Council to strengthen advocacy on Victoria Street
Friday 07 July 2017
Yarra Council will strengthen its advocacy to government and develop an action plan to address public health and safety issues in Victoria Street in Richmond/Abbotsford.
Council has reinforced its efforts after conducting a major community engagement, where about 400 people contributed more than 2300 ideas to address issues resulting from drug-related activity in the area.
Yarra Mayor Cr Amanda Stone said conversations with the local community provided Council with a rich understanding of the diverse experiences of residents, traders and other organisations.
“We are grateful to our community for sharing their experiences, which often included confronting stories of finding syringes or dealing with public overdoses,” Cr Stone said.
“Many people see this as an urgent public health issue and expressed an overwhelming desire to help find solutions and save lives,” she said.
“We heard there is deep community concern, but also a sense of acute frustration that little is being done to address this health crisis. Our community want to see less talking and more doing.
“We will be stepping up our advocacy to the State Government to make a significant investment in harm reduction strategies, including a Supervised Injecting Facility in North Richmond.
“We will also continue to focus on actions within our responsibility, including street cleaning and managing public spaces, as well as continuing to seek State Government funding to implement streetscape improvements that will make Victoria Street safer and more welcoming.
“There are many issues that are beyond Council’s role, so we will also develop an action plan to work collaboratively with other agencies and levels of government to achieve meaningful, positive outcomes.
“The issues facing Victoria Street are complex and long standing, and will require a coordinated response from all levels of government, Victoria Police and health service providers.
"Whilst Council will continue to do all that it can within its jurisdiction, we will increase our advocacy on behalf of the community for coordinated action from other responsible authorities.”
Yarra’s Draft Budget 2017-18 includes funding for two new projects aimed at addressing some of the challenges in Victoria Street. They are part of the implementation of the Victoria Street Streetscape Masterplan.
Lennox and Nicholson Street upgrade ($400,000)
Improving the amenity, safety and public realm in Victoria Street, at the intersection of Lennox and Nicholson Streets, including repaving of footpaths, new street crossing points, street furniture and bicycle parking, lighting, public art and street tree planting. Council has received a $200K grant from the State Government to contribute this project.
Shopfront Improvement Grants pilot ($40,000)
Council will run a pilot program to improve the character, amenity and safety of Victoria Street via a grant co-funding scheme to test practical options to facilitate local traders to improve shopfronts, including improved window displays, coordinated paint schemes or the removal of roller shutters.
To find out more, please visit the Reimagining Victoria Street webpage.