Yarra Council takes a lead on Victoria Street issue

Friday 08 July 2016

Yarra Councillors have called for a report from Council officers outlining a process to engage with the local community on strategies for improving public safety and amenity in the Victoria Street precinct, including minimising harm to people affected by alcohol and illicit drug use.

Mayor Roberto Colanzi said the process would initially include representatives from across the local community, business, law enforcement, government and community, health and social services.

“The public safety and amenity issues in Victoria Street are entrenched and complex,” Cr Colanzi said.

“While there is an understanding that Council alone can’t resolve the issues, there is a role for Council to bring the key stakeholders together.”

Councillors noted the work already undertaken by Yarra Drug and Health Forum and the Neighbourhood Justice Centre in bringing service providers together for a coordinated approach.

Mayor Colanzi said the Councillors objectives were very clear.

“We want to gather the views of all people with a stake in Victoria Street and develop a vision for the precinct that includes good public safety, amenity and visitor experience, and identify various authorities and organisations that can help us in addressing the existing health, safety and amenity issues.”

Further information:  Brooke Colbert, Communications & Media Unit Manager, on 9205 5122 or 0409 267 439.

12.1 - COUNCIL RESOLUTION (6 July 2016)

Moved: Councillor Stone                               Seconded: Councillor Jolly

1. That Council note:

(a) the entrenched and complex nature of problems affecting public amenity and safety in Victoria Street for which there is no simple solution;
(b) the work currently being undertaken by Yarra Drug and Health Forum and Neighbourhood Justice Centre to bring service providers together to coordinate their approach to the problems;
(c) the community expectation that Yarra City Council take a lead in addressing these issues;
(d) the potential for improvements to the streetscape via the Yarra City Council Victoria St. Streetscape Masterplan; and
(e) the valuable experience and insight of the local community in addressing the issues in Victoria Street and forming a vision for the street’s future.

2. Officers provide a report to Council in the last meeting in August 2016, which outlines a process to involve those with a stake in the future of Victoria Street which will:

(a) gather perspectives about the nature of public alcohol and drug taking in the Victoria Street Precinct and the experiences of those living and working in the area;
(b) gather the views of key stakeholders in addressing the public amenity and safety impacts of this behaviour;
(c) identify the roles of various authorities and organisations in addressing the varied health, safety and amenity issues which this behaviour presents;
(d) develop a vision for a preferred future for the precinct;
(e) identify strategies for improving:
(i) the public safety and amenity of the Victoria Street precinct for residents and businesses;
(ii) the experience of visitors to the precinct; and
(iii) the minimisation of harm to those engaged in alcohol and illicit drug use in the precinct; and
(f) make recommendations to the relevant bodies or authorities in relation to the above.


3. The process initially include representatives from across the local community, business, law enforcement, government and community, health and social services, being:

(a) Local residents (including from the Richmond Public Housing estate);
(b) Collingwood and Abbotsford Resident Association;
(c) Abbotsford Primary School, and West Richmond Primary School;
(d) Local businesses in and around Victoria Street;
(e) Victorian Aboriginal Health Service;
(f) Yarra Drug and Health Forum;
(g) Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS);
(h) North Richmond Community Health Centre;
(i) Co-Health Inner Space;
(j) Neighbourhood Justice Centre
(k) Victoria Police;
(l) DHHS (Office of Housing); and
(m) Yarra City Council officers – representatives from key Council areas.

4. Council notes that Officers will report back to Council on the results of this community engagement process and the recommendations put forward.



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