The council’s application for a heritage permit for its Queen Victoria Market (QVM) ambitions marks a line in the sand in the political battle against the redevelopment.
The council and its opponents are, on this issue, united in a clear expectation that a permit will be issued.
But, while the council will see a clear path ahead, having followed due process, opponents are already discrediting the process, activating a political strategy and are preparing a campaign of civic disobedience.
Friends of Queen Victoria Market co-founder Miriam Faine is critical that Heritage Victoria (HV) didn’t do more to alert the public of its opportunity to comment on the council’s application.
She accused HV of failing to adequately advertise the application.
Failed lord mayoral election candidate Phil Cleary told CBD News he couldn’t care less what HV determines.
“Politics has taught me that you can’t trust institutions who are supposed to be the objective,” he said.
Mr Cleary said he still believed the matter would be resolved at the state political level.
“Is the government prepared to back a plan the community believes is destructive of the cultural fabric of the place?” he asked. “It would be folly for the State Government to support that plan.”
But Mr Cleary could not point to widespread civic unrest about the council’s proposal. Rather, he said he thought the issue was a “sleeper” which would surface at next year’s state election.
“I think people will resist,” he said.
Mr Cleary said other opponents were recruiting citizens for a “community picket” to disrupt any dismantling of heritage sheds.
He accused Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and city design director Rob Adams of not understanding the “rhythm” of the market.
“These people will destroy the rhythm because they don’t understand it,” he said. “It’s a clean-up job that will sanitise the fabric of the market.”