What did Rafael say to Sally?

Br Susan Saunders

Residents 3000 president Rafael Camillo was recently invited to have morning coffee with the Lord Mayor of Melbourne Sally Capp.

Sally’s mission requires that she listens to the people who live, work and play in Melbourne’s CBD.  Rafael represents the residents of the CBD (postcode 3000) and is constantly listening to residents’ thoughts, passions and concerns about living in the city.  With our regular Forum 3000 events on the first Thursday of every month, there are plenty of opportunities for members and their guests to discuss their views on a wide range of issues.  Rafael prepared a wish list for Sally.  

10 issues that most concern residents

Rubbish collection: What strategies can be implemented to reduce the number of trucks that cause traffic congestion and noise? Is this issue to be part of the Transport Strategy 2030?

Liquor licencing: Could the council and the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) work more closely together? The council supports 3.00am permits even knowing that VCGLR has a freeze on issuing licences for later than 1.00am. Residents do not want 3am licencing due to noise and public disruption.

Planning: Residents’ amenity, public spaces, building design that fits in with remaining heritage architecture and precinct traditional character.

Police: More foot patrols to discourage crime and drug trafficking.

Trams:  Melbourne’s greatest asset. Non-polluting and effective people movers.  Residents have asked for more accessible stops, distribution of rolling stock to give more frequent service to people needing roll-on, roll-off access. More public education regarding tram etiquette re: boarding and disembarking.

Metro Tunnel: Residents support displays of art works on the acoustic sheds.

More trees: So important. Council to ensure that trees removed for building works are replaced with mature trees as per planning approval. There are gaps in the city when new trees could be planted, and laneways made more friendly.  

CCTV cameras: Residents want more installed throughout the Hoddle Grid. CCTV cameras to be monitored by police. It is necessary to be vigilant about keeping the CBD safe for all.

Clean city, tidy city, graffiti control: These are self-evident but include pollution-free air and traffic minimisation. Improve the quality of restaurants’ cooking canopies and smoke extraction systems to reduce noise and air pollution. 

Homelessness: This is a big issue for residents as well as for people who work or visit the city. The problem is characteristic of Melbourne’s CBD and has been for years. It is still it is not going away.

Every time we come across some poor person, lying about in the street, often half stoned on drugs or simply totally depressed about their situation, it represents a failure of our society to solve these people’s issues and return them to a normal fulfilling life. Residents support the moves to set up a homeless centre in Maribyrnong. It has been suggested that a homeless centre in the countryside is needed to help rehabilitate people whose lives are in turmoil through drug use and/or mental issues.  

Rafael reported that city residents recognised the same people who frequent the city, presumably homeless, but who seem to time their appearance during events when there are many people about. They seem to have a dog and the same homeless card and similar hats to collect money.  

Residents would like to see more cooperation between police and social organisations to distinguish between the “professional” beggars and the genuine homeless that need help.  Begging is illegal. Residents do not want beggars on the street. Full stop.

One wonders why the homeless issue is such a political hot-potato? Is it that, as a community, we feel guilty? We feel guilty that our society thinks it okay to set up home on the street and lie about during the day when “normal” people are working or contributing to society in a positive way?   

It is also disturbing for residents to be dealing with the many homeless who appear to have serious mental health issues. “It is like living in a mental institution” some residents say.

We feel guilty. But unfortunately, one or two or a few residents cannot solve the problem. It has to be governments, police, medical people, social workers, developers (affordable dwellings) that solve this problem. That is the message our Residents 3000 group is sending.

Thank you, Sally, for listening to us all •

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