By Kara Bertoncini
City of Melbourne councillors last month initiated a review of the council’s sunlight in public spaces policy.
At April 14’s Future Melbourne Committee, Cr Rohan Leppert initiated discussion saying that the current policy was inadequate and due for re-evaluation.
Councillors unanimously voted: “that management proposes to include a review the Sunlight to Public Spaces Policy as a Year 3 Action on the Council Action Plan for 2015–2016.”
Cr Cathy Oke had previously brought the local policy to attention at February’s meeting and highlighted that extensive review was necessary.
Cr Leppert said: “It is clear based on the language in this current report that it is inadequate. A review of this nature might cause some concern out there but we do need to start somewhere.”
Councillor Ken Ong agreed, explaining that Melbourne had changed a lot in 10 years and that a re-assessment was beneficial to the growth of the city.
“The reality is, some parts of the city are not as well protected as other parts and it’s timely that we have a good look at what we protect and what we allow in the various aspects and various parts of the city,” he said.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle also agreed with the motion but warned it must undergo serious investigation.
“I will support a review but I will oppose its results if it is not the result of deep analysis,” he said.
“I don’t like the underlying mantra that there is good and there is bad shade. Bad shade is buildings. Apparently good shade is trees.”
“That’s one of the problems of entering into a review like this with open arms – I worry that the law of unintended consequences will apply to this,” he said.
Cr Leppert assured the council that the integrity of the policy’s objectives would be retained and that any amendments would be thoroughly justified.
“What we’re trying to do is uphold the objectives that are already found in the planning scheme and not throw them out the window and start from scratch again,” he said.
“I think we’re probably closer than some might think.”