Report now available
Council’s 2014-15 Annual Report is now available.
The Annual Report covers our progress towards the objectives established in the 2013-2017 Council Plan, outlines some of the key services and programs that Council provided to the community in that year and provides information on our finances and governance.
More ways to connect with Yarra
There are now more ways to connect with Yarra than ever before, with Council launching Facebook and Instagram pages in January.
They join our Twitter presence as a great way to connect with Council, to share your story, to ask questions and to stay up-to-date on all things Yarra.
‘Follow’ and ‘like’ us on our new social media platforms for unparalleled insight into life in Yarra.
Bohemian Brunswick Street set to buzz
Brunswick Street will be buzzing more than ever on Saturday, 27 February for the inaugural The Beat of Brunswick Street music event.
More than 40 bars, cafes, established music venues and stores on Brunswick Street and its immediate surrounds will be hosting live music and DJs between 1pm and 1am, showcasing all that the street has to offer.
The vibrancy and diversity of Melbourne’s bohemian and cultural heartland will be pumping, and local traders and Council encourage people to visit the precinct and experience what is on offer.
“It’s all about getting back to the roots of Brunswick street – locals living as locals, enjoying what they have on their doorsteps, the music, the people, the creativity and arts and the vibe that make Brunswick Street such a special place,” said Hamish Goonetilleke from The Rum Diary, whose venue will be hosting live music on the day.
For more information on events and venues participating click here.
Celebrating the women of Yarra in 2016
International Women’s Day is a special time to acknowledge the achievements of women and to recognise the worldwide need for greater gender equality. Yarra will mark this global event by presenting the 2016 Inspirational Women of Yarra Award in March.
Now in its third year, the award celebrates the unique and important contribution women make to our community. It is open to women, or groups of women, who live, work or study in Yarra and who have made significant contribution to the community through paid or unpaid work.
If you know a woman or a group of women deserving of recognition, please nominate by visiting www.yarracity.vic.gov.au/2016-inspirational-women-of-yarra-award. Nominations close 5pm, Thursday, 18 February.
Community members are welcome to celebrate International Women’s Day and to come along to the announcement of the award winner/s at a special event to mark this important day at Richmond Town Hall on Tuesday, 8 March from 11am–1pm.
For more information, contact Maryanne Clarke, Policy Advisor – Gender Equity, on 9205 5240 or at Maryanne.Clarke@yarracity.vic.gov.au
Leading the way on sustainable building design
Sustainable design elements must now be incorporated into new residential and commercial developments in Yarra and across inner Melbourne.
This follows the introduction late last year of ground-breaking planning rules developed by Yarra Council in partnership with Moreland, Whitehorse, Stonnington, Port Phillip and Banyule councils.
The rules are embodied in the Environmentally Sustainable Development Policy, under which new buildings must be designed to be energy efficient, have good access to daylight and use natural ventilation for cooling.
Where possible, developments will need to incorporate renewable energy features such as solar power, rainwater tanks, and space for recycling and green waste. Larger developments may also need to provide a green travel plan, which could include car sharing or electric car charging facilities.
These and other environmentally-friendly design elements will need to be considered by developers early in the planning permit application process, ensuring that opportunities for sustainable features are maximised and costs are kept down.
Yarra Council has long been a leader in sustainable building design, offering the popular voluntary Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) program. The principles of the new policy will be embedded into Yarra's planning scheme, making sure new houses, apartments and commercial buildings will be better for the environment and cheaper to run.
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Yarra joins bike share network
No bike? No worries! Yarra has joined the Melbourne Bike Share phenomenon, with sites now in operation in the municipality.
The sites are located at Yorkshire Brewery in Wellington Street, Collingwood, the Australian Catholic University on the corner of Napier Street and Victoria Parade, and the corner of Moor and Young streets in Fitzroy.
Yarra’s involvement in the innovative program is part of Council’s 2013-2017 Plan and continues Council’s commitment to providing sustainable transport options.
An ideal way to travel around Yarra and beyond, Bike Share is designed for short trips across the city. To use, simply purchase a subscription or pass that suits you, take a bike when you need it and then return it to one of the 50 bike stations throughout the. Helmets are also provided with each bike.
Melbourne Bike Share is operated by the RACV on behalf of PTV. For more information and for the network map visit www.melbournebikeshare.com.au