Passionate defence of amenity

Like many other CBD residents, Rafael Camillo has a love/hate relationship with the city.

He loves the vibrancy and energy, but hates its diminishing amenity and, more particularly, the insensitivity and/or ignorance of the City of Melbourne’s planning decision-makers.

Leaving aside the apartment boom and the associated issues of disappearing sunlight, tower separation, setbacks, privacy and the like, Rafa can speak with passion for hours about noise, exhaust fan fumes, garbage, beggars and other “on-the-ground” issues.

He feels ripped off that the City of Melbourne has, for the past couple of decades, encouraged people to make their homes in the CBD but does little to protect their quality of life.

Rafa has the misfortune to live near a 24-hour entertainment venue which can pretty much please itself how it operates.  The resulting low-frequency, techno “doof” vibrates his walls. Complaints to the authorities have so far not achieved an outcome.

His building was there before the noisy venues and, adding insult to injury, he says they operate as nightclubs but can cheat the system by pretending to be art-venues or taverns by serving snacks or tapas.

What’s even worse, he says, the bar owners are getting rich while residential ratepayers fund the daily clean-up of urine and vomit from the city’s lanes.

“It all comes back to inadequate planning,” he said. “I’m not against these-types of businesses.  They are great for the city.  But they are incompatible with residential living.”

Mr Camillo said the City of Melbourne was diligent in pursuing and fining residents for any breach of regulation but was inclined to turn a blind eye to business breaches.

For example, he said, businesses were supposed to keep garbage within their premises and only put their bins out for collection immediately before and after an agreed time.

“They let any number of coffee shops open even if they don’t have a place for their bins,” he said.

And, while there are plenty of things that make him angry, the most vitriol is reserved for those who suggest he should move out if he doesn’t like CBD living.

“This makes me really mad,” he said.  “Why should I move out?  Why can’t the council just do its planning properly?”

Mr Camillo is an executive member of Residents 3000 and is an active contributor to city life.

“I love living in the city, but I don’t see why we have to put up with this shit,” he said.

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