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Welcome to the May 2022 edition of FitzTalk

On behalf of the FRA Committee, I welcome those who have recently joined the Association. New members add to our capacity to reflect the interests of residents across a range of services and programs provided by the City of Yarra and also respond to the policies that the Council considers for adoption. 
Strategic and Statutory Planning is a major issue that confronts our neighbourhoods, and the FRA seeks to ensure that new developments are sympathetic to our streetscapes and respect our heritage buildings. They also need to be built now for a sustainable future. The recent adoption by the Yarra City Council at its May meeting of the Zero Carbon Developments planning amendment is welcomed by the FRA. The proposed changes to the Yarra Planning Scheme will ensure that developments meet the need for a sustainable future and we trust this will, like the adopted Yarra Planning Scheme, be signed off by the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne.
Martin Brennan

Zero Carbon Developments

Proposed changes to the Yarra Planning Scheme have been developed in collaboration with a group of 30 Victorian councils as part of the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment. 
The changes, if adopted by the Victorian State Government, would mean developments would be required to provide net zero carbon emissions and better water management, to protect and enhance greening and biodiversity, to be more resilient to the changing climate and provide for a healthier environment for the community.
Currently 85% of carbon emissions in Yarra come from electricity and gas use in residential and commercial buildings.
When we achieve joined-up city governments, we can make a difference, and we seek the State Government to join us in delivering a sustainable future.
More information can be found on the Yarra City Council (YCC) website via:

FitzTalk in the Pub

The FRA is working to hold the next FitzTalk in the Pub on a Sunday afternoon early in September. Like the successful PubTalk held in April it will again provide an opportunity to hear from movers and shakers from our community on issues of interest to residents. The next FitzTalk in the Pub topic will be planning for our suburb and City and we’ll aim for it to be informative, educational, and inspiring.

What is the FRA Committee up to?

As a Member or Friend you can participate in the next FRA Committee meeting on Sunday 10 July from 5.30 – 6.30pm via zoom (online). If you wish to be a listener or contributor, please let us know by send your full name and contact details to and we will forward the zoom link.

What is happening in Yarra?

See Yarra City Council’s latest news at
Yarra Budget Special Council Meeting at 7pm on Monday 30 May hears submissions on budget matters. The draft Yarra Budget has been released for feedback during April/May as per the update at YourSay at
The Yarra Council Meeting at 7pm on Tuesday 31 May 31 considers many important items such as the Amendment C286yara — Public Open Space Contributions (Panel Report) and the Brunswick Street Oval Sports Pavilion upgrade.
You can also visit Council’s YourSay site at to provide ideas and comments on:

  • Sustainability and reducing waste
  • A draft Library Strategic Plan 
  • A new bike path and plans for a revamped skate park in North Fitzroy

Our Shopping Strips

Getting to know Johnston Street!

Current Planning Issues

The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) is an Australian not-for-profit organisation working toward an Australia free of poverty. The Brotherhood has its headquarters in Fitzroy, Melbourne and provides services and programs across Australia. The BSL headquarters will be familiar no doubt to many who have lived and worked in Fitzroy. The BSL is proposing a redevelopment of their site to create a Social Innovation Campus. Following meetings on site with the BSL feasibility project team, the FRA Committee seeks your views on the concept.
The BSL is currently undertaking a number of consultations with the community and the State Government into the feasibility of transforming their current Fitzroy headquarter site. In a letter to neighbouring residents the BSL say they have lodged a Development Plan Overlay but note they have made no decisions about the site and are in an exploration phase.
Key aspects include:
  • The BSL is seeking to expand the provision of responses and actions to meet the needs of the disadvantaged across local, metropolitan as well as state-wide Victoria. 
  • The site was established in 1959 and currently houses over 200 staff working to help those in our communities needing the BSL and government.
  • The site now covers 7200 sqm and has frontages to Brunswick Street, Fitzroy Street and Palmer Street.
  • The BSL proposes to redevelop the site into a Social Innovation Campus with existing tenants, including Co-health and NDIS and with potential partners such as ACU, RMIT University, St Vincent’s Hospital and possibly establish a new University of the Deaf.
  • The site will house partner activities along with BSL’s own use and would be developed over a 7-year period. The concept includes a street wall of 3 storeys, with 8 and 9 storey buildings surrounding a central 12 storey core building. The current internal open space would go.
  • Whilst BSL will only require 5% of the site for its activities it sees the campus model as fulfilling its objective to support the disadvantaged in communities across Australia through the activities of its partners.
  • The proposal falls outside the current thinking of Yarra Planning Scheme (C269 Amendment) and the proposed Design Development Overlays of the Yarra City Council (DDO29 and 34).
  • BSL is seeking support from the local community and the State Government for a Development Plan Overlay. This would include new buildings, the creation of laneways for access and removing the 8m street wall height limit and the maximum building height of six storeys.
  • The BSL is cognisant of issues related to local views, heritage and overshadowing which they believe can be addressed during feasibility planning stage.
  • THE BSL project team site recent VCAT development approvals for the ACU and St Vincents along Victoria Parade for an appropriate height along Brunswick Street.
The FRA Committee would welcome your views via

84–104 Johnston Street, Fitzroy 

The Yarra City Council’s Planning Decision Committee comprising Crs Crossland, O’Brien and Mohamud met on 3 May to decide the future of the proposed development at 84–104 Johnston Street (Godzilla 3.0). The development was approved by Crs Crossland and Mohamud. Cr O’Brien did not support the development and moved an alternative motion that was subsequently defeated.

Johnston, Gore and Argyle Street, Fitzroy

We await the follow up application to the Planning Decisions Committee
for this development following its rejection by Council and VCAT. 
Watch this place!

Potential sites continue to attract developer interest across our suburb. See the article in The Age 14/05/22 – ‘Fitzroyalty’. Following the sale of the McCoppins site for $18.5 million the Argyle and Young site will no doubt be dollars paid with more dollars gained given its Commercial 1 zoning and with 10 levels on offer!

Heritage Matters

It is understood the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the effectiveness of the Planning & Environment Act will report in June 2022. It is understood that Yarra Council provided a substantial submission to this inquiry.
At the last Heritage Advisory Committee (HAC) meeting, Greg Chenhall tabled a short analysis of Yarra’s Heritage Strategy and how it will fail to deliver if not provided with resources to match the Council’s approved plans and timelines. At a recent Council Meeting we heard that significant efficiencies will be gained within the Statutory Planning Unit resulting from a significantly expanded instrument of delegation. Those additional delegation changes are now in place. Perhaps (as a silver lining) a further budget cut in the order of $200k.p.a. could be moved from that area to assist the implementation of Council’s Heritage Strategy.
Yarra’s Heritage strategy has 52 actions to manage for Council and is two and a half years in. Six of the 52 items appear essentially complete. 
Thirty actions are identified as short term (by Dec 2024) and it appears there is no plan to provide project management and other resource to complete those actions.
The City of Melbourne, City of Whittlesea and the City of Ballarat have resourced teams, but Yarra has not. Recently the cities of Geelong, Whittlesea and Melbourne are advertising for heritage planners. We hope Yarra Council can see its way to funding a heritage portfolio manager and a junior heritage advisor to assist manage existing and newer Council approved heritage projects while managing existing services.

The latest Yarra News says Protecting and enhancing Yarra’s heritage is important to us. Heritage helps tell the story of our city and community. In our Council Plan 2021–25 we identified the need to protect, promote and preserve our unique heritage. 
HAC members were told in 2020 that the Heritage Strategy could not be resourced appropriately due to COVID. The FRA strongly encourage Council to effectively resource Yarra’s Heritage Strategy at around $200k.p.a. more than currently budgeted to assist to get the Strategy back on track in this post-COVID environment.

World Heritage & Museum Updates

Victoria's Heritage Council (as convened under the Victorian Heritage Act) has reported to the Minister for Planning on the World Heritage Environs Area strategy and whether the existing environs area (or buffer zone) boundaries should be changed. We await further information. You can get additional background information at
The development approved by VCAT for 1–9 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy has not been officially referred for approval to the federal environment department (as provided under the EPBC Act) as yet.
It is understood The City of Melbourne has received plans for the redevelopment of 1-23 Rathdowne Street, Carlton.

In case you are wondering what’s happening in the north of the Museum at the moment —  a new Children’s nature play space called Gandel Gondwana Garden is being created. The garden will take children on a palaeontological expedition across five different ecosystems, reconstructing the habitats that shaped Victoria’s environment over time.

Yarra Council in Session

Remember you can watch Council meetings from your home on
If members are interested in presenting at Council on issues please contact us at

Planning Amendment C269 Update

At the Council meeting on 19 April 2022 Council considered the Panel report on C269yara and resolved to adopt the Amendment with some changes and forward the Amendment to the Minister for Planning for approval. 
Community representatives were nonplussed at the last-minute changes put forward at the Council meeting which were not clear or made known to them. There was a combination of confusion, frustration, and some anger. There was a concern that the administration’s changes were not in keeping with the Panel’s report and thus would weaken some requirements for future development.
You can read more and download the adopted documents sent to the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne at:

Brunswick Street Streetscape Masterplan

In 2020 the Yarra City Council adopted the Brunswick Street Streetscape Masterplan. The FRA along with other community organisations and residents were participants in the extensive consultation.

The plan was to provide future changes and improvements to the footpaths and public spaces along Brunswick Street (between Alexandra Parade and Victoria Parade), as well as the streets around Fitzroy Town Hall and Atherton Gardens.

The aim of the improvements was to create high quality public spaces that would support a range of activities and deliver benefits including tree planting. So what next? Brunswick Street is in need of an overhaul and a revitalisation following the lockdowns.

So why is there no mention in this or last year’s budget of an allocation of funds to do some works on the street? Are we to forget what was promised?

Jenny Wills

Jenny Wills was Fitzroy Council’s first social planner from 1974 to 1981 and helped establish Council’s unique Social Planning Office. She describes the development of a unique and innovative approach to community services during the years 1974 into 1980s. In collaboration with the City Council a very specialised system of holistic support to community members was established. Worth a listen!

Members, we need YOU!

Would you like to be more active in the community and assist the work of the FRA?
Please contact us to offer your expertise and local community interests at

Compiled by:
Martin Brennan & Greg Chenhall
For additional information on any of the items in FitzTalk please email
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