2014 candidate for City of Holdfast Bay.
Heritage survey responses.
What do you think Council's role is in protecting and conserving heritage?
I think there is confusion about how effective adaptive re-use is. Some elected members want to sell off our heritage properties that have no obvious use for the community into private hands. The Institute building was sold recently to an estate agent and is now in everyday use although it sports a non-heritage yellow front door and a large electronic signboard has been set next to the building. It had been used for monthly garage sales by a Rotary Club who spent a lot of time redecorating it - a waste of time for them once it was sold. I am worried that selling buildings into private hands could lead to their eventual destruction after being left derelict. However, I am not sure Council is maintaining its buildings very well either!
What measures and incentives do you support to protect and conserve local heritage?
Council must take responsibility to maintain buildings for the community if they are considered valuable to our heritage. Grants are also available for listed buildings.
What is the most important heritage protection issue in your local government area?
The original Brighton Town Hall is currently causing conflict about whether to sell it or find a community use. It needs a lot of repairs to be useful so I cannot see private business taking it on except for the land sold with it. It would then be allowed to fall into more disrepair until it could be classified as unsafe and pulled down. I don't believe that would be illegal even with the State Heritage listing it has now been granted?
What policies and programs will you advocate to protect and conserve heritage in your local area?
I advocate the comprehensive listing of locally important heritage buildings that Council currently does. It also provides advice and rate reductions for repairs to listed buildings. We have an active volunteer History Group that should be encouraged. The annual About Time festival to celebrate our heritage and have openings of privately held heritage buildings is a great innovation. I think Council mostly does its heritage work well. It is just finding a use for specific unused buildings owned by Council that requires better consultation with the community and more originality.
Do you support local Councils retaining development approval powers for projects over $3m in value?
I believe that elected members are elected by the residents to represent them in just such cases. If Councils lose their powers so do residents and the democratic process is weakened.
Do you have any other thoughts about the protection of heritage in your Council area?
When we recently added to Council's heritage listings some trees in an avenue and some other separate ones at Minda were included. However, Minister Rau in State Government removed the listings. When we complained and tried to reinstate them they were again rejected, with a rider that they already enjoyed protection as registered or significant trees. That is true but not as comprehensive as heritage listing. Now that Minister Rau has also taken control for the Minda redevelopment project on the site (where the trees are) I wonder if that is coincidental or planned!