Councillor Election Interviews: John Middleton

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John Middleton has lived in Port Phillip since 1984 and is Councillor for Junction Ward.

 

Q: Could you please tell me your party affiliation, and what you hope to achieve should you be re-elected.

Endorsed by the Australian Greens.

I want to complete some of the unfinished business from the current term. For example; there have been a number of adverse planning decisions by the Minister and VCAT in the area of St Kilda Junction and St Kilda Road South. There is some urgent strategic planning work that needs to be done to strengthen development controls in this area.

I want Council to further improve its management of capital projects in terms of cost, design and delivery times.

Council needs a certain amount of continuity. As there will be at least four new Councillors after the election, my experience on Council, and for many years as a consulting engineer, will be particularly important.

 

Q: What is your position on the 2012 St Kilda Triangle Vision framework?

The Council has done well:

•                in getting the previous disastrous proposals terminated and retrieving the site for the community

•                recouping the cost of compensating the developer by use of the space for car parking

•                working with the community in developing the new vision for the site

•                committing to reinstating third party appeal rights as part of the proposed planning scheme amendment.

There are challenges ahead relating to design, staging, funding etc. Council should, and I’m sure it will, continue the conversation with the community at every stage.

 

Q: What is your position on the St Kilda Harbour redevelopment?

I have supported the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron project which will replace the existing dilapidated moorings, and the breakwater extensions that will provide better protection to boats. The next urgent component is the replacement of the pier. This will be facilitated by the inclusion of steel sleeves in the breakwater construction, for which I advocated and the government is funding.

I don’t support the proposals for a future large increase in the number of moorings and a massive offshore boat-repair yard.

 

Q: What is your position on the Skate Park to be built on the Marina Reserve?

Council has done well in finding the best place for a skate park and persevering with it. Instead of inflicting a further development upon the green open space of Albert Park, they are replacing bitumen car park with more green open space, as well as the skate park.

 

Q: Will you support St Kilda’s live music scene?

Definitely, live music is a vital part of the character and creativity of St Kilda. But resident amenity is also important. With hard work and good will, both can flourish, as was recently demonstrated with the resolution of the planning permit for the Great Provider.

 

Q: What is your position on high-rise developments in St Kilda, and in particular St Kilda Junction?

There has been a number of planning approvals for excessive development proposals in the St Kilda Junction area. In every case, Council refused the application but was overruled by either VCAT or the Minister. A new strategic plan to strengthen development controls, in the St Kilda Junction/St Kilda Road South area, will be an urgent priority for the next Council term.

 

Q: Would you like to see a supervised-injecting room in St Kilda?

There is no proposal to establish a supervised injecting facility in St Kilda or elsewhere in Port Phillip. Yet supervised injecting facilities are a proven harm-minimisation tool. There is compelling evidence that such facilities save lives. The facility in Sydney is a public health success and has the almost unanimous support of the public health community.

 

Q: Is there anything else you want to bring to our readers attention?

Action on climate change has been taken more seriously in this Council term, but the Council has yet to grasp the true magnitude and urgency of the issue. The cost of uncontrolled climate change will be enormous. Taking action is not a cost, it is an opportunity.

I’m hoping that we will have more Greens on Council, to help make the most of that opportunity.

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