Open Space Improvements at Public Housing Estates
Council has unanimously endorsed a Greens proposal to consult with residents at the Collingwood, Fitzroy and Richmond public housing estates about how they would like to best use their open space. This initiative began over 12 months ago but was stalled due to the state government master planning process for Fitzroy and Richmond, which proposed building private residential and commercial buildings on the open space. After strong opposition to this privatisation of public space, from Yarra Council, this process has been put on hold and we can again plan how to improve the open space for residents.
The recent heat waves have highlighted the importance of green, shaded open space for residents to escape from the heat of small apartments, and the role of trees in cooling urban environments by as much as 8 degrees. These open spaces are also vital communal meetings spaces, recreation and cultural spaces, especially for the 30% of residents who are children.
While the land is owned by DHS, council can work in partnership to improve the useability and enjoyment of these open spaces on all estates to benefit residents.
Affordable Housing Grants
Yarra Affordable Housing Grants were established in 2013 as a result of a Greens motion. The grants make up to $50,000 available annually to providers of affordable housing to deliver initiatives that build capacity, maintain community diversity, increase or renew affordable housing, sustain and improve access of low income earners to affordable housing. The first grants have just been awarded to HomeGround Services for a scheme which encourages private landlords to make rentals available at discount or rent-free for periods; and to Yarra Community Housing for research into the high turnover of tenancies in Yarra. Both initiatives will assist those at risk of homelessness in Yarra to maintain accommodation here and be supported.
Tudor Street Redevelopment
Greens councillors have been driving this initiative since 2010 when we moved to abandon the sale of the site and instead retain it for community use. Richmond Community Learning Centre was successful in an EOI for the use of the land as a community centre and garden, and last week council voted to proceed to quotation for works to bring the “Burnley Backyard” project to fruition. The total project cost to council will be $1,055,000 with $200,000 committed this year. With population growth in Richmond, facilities like this as seen as vital by the Greens.