June 2018 newsletter

View this newsletter with links and pictures

Feature: noise, bands and booze


** Bridge over untroubled waters
In a great win for the community, Moreland Council has agreed to co-fund a bridge across Merri Creek, along with Darebin Council.

In November 2015, residents lodged a petition with 1,374 signatures to Moreland and Darebin Councils, requesting them to build a pedestrian and cycling bridge over the Merri Creek, between CERES Environmental Park and Beavers Road, Northcote

During the feasibility study, community groups expressed a strong preference for a new bridge located away from busy roads.

The proposed bridge connects with a principal bicycle route defined in the Moreland Bicycle Strategy, and will allow people to cross the creek without risking life and limb on Arthurton Road and other busy roadways. In particular it will help families from Northcote, west of St Georges Road, whose nearest school is Brunswick East Primary on the corner of Nicholson and Stewart Streets.

In 2016, Darebin Council agreed to fund their half of the construction costs. Now Moreland Council has stumped up. In the 2017/2018 budget, Council created a Bridge Reserve for funding of shared pedestrian and cycle bridges across the municipality. At this month’s Council meeting, councillors agreed to proceed with construction, with $1.4 million allocated in the 2017/2018 Budget, then $0.5 million recurring over 3 years, reaching a total proposed allocation of $2.9 million by 2020/2021.

Congratulations to Helen McDonald and other residents who worked for years to make this happen. See you at the ribbon cutting!

** Shimmying through John Street
The East Brunswick Shimmy is  a well-used north-south sign-posted bike path which runs from the northern suburbs towards the city. In Brunswick East, it passes through Fleming Park and along John Street, alongside the major East Brunswick Village (EBV) project (a site which will put thousands of cars into surrounding streets, with hundreds of apartments, a supermarket complex, shops and offices).

A 2012 VCAT ruling requires EBV to install traffic calming measures in John Street – just one speed hump in John Street and intersection thresholds at Glenlyon Road/John Street and John Street/Albert Street. VCAT however made no requirements to protect, improve or extend the bike lane.

In March 2017, Moreland councillors rejected a staff report which suggested that little could be done to improve cycling laneways along John Street. Councillors called for more community consultation and now, more than a year later, there are signs of action!

Unfortunately, many John Street residents and bike path users were unable to attend the community consultation, which was called for 3pm on a Friday afternoon, the day before the Queen’s birthday long weekend (Could we politely suggest to Moreland Council, which prides itself on its community engagement, that this is a bloody awful time to consult with people who have jobs!).

The meeting was however productive, looking at options to ensure separated and decent-width bike lanes between Albert Street and Glenlyon Road. The favoured option was to have a  'Copenhagen" bike lane on the east side –putting parking along the outside of the bike lane; then a car lane and then a north-bound bike lane. (Going from the east side this would be: bikes/parking/cars/bikes).

For those who unable to attend the meeting, you can still talk to Transport engineer Andrew Tran, who is developing options to go to Council for a re-jigged traffic plan for the street and options to make cycling safer: phone 9384 9237 or email atran@moreland.vic.gov.au (mailto:atran@moreland.vic.gov.au)

** Noise, bands and booze

NB: Meeting re Penny Black is tomorrow (Tuesday) evening ... see below.

The debate over noise, bands and booze is growing in Brunswick. This reflects the clash arising from increasing housing density in urban entertainment areas and the implementation of neoliberal principles around the deregulation of alcohol sales. It’s inevitable that there will be tensions, with more residential apartment towers built near to existing pubs, clubs and live music venues in the CBD and inner city.

Before leaving Cabinet, Brunswick MP Jane Garrett was Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation. Garrett argued: “The Victorian Government is committed to ensuring that our live music industry prospers, maintains its well-deserved reputation and continues to be an inspiring and safe place for musicians and patrons alike.”

In our neighbourhood, some licenced venues are seeking to extent their liquor licences later and later, to capture profit from Brunswick’s reputation as a place for food, music and a great night out. Meanwhile, as venues encroach into the residential hinterland off Sydney Road and Lygon Street, more residents are complaining about noise from late night drunks, as well as piss and vomit on their doorsteps.

Agent of Change

In recent years, the music, hotels and liquor industries and state regulators have developed the concept of ‘Agent of Change.’ (The same debate is occurring in Londonand in other major cities which are intermingling entertainment and residential apartments).

UK – ‘Agent of change’ bill debate:
Legal landscape: Don't stop the music (https://www.theplanner.co.uk/opinion/legal-landscape-dont-stop-the-music)

The Victorian Government implemented an Agent of Change provision into state planning law in September 2014. In order to obtain planning approval, responsibility for noise attenuation measures now rests with the ‘agent of change.’ In practical terms, this means that if a live music venue seeks to expand, they will be responsible for attenuating any noise effects that are caused by that change. Similarly, a new residential planning proposal close to a live music venue should be responsible for noise attenuation, through better (and more expensive) soundproofing, double glazing etc of apartments.

The bottom line is: who should bear the costs? At present, local residents often bear the cost, as industry dodges responsibility for action. Venue owners have a responsibility for drunken patrons who leave their premises, which is often ignored. The patrons themselves obviously have a responsibility for the community that hosts them, but good luck enforcing that.

Music Victoria and the liquor industry have a sophisticated lobbying campaign and ten point plan to promote live music (and protect their businesses):
Victorian Live Music 10 Point Plan (http://www.musicvictoria.com.au/resources/resources/victorian-live-music-10pp)

Local government and state regulators should enforce the law on acoustics, noise, alcohol service etc, but don’t have the necessary resources and are often reluctant to take on the liquor and hotels industry. Councils should also have a role in liquor licensing as they assess planning permit applications, which are a pre-requisite for applications for permanent liquor licences (applicants are required to seek the prior support of the relevant local council before lodging their application with the State Government).

How does this play out for residents as well as patrons at venues in Brunswick? The issue has been highlighted with recent planning permit applications by the owners of the Penny Black in Sydney Road, and plans for an apartment tower next to Howler.

Penny Black

The Penny Black is a live music venue and beer garden at 420 Sydney Road, Brunswick. In 2014, the owners of Penny Black applied to extend their licence to 3am, but their application failed at VCAT the following year. Now Penny Black is trying again to extend its licence from 1am to 2am.

Many nearby residents feel that little has improved since the debate in 2014-15. One resident living near the venue has written to Council about the loss of amenity: “Noise is not the only problem created from this venue. The patrons when leaving Penny Black are still unruly and aggressive, and the surrounding streets are still littered with broken bottles, cans of alcohol, and vomit. If you walk through the back streets a block east from Sydney Road going north, you will notice a distinct lack of this kind of rubbish. It is the patrons from the alcohol serving venues in the area south of Victoria Street where the rubbish, vomit and damage to private and council property begins.”

“The noise does not stop at closing time. Afterwards there is a migration of intoxicated people leaving the premises. They are often loud, unruly, urinate publicly, vomit on the street and in shop doorways and break bottles, leaving broken glass and empty bottles and cans littering the streets. It is frightening to hear drunken arguments and yelling in the streets close to where I live after closing time.”

There is some evidence that Penny Black is already breaching noise levels set out in state legislation – the State Environment Protection Policy (Control of Music Noise from Public Premises) No. N-2, which sets noise limit requirements for entertainment venues.

Last February, acoustic consultant Frank Butera conducted an assessment of noise in the neighbourhood in relation to a proposal for the ‘Brunswick Yard’, a proposed Food Truck Park on a site adjacent to Penny Black at 1 Frith Street, Brunswick (discussed in our June 2017 newsletter).

Mr Butera concluded: “Music noise from various venues along Sydney Road was identified and clearly audible while conducting attended noise measurements on 11 February 2018. Music noise levels from existing venues currently exceed the SEPP N-2 criteria at the nearest affected residential properties” (Expert statement 5.1.4, emphasis added).

In this case, under ‘Agent for Change’ principles, the company seeking to extend its liquor licence must show that it will not affect the amenity of neighbouring properties. Good luck with that!

Moreland Council has convened a meeting to discuss the application by the Penny Black to extend its licensed hours from 1am to 2am “to provide a forum for applicants, objectors or supporters, and council officers to clarify issues and be better informed of each party's views prior to an assessment being made on the proposal”.

The meeting will be held at Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell St, from 5-6pm on Tuesday 19 June. Entry is via Urquhart St.

Howler and new apartments

Howler is a bar and live music venue at 7-11 Dawson Street (behind the car park opposite the Brunswick City Baths). Directly behind the stage wall of Howler’s band room. Property developers ‘Brunswick Holdings’ have proposed an eight-storey apartment tower at 8–14 Michael Street. Designed by SJB Architects, this complex would include 74 residences (33 single, 38 double and 3 triple bedroom apartments, with some apartments as small as 50 square metres).

There were 426 written objections submitted against the proposed development. Council planning staff recommended approval of the project, but Councillors decided to reject the application.

The application will now be thrashed out in VCAT, but this is a clear example of the Agent of Change concept. The developers seeking to create a new residential property near to an existing bar and music venue should bear responsibility for the design, access and soundproofing of their construction, and notification to potential apartment buyers about the neighbouring venues.

Opinion pieces
* Moreland Council Rejects Plans for Apartments Threatening Howler (https://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/city-file/article/moreland-council-rejects-plans-apartments-next-howler)
* VCAT now the 'Agent of Change' for Brunswick's Michael Street apartments (https://www.urban.com.au/planning/2018/04/29/vcat-now-the-agent-of-change-for-brunswicks-michael-street-apartments)

What you can do about noise

For residents affected by noise and loss of amenity, or developers planning to expand operations, there are a number of useful places to start:
* Moreland Council has prepared a “Dealing with noise” booklet for residents, which includes a noise diary and ways to lodge a complaint: Moreland Council dealing with noise booklet (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/globalassets/areas/local-laws/d16-262659--dealing-with-noise-booklet---moreland-city-council.pdf)
* The EPA’sState Environment Protection Policy (Control of Music Noise from Public Premises) No. N-2 (SEPP N-2) (https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/about-us/legislation/~/media/Files/About%20us/Legislation/docs/SEPP-N2-consolidated.pdf) sets noise limit requirements for noise from entertainment venues
* The Victorian Justice Department has issued detailed design guidelines for licenced venues, which gives ideas that can be used for resident negotiations with Council and owners: Department of Justice – design guidelines for venues (https://assets.justice.vic.gov.au/vcglr/resources/c349afdc-3b71-4caa-8b53-743769935111/designguideforlicensedvenues.pdf)
* The Department of Planning has issued Planning Practice Notes on noise from live music venues: Live Music and Entertainment Noise - Planning Practice Note 81, May 2016 (https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0024/13479/PPN81-Live-Music-and-Entertainment-Noise_September-2015.pdf)
* Music Victoria has a list of useful documents relating to the Agent of Change principle: Agent of Change (https://www.musicvictoria.com.au/resources/agent-of-change-explained)

For more on noise from Moreland Council see:

** The right to speak
At Moreland's June meeting, councillors adopted a revised Meeting Procedure Local Law, which implements changes to meeting procedure and abolishes the Urban Planning Committee. The UPC will now be replaced by monthly “Ordinary Council Meetings Designated for Planning and Related Matters” on Wednesday nights at 6.30 pm (future meetings will be 27 June, 25 July, 22 August, 26 September, 24 October, 27 November and 19 December 2018).

For general (but not the new planning) meetings, councillors approved modification of public question time, to:
* Require a question to be written in order that a full answer can be provided – Council to provide support for community members to write questions;
* Require a member of the community to ask a question in two minutes, limited to topics on the meeting agenda. The discretion for the chair to seek context or background information is retained.
* Automatically put questions that have been written that are not asked at the meeting, ‘on notice’;
* Limit extensions to question time when all questions relating to items on the agenda have been asked.

Following an amendment by Greens Councillor Mark Riley, the Local Law now makes it an offence to “gesticulate offensively” at councillors during meetings. For the record, Brunswick Residents Network does not approve of poking out tongues at councillors. But neither have we seen this happen – and wonder whether a special by-law and penalty is really required.

** Saxon Street: upgrading our community hub

Coming soon – Council will begin work on a “concept plan” for Siteworks, the community hub hidden away in Saxon Street, Brunswick (Saxon Street is parallel to Sydney Road, with the site located behind St. Ambrose Church – you can enter off Dawson Street, opposite the Brunswick Library).

In 2010, Council acquired a former school at 33 Saxon Street, and it’s now used for a range of community functions and activities.

Now, Council is moving to the planning stage for a “multipurpose community hub” on the site. Potential future uses include: public open space in the surrounding garden; multipurpose community rooms (for meetings, rehearsals or local concerts); spaces for creative industries, including artists or writers in residence; and relocation of the Brunswick Neighbourhood House.

The full concept plan should be submitted to Council in December, so in coming months there will be opportunities to have your say about how this great space can be shared.  Watch this space for details!

** Pope Joan bites the dust
The café and restaurant Pope Joan in Nicholson Street is biting the dust, to be replaced by yet another 7-storey apartment tower. Despite having five years left of his 15-year lease on the site, owner Matt Wilkinson has decided to move on, rather than stand in the way of the apartment project.

The restaurant’s website reports: “After eight amazing years in our beloved Brunswick East community, we will be closing our doors on Sunday 24 June to make way for our humble little site to be developed into apartments.”

Pope Joan has been operating since 2010 at 77-79 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East, a road that has been designated for significant re-development, including sections as Residential Growth Zones.

When you look at existing apartment blocks in the Lygon Street Activity centre, most towers have shop fronts at street level. Despite this, many remain empty for months on end, due to the outrageous rents being charged. Nicholson Street may face the same problem, with small business owners being driven away from the activity centre.

Pope Joan Is Closing to Make Way for More Brunswick East Apartments (https://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/food-and-drink/article/pope-joan-closure)

Sad News Guys, Pope Joan Is Closing Its Doors (https://www.theurbanlist.com/melbourne/a-list/pope-joan-closing)

** Lots of great culture stuff
They cannot take the sky: stories from detention

John Gulzari and Michael Green of the Behind the Wire project will discuss Australia’s refugee policy and the new collection of stories collected from people living in detention, entitled “They cannot take the sky.”

WHAT: They cannot take the sky: stories from detention
WHERE: Brunswick Library, Dawson Street next to Town Hall
WHEN: Wednesday 27 June 2018, 7.30 pm
INFO: 9389 8600

A Widening Gap: The Intervention 10 Years On

This exhibition at the Counihan Gallery marks the tenth anniversary of the introduction of “the Intervention” (the Northern Territory National Emergency Response), a military intervention at odds with international human rights conventions. The Intervention was quietly extended until 2022 despite only two of the ninety-seven recommendations in the NT Government’s Little Children are Sacred Report (2007) being implemented.

The exhibition ‘A Widening Gap: The Intervention 10 Years On’ is curated by Jo Holder and Djon Mundine. The exhibition opens on Thursday 7 June, 6 - 8 pm, and runs from Friday 8 June until Sunday 8 July.

WHAT: Exhibition ‘A Widening Gap: The Intervention 10 Years On’
WHERE: Counihan Gallery, 233 Sydney Road (inside Brunswick Town Hall), Brunswick
WHEN: 8 June to 8 July 2018, Wednesday to Saturday 11 am - 5 pm Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm
INFO: 9389 8622 or counihangallery@moreland.vic.gov.au (mailto:counihangallery@moreland.vic.gov.au)

Because of her, we can

During NAIDOC Week (8-15 July), there will be presentations by women about women who have empowered, inspired and enriched their lives. On Monday 9 July, come and hear Rachael Hocking, co-host of the NITV flagship show The Point, a Warlpiri woman with roots in the NT and Victoria, and a proud graduate of Brunswick Secondary College.

WHAT: Because of her, we can – presentation by Rachael Hocking
WHERE: Brunswick Library, Dawson Street next to Town Hall
WHEN: Monday 9 July 2018, 7.30 pm
INFO: 9389 8600

Laneway murals

Thanks to a $25K Graffiti Prevention Grant, the Railman Community Group has been celebrating their new laneway murals in Brunswick West. Check out the images (https://twitter.com/hashtag/BrunswickWest?src=hash〈=en)

CERES Winter Solstice – Beautiful Darkness.

Bring your whole family along to the Winter Solstice celebrations. Honouring the longest night of the year at CERES, you can warm your hands by the fire, sip on some mulled wine and feast on locally made, winter warming food. Enjoy fire performances, live music, lantern making for kids, all culminating in a spectacular fire finale.

Tickets now available: Adult $20, Child (aged 3-12) $5. Family (2 adults 2 kids) $45.

WHAT: CERES Winter Solstice
WHEN: Saturday 23 June 2018, 4.30 - 8.30 pm
WHERE: CERES Community Environment Park Cnr Roberts and Stewart Street, Brunswick East
INFO: Melissa Lawson, on 9389 0100 or email: ceres@ceres.org.au (mailto:ceres@ceres.org.au)

** Update: trees for Albert Street
After two community meetings including exhibition of draft plans, Moreland Council Open Space planner Alex English is completing final plans and ordering the trees! Look out for the plans in Albert Street cafes, or join our e-list to be sent a link:

KEEP IN TOUCH: Join the e-list of residents supporting the tree-planting (http://eepurl.com/dmgBiH )
INFO: Open Space Unit on 8311 4387 or email aenglish@moreland.vic.gov.au (mailto:aenglish@moreland.vic.gov.au)

** Next Moreland Council meetings
All Council meetings – held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month –  are normally held at: Council Chamber, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg. Coming Council meetings are on:
* Monday 25 June 2018 at 6 pm (Adoption of the Proposed 2018-19 Budget, Strategic Resource Plan and Rates Strategy)
* Wednesday 11 July 2018
* Wednesday 8 August 2018

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 the next 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.

** Contacts for our local councillors:
Mark Riley
Mobile: 0499 807044
Email: mriley@moreland.org.au (mailto:mriley@moreland.org.au)

Lambros Tapinos
Mobile: 0433 419 075
Email: ltapinos@moreland.org.au (mailto:ltapinos@moreland.org.au)

Jess Dorney
Mobile: 0419 560 055
Email: jdorney@moreland.org.au (mailto:jdorney@moreland.org.au)

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, rather than replying to this email).

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.


  1. Elizabeth McCarthy · · Reply

    Thanks for sending this through. As both a resident and a worker in Brunswick and Brunswick East I find this kind of newsletter interesting, but I cannot read the font nor the layout whatsoever. A real shame!

    Kind Regards Elizabeth

    *Elizabeth McCarthy* *Breakfast & Talks Producer* *Triple R 102.7 FM and 3RRR Digital* 221 Nicholson Street PO Box 2145 Brunswick East 3057 Australia

    Ph: +61 (0)3 9388 1027 Web: rrr.org.au Mobile for urgent issues: 0434 533 092

    1. Eliza did you click on the link at the top to go to the formatted version? That should be fine. Also, you can sign on to get the email directly. http://eepurl.com/bv4vM9 I know the text version is not too good but I dont know another way to transfer from Mailchimp to WordPress. The link to read it with formatting on the Mailchimp site is: https://mailchi.mp/72ef2025adfc/n9gxzd9ukz-2749321 . Also sorry I didn’t post it last week when the email was sent . . . Nancy for BRN

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