Council Election Interviews: Dick Gross
Dick Gross has a lot of experience in local government, being a former three time mayor of Port Phillip. He is back to contest his old seat of Junction Ward. Daniel Wilson from St Kilda News asked the Dickster, as he sometimes refers to himself, about some of the pertinent issues in St Kilda.
Q: Could you please tell me your party affiliation.
I am running as an unendorsed candidate. I am a member of the ALP.
Q: What is your position on the 2012 St Kilda Triangle Vision framework?
The 2012 Vision Framework is not worth the paper it is written on. It is uncosted and there is no financial plan. It will be funded by rate levies (which is unfair) and/or debt (which is ridiculous and would make Port Phillip the Spain of the south). After so many years to have come up with so little detail is a disgrace. There is no certainty what the plan means. It lacks for so much and demonstrates why single issue parties are not to be trusted again. The unChain proposals are vague, unworkable and unpopular with everyone.
Q: What is your position on the St Kilda Harbour redevelopment?
St Kilda Harbour needs a lot. It is not a safe harbour for boating and I support any work to make it safe. However, the current plan is problematic as it fails to take up the advantages for the community of a new pier, with new on shore open space and sheltered swimming facilities. It is another opportunity being wasted by State Government who is being let off the hook by the current Port Phillip Council.
Q: What is your position on the Skate Park to be built on the Marina Reserve?
The Marina Reserve Skate Park is underway. Typical for this Council, they took years of delay to get it up. Given that it is being built, I hope that it is a great success and I wish it well.
Q: Will you support St Kilda’s live music scene?
St Kilda has always been the incubator of rock music in Oz. This is decreasingly the case because venues have closed. Last election I fought hard to open new venues on the Triangle site but that idea was defeated. Nonetheless it does demonstrate my commitment to live music and I still support the idea of new venues in appropriate locations. But music is always balanced with the need for residents’ enjoyment of a reasonably quiet life. Therefore, whilst I do not support vexatious complaints, I do support the responsible attenuation of noise by venues. We all have to live together and that means balance between all sides. Council has a legal duty to enforce the law on noise and should do so. But it also has a duty to encourage live music and ignore vexatious complaint. UnChain has been hypocritical on this issue. Last election they portrayed venues as drunken, noisy, violent dens of iniquity and now they want to support live music. They have no consistent narrative on anything but especially live music.
Q: Would you like to see a supervised-injecting room in St Kilda?
I do support a supervised injecting room if the harms from injecting will be minimised and it is needed. Other harm minimisation programs such as methadone and needle exchange may have made the idea unnecessary. This idea would need some study of the needs of users and the appropriate location of the room. But generally I support the idea and would support a room.
Q: Is there anything else you want to bring to our readers attention?
There is going to be a huge number of new Councillors. Many are retiring. I offer myself as an experienced Councillor who was three times Mayor. Experience will be needed.