2014 candidate for City of Mitcham.
Heritage survey responses.
What do you think Council's role is in protecting and conserving heritage?
To keep a register of listed sites within their boundaries and monitor changes that occur working in conjunction with state and national based groups. All council staff that are "on the road" should have a general idea of heritage sites and it should be part of their role to observe and report anything that may be significant or may lead to loss of the site. This also means that the council would need to be resourced for these roles. The councils are there for the local people, looking after local heritage should also be part of their function.
What measures and incentives do you support to protect and conserve local heritage?
I believe the various government bodies need bigger teeth. If someone damages or destroys locally listed heritage sites the penalty should reflect the loses of the people of the community not a slap on the wrist.If people knew that there were significant penalties and knew that these penalties were handed down there would be potentially fewer problems. There is also the emotional attachment to sites. Please see answer to Question 10 for elaboration.
What is the most important heritage protection issue in your local government area?
The destruction of some areas or buildings just for profit. We protect that which is significant to us. People protect what is theirs and will defend it when threatened. Just look at the people who chain themselves to trees to protect them. Should any heritage site be less protedted?
What policies and programs will you advocate to protect and conserve heritage in your local area?
An open register would be an interesting start. How many people know what heritage sites exist withing their council areas and where they are located. Once people know WHAT exists and WHERE it is, the next step is to make public WHY it exists.
Do you support local Councils retaining development approval powers for projects over $3m in value?
YES!!! Within reason. With inflation it will not be long and some housing will start to nudge these figures. Already it is not uncommon for housing to be over 500K and many commercial sites are in excess of 3million. I also question the outcome should a state based office just apply "guidelines" to a proposed development without knowing how it is going to affect the surrounding district. When I look at the debacle that has become the traffic flow around Black wood following the development of Craigburn Farm what I see is a developer that has chopped up a huge area where the infrastructure surrounding it could not cope with the changes. Part of the approval for development may have been to include wider ranging conditions and surrounding networks. I do not believe that a state based office organization has the ability to know my neighbours the way I know my neighbours. They moved here for a reason and that reason does not always include the massive changes of their neighbourhood for profit that can occur with poorly thought through or ill-conceived ideas that are rubber stamped because the proposal "met all listed criteria" and had to be accepted.
Do you have any other thoughts about the protection of heritage in your Council area?
Make people proud of the history of their area. It is difficult to hold something dear to our hearts when we have no emotional attachment to the object. There are a number of small parks that exist that have been left to local councils by families or in memory of families. It must be reinforced that these are "owned" by the people not by a bureaucrat in a council or government office somewhere. The local council must fund maintenance of these and this may be a burden that many taxpayers fail to appreciate. However when people adopt something as "theirs" they tend to look after and defend its existence.