January 2017 Newsletter

Read fully formatted version here: http://eepurl.com/cy_QR5 This month's e-news includes: Open Space initiatives, 1-bedroom push by developers, apartment standards, and more. . .

** Open space and parkland
For some time, Brunswick Residents Network (BRN) has been calling for greater investment in open space and parkland in the South Ward of Moreland municipality. In crowded, inner urban neighbourhoods, it’s really important to provide more green open space, and also to re-purpose existing car parks, transport verges and low traffic streets as community public spaces.

Under Moreland Council policy, major developments are required to pay an Open Space Contribution to Council, which can be used for the purchase of new land for open space and improvements to existing spaces. Last financial year, millions of dollars were collected, but the vast majority of this was allocated for the north-east and north-west wards of the municipality.

We think Brunswick residents and visitors deserve a better deal, and encourage people to let Councillors know about potential areas where Council could purchase or access under-utilised land. Please let us know about your use of green and public spaces on the Brunswick Residents Network Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Brunswick.Residents.Network/) .

Here are a few examples of community action on open space:

Piera Street
Local businesses in Piera Street, Brunswick East have established a small “parklet” in the street, as a trial installation until July 2017 (pictured at right.) The protected area covers several parking bays in a no-through-road, close to Lygon Street. Two businesses in the street - Small Block Cafe and Bikes Please - host and maintain the site. A nearby nursery provided some greenery and it’s an interesting model to trial in other temporary spaces.

Melbourne Water goes to water
Another example of community mobilisation for open space has been the campaign to preserve access to parkland at Hopetoun Avenue, Brunswick West.

Melbourne Water has been proposing to rezone land it controls in Brunswick West (and three other sites, one in Reservoir), in preparation for putting it on the market for sale. Other government authorities have first right to purchase the land, but many councils have not prioritised the use of ratepayer funds to purchase open space and parkland, especially at a time of rate capping.

Government sites are usually zoned Public Use Zone (PUZ) to reflect they are in public ownership. PUZ sites cannot directly be sold to the private sector, so a rezoning is necessary to hand over the site to developers for housing. The Brunswick West site is currently zoned for “Public Park and Recreation”, but Melbourne Water is proposing that it be rezoned as Neighbourhood Residential Zone - Schedule 1.

The land controlled by Melbourne Water in Brunswick West is attached to a larger park along Moonee Ponds Creek. Local residents are campaigning to ensure that the land continues to be accessible for use as parkland. On 1 December, they held a community meeting in Brunswick West to mobilise the community and prepare a submission to go to the rezoning hearings in February, held by the Government Land Standing Advisory Committee.

However on 17 January, Planning Panels Victoria announced it is suspending the proposed hearings on the rezoning of the Melbourne Water land in Reservoir and the Hopetoun Avenue Brunswick West site. This will allow enough time for negotiations to proceed with Moreland and Darebin councils on the sale of the areas.

Planning Panels Victoria will reinstate the rezoning process if negotiations on the land sales cannot be completed, so the campaign still needs community support.

Given the shortage of parkland and open space in Melbourne’s inner north, it’s bizarre to see one government-owned entity selling off public land to another tier of government, at the expense of ratepayers! Beyond this, Melbourne Water's charter means that it should be looking after waterways, storm water and flood management - selling property to developers along the banks of creeks and rivers seems to be contrary to that charter responsibility.

For further information, check out the Protect our Public Parks Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/1HopetounAv/)
* Resident fury as Melbourne Water moves to sell off public land used as parks, The Age, 11 January 2017 (http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/resident-fury-as-melbourne-water-moves-to-sell-off-public-land-used-as-parks-20170110-gtos04.html)
* Fast Track Government Land service (http://www.planning.vic.gov.au/policy-and-strategy/fast-track-government-land-service/1-hopetoun-avenue,-brunswick-west)

Wilson Avenue
The area around Jewell station on the Upfield train line is ripe for redevelopment, and a series of development permits have been issued for the area. In 2015, the developers Neo Metro gained a permit to build two eight-storey residential buildings with 122 dwellings next to Jewell station (in mid-winter, we look forward to shivering on the platform at Jewell, as the monoliths block out the early morning sun!).

Another five-storey redevelopment has been approved at 6-8 Wilson Avenue (which runs between the station and Sydney Road). A row of warehouses on the south side of Wilson Avenue have also been rezoned by Moreland Council to allow multistorey residential development.

With all this activity, a small community space at the intersection of Sydney Road and Wilson Avenue was scoped and established in 2015, with a financial incentive from the Department of Justice. Wilson Avenue was closed at Sydney Road and transformed into a community area, with a climbing wall, murals and small green lawn. It was the first new park constructed in Brunswick in 15 years, through the enhancement of council-owned land.

Last month, Moreland Council published an evaluation to see whether the Wilson Avenue public space was meeting its objectives over the first year of operation, including an improvement in local community safety. You can download a copy of the “Wilson Avenue one-year evaluation report (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/flip-book/wilson-avenue/files/assets/common/downloads/publication.pdf) ”.

Florence street petition

The balance between transport, open space, built-form regulation and sustainability is being fought out in the Upfield corridor – an area slated under Plan Melbourne to host another 40,000 people.

Breathe Architecture, the development company behind the Commons and the Nightingale, is seeking to create a pocket park in Florence Street, Brunswick, next to two of its development projects. Breathe is promoting a petition for Moreland Council to block the end of Florence Street, which runs from Sydney Road to Anstey Station, and create a small green space at the end of the cul-de-sac.

One signatory argues: “Brunswick suffers from heat island effect, a broken transport network and lack of public amenity and play spaces. This pocket park would provide relief for each of these issues, and support the notably increasing residential and workplace communities.” (Mock-up from petition pictured right.)

Like the "parklet" described above, such small projects are a clever way to provide more green space and calm traffic in back streets, at relatively low cost.

However the petition also raises a number of interesting questions. It does not specify who should pay for the initial costs. Should it be funded by the Council. If so, should this come from developers' Open Space Contributions fund, or should this be kept to buy new land for parks?  Should funds come from the regular Landscaping budget? Or should the developers make an additional contribution to assist the project get under way? Breathe projects have received significant support from Moreland Council which allowed their Nightingale project to exceed height provisions of the Brunswick Structure Plan and be exempt from setback provisions, unfortunately setting a precedent for other developers in the Upfield corridor to override these restrictions.

In 2015 Breathe unsuccessfully sought Council funding for its legal battle in VCAT with its neighbouring developer Chaucer Enterprises over car-parking requirements (an interesting attempt to use ratepayer funds for a private initiative!) The mock-up of the park on the petition site shows that it runs between the two Breathe buildings but does not extend to Chaucer's.
* Petition for a Pocket Park on Florence Street, Brunswick (https://www.change.org/p/moreland-city-council-petition-for-a-pocket-park-on-florence-street-brunswick)
* Chaucer Enterprises Pty Ltd v Moreland CC (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2015/1615.html) [2015] VCAT 1615 (14 October 2015)

** More apartments than houses
There has been a significant shift in building approvals across Melbourne over the last decade, with a boom in apartment construction.

In 2007–8, 32,902 buildings were approved for construction across Melbourne, made up of 22,569 houses and 10,333 other dwellings (semi-detached, terrace houses, townhouses, flats, units and apartments). By 2011-12, the number of approvals had increased to 39,870, nearly evenly split between houses and other dwellings. (Pictured right, the 14-storey "282 Albert" project has recently commenced construction.)

Since then, there’s been a massive rise in the number of approvals, and an increasing number of these are for units and apartments. In 2013–14, there were 44,587 dwelling approvals - the next year the total had risen sharply to 56,191. The majority of approvals in 2014–15 were for units and apartments rather than houses (33,059 other dwellings against 23,132 houses). [Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Building Approvals, Australia, cat. no. 8731.0, Table 10]

This shift has been evident in Brunswick and other suburbs in our municipality. Over the four years from 2010–11 to 2014–15, there were 3,528 approvals for semi-detached dwellings of two or more storeys in Moreland. This is far more than in any other Local Government Area, and equivalent to nearly 10 per cent of the 36,494 total of such approvals in Melbourne during these years.

Despite the growth in housing density, especially in Brunswick and Coburg, the current state government has systematically refused proposals for sensible and sustainable development controls along the Activity Centre corridors in Lygon Street, Sydney Road and Nicholson Street.

The amendments to the Moreland Planning Scheme covering Brunswick and Coburg that were gazetted last year by Planning Minister Richard Wynne rejected Moreland Council proposals on mandatory heights and resident rights to notification and review, two core issues long advocated by Brunswick residents. The State government has also rejected positive aspects in the Moreland Apartment Design Code, such as proposals for minimum floor sizes for apartments, in its new apartment design code (see story, below (#better) ).

The debate continues however about how long the apartment boom will last.

** One, two, three many bedrooms
At its January meeting, the Urban Planning Committee (UPC) of Moreland City Council deferred consideration of changes to the existing permit for the East Brunswick Village (EBV) project.

This project is a striking example of the growth of apartment projects in the inner city. The proposed changes raise questions about the balance of one, two and three-bedroom apartments in this extensive re-development.

The developers East Brunswick Village Pty Ltd – part of the Banco Group (http://bancogroup.com.au/project/east-brunswick-village/) – are seeking further amendments to the existing 2012 planning permit, for this major shopping, commercial and residential complex.

The ground has recently been cleared and buildings demolished on the massive Tontine factory site and neighbouring land, bordered by Nicholson Street, Albert Street, John Street and Glenlyon Road in Brunswick East. Our picture (right) shows less than half the site.

Originally, the project included plans for up to 1,000 dwellings in three stages, about 7,000 square metres of retail floor space (including a 24-hour 3,000 square metre supermarket), 7,000 square metres of office space, and about 850 car spaces. Over time, the plans have been revised into stages, with 293 dwellings and the supermarket in the first stage. The project is expanding as the developers buy out adjoining businesses and land (such as the South Pacific Laundry on Nicholson Street).

The proposed changes before the UPC involve an increase to the height of the two six-storey buildings at the centre of the project, by two and five metres (higher than the limits specified in the Brunswick Structure Plan). EBV are also seeking an increase in the total retail floor area from 4,007 to 4,254 square metres, and a shift of the location of the "travellator" (moving walkway) that will funnel customers from an underground car park into the supermarket.

In 2012, the developers argued: “The viability of this precinct and its retail core is contingent upon a residential critical mass being achieved.”

Today, they are seeking to transform the type of dwellings within the project, with a significant increase in the number of smaller one-bedroom apartments. If Council approves the permit amendment, it will only add 15 dwellings (from 293 to 308) in this first stage of the project. But the proposal includes a major shift in the size of each dwelling.

In the 2012 permit, one-bedroom apartments made up 47 per cent of dwellings in the first stage. Under the revised permit, this would increase to nearly 70 per cent. The number of one bedroom dwellings would rise from 138 to 216 (+78), alongside a decrease in two bedroom dwellings from 154 to 91 (-63).

Council planners have recommended that Moreland Councillors accept the changes, arguing that: “The reconfiguration of the Lot 1 and 2 residential layouts is generally of a minor nature and does not reduce internal amenity.”

But shouldn’t a “village” of this scale have a better mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments, to cater for a variety of single and family occupants? Already, in stages 1 and 2, there are just three 3-bedroom apartments for the whole complex!

One problem for this project is that a development overlay on the site removes the right for notification, appeal and review for local residents. For this reason, residents in John Street and other residential streets near the site aren’t informed of changes to the plan. There’s another interesting coincidence: the original permit application was presented for decision in December 2012, just two months after a new council was elected. Now this permit revision comes before UPC, once again to go before a new batch of Councillors – elected in October 2016 – as they return from summer holidays. A suspicious mind may worry that this complex project is being placed before new Councillors before they have time to fully analyse the long-term implications.

Under the EBV Development Plan, people living adjacent to the site can’t go to VCAT seeking amendment of the proposal.

In contrast, the developers applied to VCAT in 2012 to override Moreland Council policies on affordable housing, developer contributions and traffic management:. (East Brunswick Village Pty Ltd v Moreland CC (http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2012/1307.html?stem=0&synonyms=0&query=title(Moreland%20)) [2012] VCAT 1307, 3 September 2012). VCAT refused to include any permit requirement for affordable housing in the EBV complex (defined in Moreland’s planning strategy as ‘well located housing, where the cost of housing – whether mortgage repayment or rent – is not more than 30% of the household’s income.’)

The developers have also avoided making anything but a token contribution to traffic management in adjoining residential streets. The EBV developers argued in VCAT that they are not responsible for funding traffic control in the area around the “village”, despite an estimated 10,000 vehicle movements a day in and out of the complex.

Therefore VCAT only required that the EBV developers pay for just one road hump be installed in John Street with intersection thresholds at Glenlyon Road/John Street and Albert Street/John Street: “additional works on John Street are reasonable, given they result directly and solely from this DP. We cannot say the same about the works proposed on Albert Street. A number of developments will increase traffic volumes on Albert Street and it is unreasonable to require works only of this DP.”

This project is part of the broader pattern across our city. In a recent paper on housing affordability, Bob Birrell and David McCloskey argue that the number of one-bedroom apartments in the pipeline across Melbourne is impacting on housing affordability:

“The high-rise apartment boom is being driven by overseas developers who are marketing their product off-the-plan to local and overseas investors. Most of the product is small, around 50 square metres. They are this size because the smaller the apartment the more that can be put on to each site. There are no requirements in Sydney or Melbourne for developers to provide a mix of apartment sizes or prices.

“It is the investors who are bearing the risk. They prefer small apartments because most don’t want to pay more than $500,000. A family friendly apartment of 80 square metres will cost at least $700,000 to $800,000. As a result, few are being constructed.

“There is only a limited market for tiny apartments. It is primarily amongst residents who are either singles or young couples and amongst migrants on temporary visas. Both groups are a revolving clientele who, when they move on, are vacating premises that others can occupy.”

Bob Birrell and David McCloskey: Sydney and Melbourne’s Housing Affordability Crisis (http://tapri.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Sydney-Melbourne-Housing-Report-No-2-No-End-in-Sight-6-Mar-2016-std.pdf) (Report Two: No End in Sight), 2016.

With EBV making a significant Open Space Developer contribution to Moreland Council, maybe this money should be quarantined to be spent on strategic purchases near to the site, enhancing local parks like Balfe Park and Fleming Park to improve access to open space for the thousands of people who will live in the village. Council might also like to invest now in traffic management around Fleming Park, so the EB villagers can walk safely to the park and cyclists can continue to use the Brunswick bicycle shimmy, which runs through the park and along John Street!

** (Slightly) Better apartments guidelines
Last month, the State Government released its final ‘Better Apartments Design Standards’ (http://www.planning.vic.gov.au/policy-and-strategy/planning-reform/better-apartments) , setting guidelines for light, ventilation, apartment height etc.  As we reported last year, the standards are a step forward, but much weaker than those set in other jurisdictions (for example, New South Wales sets minimum floor sizes for apartments, while the Victorian standards set no minimum).

The new standards will come into effect in March 2017 when they are implemented in the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes.

Moreland has been at the forefront of the debate over apartment standards, developing the Moreland Apartment Design Code (MADC) for buildings of five or more storeys. In August 2015, Council adopted Amendment C142 to the Moreland Planning Scheme, seeking to introduce the MADC as a local policy. State Planning Minister Richard Wynne sat on the proposed amendment for nearly a year, then announced in June 2016 that he would make “make no decision on Amendment C142” and would “reassess this decision once the outcomes of the (State-led) Better Apartments project are known.”

Now that the state-wide standards have been released, the future of MADC is in the wind again. The state government guidelines contain ‘transitional provisions’, which means that they do not apply to planning applications lodged before the Guidelines come into force in March.

However, in announcing the new guidelines, Wynne noted that “in making this decision, I acknowledge that, pursuant to section 60(1)(h) of the Act, a responsible authority must consider, before deciding on an application, ‘any amendment to the planning scheme which has been adopted by a planning authority but not, as at the date on which the application is considered, approved by the Minister or a planning authority’.”

This means that Council planning staff and councillors must continue to consider and give weight to MADC until the Minister makes a final decision on Amendment C142.

** Take a tram to Fawkner
The number 19 tram currently terminates at Bakers Road, Coburg North, but there’s space to continue it to the north. Together with researchers from RMIT, Moreland Council is currently conducting a study on the impact of extending the 19 tram northwards to Fawkner.

To encourage more public transport in Moreland, please fill in this brief survey. It will only take 5 minutes of your life and who knows, one day an extended no.19 tram will make it easier for your descendants to visit your grave in Fawkner cemetery!
* Survey about Sydney Road tram extension through Fawkner (http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3142386/Research-Survey-for-Sydney-Road-tram-extension-through-Fawkner)

** Counting Bikes
Every year, the Moreland Bicycle Users Group (BUG) helps run the Bike Count on behalf of Moreland Council. It’s a valuable service to monitor the number, gender and age of cyclists transiting through our suburb at peak hour, and provides crucial data to help improve infrastructure that makes cycling safer and sustainable.

If you can spare a couple of hours on Tuesday 7 March, Moreland BUG is looking for counters between 7am to 9am (and an invite to the celebratory breakfast afterwards). For further information, contact Ross Millward (Deputy Convenor, Moreland Bicycle Users Group) on 0407 321 803.
* The next meeting of the Moreland BUG will be held on Thursday 2 February at 7pm at Brewcult (581 Sydney Rd, Brunswick). Future  meetings will return to their traditional timing of the 4th Thursday of the month.

Meanwhile, check out the interesting data that argues: More Cyclists In A Country Means Fewer Fatal Crashes! (https://www.statista.com/chart/3261/more-cyclists-in-a-country-means-fewer-fatal-crashes/ )

For more discussion of “safety in numbers” and other measures that improve safety for cyclists, look at the blog by Alan Davies
Why do more cyclists on the road mean fewer riders die? (https://blogs.crikey.com.au/theurbanist/2016/11/07/why-do-more-cyclists-mean-fewer-riders-die/) Crikey, 6 November 2016

** Councils transparency report
A quarter of all complaints to the Victorian Ombudsman are related to local government (there were 3,416 such complaints in 2015-16). However councils across Victoria vary enormously in their transparency and accountability to residents and ratepayers.

Just before Christmas, the Victorian ombudsman Deborah Glass released a report looking at transparency of local government decision making. She found many positives, but noted that in many cases “transparency was a box to be ticked with minimum requirements, not a principle to be welcomed.”

A major problem is that “the Local Government Act in many instances providing inadequate or outdated transparency requirements, leaving it to local laws adopted by each council to govern individual council processes.”

The investigation recommended that all council meetings be recorded, mandatory councillor training be introduced and that several changes be made to the Local Government Act to force councils to be more transparent.

In recent years Moreland Council has taken some positive steps to improve transparency, such as recording and streaming Council meetings. However, with state and local government increasingly seeking to restrict residence rights to notification, appeal and review for many planning decisions, there is a significant problem that many decisions taken by councillors and council staff are taken outside public meetings (for example during staff/counsellor briefings or invitation-only consultations with developers).

The ombudsman notes that “a range of unseen factors can impact on council decision making, which can be divided into two broad categories: unseen influences on decisions and tacit agreements or arrangements reached outside council meetings, including during briefing sessions for councillors.”

The ombudsman’s report includes a range of tables, which compares Moreland and other councils in a range of transparency measures - well worth a look!

* Victorian ombudsman: Investigation into the transparency of local government decision making (https://www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au/getattachment/195a77c8-ed15-4a1d-9967-404474e1b4a6) , 16 December 2016

** Your 2017 councillors
In February, Brunswick Residents Network will organise a gathering for people to meet with Samantha Ratnam, Mark Riley and Lambros Tapinos, the three Moreland councillors from South Ward which covers Brunswick, Brunswick East and Brunswick West.

It’s a chance to discuss their priorities for the Council elected last October, and issues of concern with current Council policies. Details to follow soon!

In the meantime, here’s a listing of the current Councillors on Moreland City Council:

Mayor Helen Davidson (North-west Ward)
Mobile: 0403 709 948
Email: hdavidson@moreland.vic.gov.au

Deputy Mayor Samantha Ratnam (South Ward)
Mobile: 0433 275 434
Email: sratnam@moreland.vic.gov.au

Mark Riley (South Ward)
Mobile: 0499 807044
Email: mriley@moreland.vic.gov.au

Lambros Tapinos (South Ward)
Mobile: 0433 419 075
Email: ltapinos@moreland.vic.gov.au

Oscar Yildiz (North-west Ward)
Mobile: 0413 850 357
Email: oyildiz@moreland.vic.gov.au

Dale Martin (North-west Ward)
Mobile: 0499807075
Email: dmartin@moreland.vic.gov.au

John Kavanagh (North-west Ward)
Mobile: 0427 550 935
Email: jkavanagh@moreland.vic.gov.au

Nathalie Abboud (North-east Ward)
Mobile: 0499 807166
Email: nabboud@moreland.vic.gov.au

Annalivia Carli-Hannon (North-east Ward)
Mobile: 0499 807095
Email: acarlihannon@moreland.vic.gov.au

Ali Irfanli (North-east Ward)
Mobile: 0499 807066
Email: airfanli@moreland.vic.gov.au

Sue Bolton (North-east Ward)
Mobile: 0417 583 664
Email: sbolton@moreland.vic.gov.au

State government

Jane Garrett MP, Member for Brunswick
1/31 Nicholson St, Brunswick East VIC 3057
Phone: (03) 9384 1241
Email: jane.garrett@parliament.vic.gov.au

Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning
c/- 112 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3066
Phone: (03) 9415 8901
Email: richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au

** This Saturday: Quantock as Mannix
This Saturday afternoon an event will be held to commemorate Bishop Daniel Mannix’s historic speech, when for the first time he publicly criticised World War 1, at the opening of a new Christian Brothers school in Brunswick.

Rod Quantock will be Mannix, and will be introduced by historian Dr Val Noone, who’s an expert on Irish and Catholic history in Australia.

Saturday afternoon is the centenary date and time of the 1917 speech, which was made at St Ambrose. The St Ambrose church on Sydney Road, and this church hall, were a hub of anti-conscription organising in 1917.

Opening the afternoon will be  a performance of a new song, Ghosts don't Lie, with choir, accordionist Dave Evans and soloist Lisa-Marie Parker. This complex and moving piece was written by Stephen Taberner, based on four local family stories collected in a series of Brunswick workshops, about how war affects us all. Later this year it will become part of Serenading Adela: A Street Opera – with funding support from Creative Victoria.

WHERE:  St Ambrose Hall, 3 Dawson Street, Brunswick. Don't be put off by footpath works, it's still accessible! Free, all welcome
QUERIES: anticonscription1916@gmail.com (mailto:anticonscription1916@gmail.com)
SHARE: Invite others to the Facebook event (https://www.facebook.com/events/1705532066405726/)
KEEP IN TOUCH: Join the Adela e-list (http:// http://eepurl.com/b-R8Lj) to join the Street Opera

Organised by the Brunswick Coburg Anti-Conscription Commemoration Campaign. The development of the song was supported by the Moreland Community Grants program.

** Brunswick marks invasion day
Graffiti-writers and bottle-shops were in agreement.

No pro-Australia-Day signs were spotted.

** Brunswick music festival
The Brunswick Music Festival is on again between 5–19 March with a program of scorching genre-straddling performances occupying the streets, the usual places and unforeseen spaces of Brunswick.

The full festival program will be announced soon, but international guests include Aziza Brahim, the queen of the desert blues from Western Sahara, and the Hot 8 Brass Band from New Orleans.

The Sydney Road Street Party is on Sunday 5 March.

For further information and tickets, go to: http://brunswickmusicfestival.com.au/festival-info/

** Jargon of the month
Inside Moreland – the quarterly newsletter produced by Council – describes local initiatives on planning. In the latest edition of the newsletter, the Brunswick, Coburg and Glenroy Activity Centres are described as having “a
new mid-rise character of 4–10 storeys” with “direct access to public transport and amenities.”

For efforts to spin ten storey buildings as “mid-rise”, Moreland Council wins our inaugural “Jargon of the month” prize for 2017! With cranes dotted along the skyline of Lygon Street, we’d appreciate less lipstick on the pig that is State government planning policy.
* Please email us other sterling local examples of developer-speak or architect-blather, at albertstreet2020@gmail.com (mailto:albertstreet2020@gmail.com)

** Junk
Recycling plastic bags: correction. Last issue we mentioned that you can keep your landfill bin empty by taking plastic bags, chip packets, biscuit and lolly wrappers and the like to a local Redcycle (http://redcycle.net.au/redcycle/) bin, where your rubbish is turned onto outdoor furniture. Thanks to subscriber Jo Connellan who points out that empty plastic bags can also go in your regular yellow-lid recycle bin.

** Next Moreland Council meetings
All Council meetings – held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month – and Urban Planning Committee meetings – held on the 4th Wednesday of each month – are now held at: Council Chamber, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg. Council meetings are on:
* Wednesday 8 February 2017 at 7pm
* Monday 20 February 2017 (Adopt Code of Conduct Policy) at 6 pm
* Wednesday 8 March 2017 at 7pm
* Wednesday 12 April 2017 at 7pm
* Wednesday 10 May 2017 at 7pm

Check for all meeting details at the Council website (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-council/council-and-committee-meetings.html) . Council meetings can now be watched online, either live, or later - you can find details here (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-council/council-and-committee-meetings/council-meetings/agenda-next-council-meeting.html) along with the agenda for this week's Council meeting.
* Hint: If you go to an evening meeting at 90 Bell Street and find the doors locked, you can probably get in through the back door via Urquhart Street.

Welcome to new readers! To contact organisers of the Brunswick Residents’ Network, or to offer help with future activities, please email albertstreet2020@gmail.com (mailto:albertstreet2020@gmail.com) . (This gmail is our preferred address – but we have changed our "from" address on Mailchimp's advice to avoid your email bouncing).

Please forward this e-letter to other Moreland neighbours who’d like a say in the way their community is changing. It's easy to sign on, or edit your details to include your interests - just go to http://eepurl.com/VX4a9.

For meeting details, survey and newsletter archives, go to: https://brunswickresidents.wordpress.com

Check out our Facebook page for a range of lively discussions: Brunswick Residents Network (https://www.facebook.com/Brunswick.Residents.Network) . Help us reach more people by liking our page, commenting, forwarding this newsletter, and tweeting it using the links below.

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