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Welcome to FitzTalk

Welcome to the fourteenth edition of FitzTalk and our third edition for 2021. Whilst we experience difficulties in coming out of the pandemic the question ‘What happens next?’ remains foremost in the minds of many. We hope that we can play our part in providing input into answering this question when we can reschedule the FRA’s PubTalk event to consider that topic.
Meanwhile, we work to address those issues and opportunities that interest and concern our FRA Members and Friends. Developments proposed across our City and suburb continue to dominate our work as we seek to ensure that our streetscapes and neighbourhoods are enhanced by both residential and commercial buildings. 
The over-reach by many developers however continues to challenge the FRA and our Councillors. We seek along with other like-minded resident associations to protect our heritage, environment and the public realm and ensure that current and future residents are accommodated in buildings fit for purpose and which respond to the local character of our neighbourhoods. 
We trust you find this issue of Fitztalk informative, and we welcome your feedback and membership of the FRA.
Martin Brennan & Greg Chenhall
On behalf of the FRA Committee,au

PubTalk: What Happens Next?

The inaugural PubTalk at the Union Club Hotel scheduled for last month was postponed to late August due to coronavirus. Those who registered will be contacted about a new date shortly. While the event was fully subscribed, attendees will be asked to confirm the new date suits them and then the waiting list can be updated.

Our 3 panellists are Professor Janet McCalman AC co-editor of the recently published book ‘What happens next? Reconstructing Australia after COVID19’, Cr Sophie Wade, Nicholls Ward councillor, Yarra City Council, and PK, representing the ‘People of Gertrude Street’.

Yarra's Rainbow Advisory Committee

The FRA is pleased to announce that Jamie Gardiner, a nominee of the Association, has been appointed to the City of Yarra’s Rainbow Advisory Committee. Jamie is wearing the amazing footy socks in the photo.

In recognition of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) members of the Committee joined with the Mayor Cr Gabrielle de Vietri, Cr Sophie Wade, Cr Edward Crossland and Cr Amanda Stone in the raising of the rainbow flag at the Richmond Town Hall.
The aim of the Rainbow Advisory Committee is to address how Yarra can become a more inclusive city, and further develop its role as a centre for LGBTIQ+ business and community. The Committee will assist Council to implement the Yarra LGBTIQ+ Strategy.

Heritage and Yarra's 21/22 Budget

We know that heritage protection and services are a high priority of FRA members. Yarra’s Heritage Strategy promises much but is under-funded at present.
On Thursday 24 June 2021, Yarra Council adopted the 2021/22 budget. It has lots of good things in it including an indigenous cultural heritage officer to address that aspect of the Heritage Strategy. At the budget hearing on 7 June eight of the twenty-eight speakers requested additional heritage resources above the draft budget. While a further additional heritage officer was proposed, at the cost of $92,000 from a planned $150,000 Organizational Strategy Review, this amendment failed. 
The Yarra 21/22 budget passed "unanimously" with few amendments. Two Councillors were not present for the vote and one Councillor was ejected to enable the vote. It is clear that the Yarra Heritage Strategy (adopted in 2019) remains under-funded and there is hope that this can be addressed in the future.

State of the Art Should Mean State of the Art

Fast tracking! Why? FRA considers this to be on the face of it a re-development that has to happen but at what cost to heritage and the environment given the proponent’s failure to address its design in relation to the World Heritage Environs Area and its performance as a sustainable building. 

A state of the art medical research facility should surely occupy a state of the art sustainable building.

Yarra going Leaps and Bounds

The Leaps and Bounds Music Festival brings live music back to Yarra this winter. Go to the website and find out the location of featured events in your City and across your suburb.

Click HERE for more information 

Kerr Street and Argyle Street

The future of the proposed development at 88 Kerr Street and 71-75 Argyle Street will be decided at a VCAT Hearing scheduled for 2 - 13 August. The Compulsory Conference held on 6 May failed to come to any agreement about the building’s height, mass, setbacks, and impact on the public realm. The FRA will be a party to the Hearing and will seek improvements to the current proposal in the interest of residents and nearby businesses that will be impacted by this proposed excessive and inappropriate development.

The Price of Success

As readers will be aware the Council and FRA had success at VCAT against the eleven storey development (Godzilla 1.0) proposed for 84-104 Johnston Street. The building is opposite Coles Fitzroy. The building and site now languishes with unsightly rubbish and tagging whilst the owner prepares a revised development that will meet the criteria set down in VCAT’s determination. The Council has a responsibility to nearby traders and residents of this and other neighbourhood to have sites seeking to be redeveloped made secure.    

Tagging Rise

FitzTalk readers will be aware that the City of Yarra has introduced a Graffiti Management Framework 2020 – 2023. The policy states in relation to private property “Council will work with the community to remove graffiti from private premises where it has a significant impact on public amenity (for example, where it is deemed offensive), and/or is a shopping centre, a gateway or an area of high prominence’. 
The activity centres of our suburb are experiencing a high level of tagging and in accordance with the policy the Council needs to respond urgently as we find pathways out of the coronavirus including support for our local businesses. Those buildings that are tagged should be cleaned and secured by their owners with support and enforcement through Council.

Please report graffiti in your area to Council with photos via and feel free to Cc

Planning Updates

The FRA is active in protecting our neighbourhoods from over-development and ensuring that future developments meet the needs of current and future residents.
Developments be they residential or commercial, need to be sympathetic to the neighbourhood character in height, mass, heritage, and to meet high standards of environmental performance.
Developments that are currently of interest to the FRA include:

  • 88 Kerr Street and Argyle Street, Fitzroy
  • 1-9 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
  • 27-41 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy (St Vincent’s Hospital)
  • 8–14 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy (Australian Catholic University)

If you have a development that is of concern please contact us at

Multi Storey Developments – South End of Smith Street 

The increasing number of over-developments proposed for the south end of Smith Street has resulted in the formation of the South Smith Street Action Group. The concern was raised by the approval of a 13-storey building on the corner of Smith Street and Victoria Parade which may set a precedent for future developments. 
The Action Group has highlighted the following developments and is seeking support for its efforts to protect the south end of Smith Street from excessive developments that would affect current and future residents. 
There are 5 main developments currently pending approval at council:
46 - 52 Smith Street, Collingwood – Permit:PLN21/0042 – Council Refusal
1 - 13 Oxford Street, Collingwood – Permit: PLN20/0747 – Council Refusal

Planning Decisions Committee Meeting (Zoom)
Chair Cr Crossland, Cr Wade, Cr Jolly
Crs Wade & Jolly voted to refuse a permit.

Find the FRA on the Web

For more in-depth information on the work of the FRA (including how to join as a member or donate) please go to

Compiled by: Martin Brennan & Greg Chenhall

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