Candidates for Bayside City Council share their views on heritage

Published online in the National Trust Victoria’s Trust Advocate on 13 October 2020. 

The 2020 Victorian Local Government Elections are now in full swing. Voting packs have now begun to be distributed, and must be lodged by 6 pm on Friday 23 October.

The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) has contacted candidates standing for election to the Bayside City Council to share their policies and views on heritage.

Bayside Council has a long track record of neglecting its responsibilities to protect post-war heritage within the municipality, and while we recently celebrated a win when Council narrowly voted to resume its previously abandoned heritage studies, we are seeking a commitment from prospective councillors to ensure this work will be completed and implemented, and that places which come under threat will be protected.

We received 16 responses to our survey that was circulated to all candidates standing for election to the Bayside City Council. See all responses below.

Question 1) In June, we were pleased to support Council’s decision to undertake the following heritage studies: A Mid-Century Modern Heritage Study (to commence immediately) An Inter-War and Post-War Heritage Study to commence in 2021/22. 

Will you support the protection of significant heritage places identified in these studies when the reports return to Council in 2021/22?

Helen Tachos — Yes

Marcus Barber — Yes

David Williams — Yes

Rob Grinter — Yes, I supported the motion by voting in favour.

Michael Norris — I will support the studies being considered by a Planning Panel.

David Rothfield — Yes

Evan Packer — Yes

Laurence Evans — Yes – as a current Councillor I have supported this study.

Fiona Stitfold — Yes

Jamie Paterson — Yes, after 20 years of inaction, I will ensure the heritage studies and recommendation process are followed through with.

Lindsey Joffe — I am not across all of the details in the reports but would support in principle protection of significant heritage places.

Rosie Grech — Absolutely

Daniel Cullen — Yes

Hanna El Mouallem — Yes

James Long — Yes, Happy to support however, proper communication and consultation with community is necessary.

Stavroula Psonis — While I have not seen the heritage places identified in these studies I am pleased the Council has undertaken these studies, and I would support any further reviews if needed to be undertaken.

Question 2) We have recently seen the demolition of a number of architecturally significant houses in Bayside, including 17 Nautilus Street Beaumaris by Charles Bricknell, and Breedon House at 34 Were Street Brighton by Geoffrey Woodfall.  While we welcome Council’s recent decision to undertake new mid-century heritage studies, places which have been identified as being significant in previous and current studies will remain vulnerable to demolition. 

Will you commit to protecting significant places that don’t currently have protection which come under threat, requesting interim protection from the Minister for Planning if needed?

Helen Tachos — Yes

Marcus Barber — Where feasible to do so

David Williams — On a case-by-case basis

Rob Grinter — If elected, I am always willing to seek interim heritage protection from the Minister of Planning.

Michael Norris — Yes, in principle

David Rothfield — Yes

Evan Packer — Yes – if as a Councillor I am provided with sufficient information when assessing planning applications.

Laurence Evans — I am wary of Interim Protection Orders but would rather work through each significant place that doesn’t have protection on a ‘one by one’ case.

Fiona Stitfold — In principle, yes

Jamie Paterson — Yes, there must be a better mechanism to prevent destruction of significant places.

Lindsey Joffe — Yes

Rosie Grech — Yes

Daniel Cullen — Yes, on the basis that they meet agreed qualifying criteria.

Hanna El Mouallem — Yes, as long as the significant place is considered to be of sufficient significance to warrant interim protection. My preference is to rely on Conservation Architects advice in relation to this matter.

James Long — Yes, particularly in Brighton and Brighton East. The current planning scheme and associated zonings with major activity centres place undue pressure of significant heritage homes. There are some in the Beaumaris area who will be quite a challenge to convince.

Stavroula Psonis — Preserving our heritage to enhance our unique Bayside amenities for our future generations is important to me, so in these circumstances I would support heritage protection as per current State laws.

Question 3) How will you ensure that these vital heritage studies are carried out and funded in full and not abandoned as previous heritage studies have been in the past?

Helen Tachos — To not support any new developments related to heritage listed property

Marcus Barber — As per recommendations in the Bayside 2050 Vision document

David Williams — Councillors will make decisions in the best interests of the whole community

Rob Grinter — I only have ongoing commitment as per my support evident by my historical voting during my 4 years of being a Councillor 2016 to 2020.

Michael Norris — I can’t unless I can persuade other Councillors in the face of opposition and a very tight financial situation

David Rothfield — I will seek the support of other Councillors for their completion

Evan Packer — I would advocate for funding, review and action of heritage studies. Commissioning and taking action on the recommendations of heritage studies/reports is an extremely important and necessary process for Councillors. I believe Councillors must make well-considered and timely decisions, and they should not unnecessarily delay difficult decisions for the ‘next’ Council. Good heritage controls in Bayside have been neglected for decades – time is running out to protect what we have remaining.

Laurence Evans — There is greater Community awareness of heritage- especially through Community groups like Beaumaris Modern to ensure greater Community support

Fiona Stitfold — I will do my best to ensure any studies undertaken are followed through.

Jamie Paterson — I will continue to support the heritage process and ensure significant assets are identified and recommended for protection.

Lindsey Joffe — I cannot comment on studies or funding requirements without being fully across the outcomes of previous studies but would be happy to look into this further.

Rosie Grech — I will bring them to the attention of Council and push for them to be completed should they show signs of being abandoned.

Daniel Cullen — I am not across the detail as to why council would have abandoned studies in the past, or the typical number of these studies abandoned. However I see no reason why Local Government Procedure, beneath State Policy, cannot accommodate the practice of performing these studies and allocate a reasonable budgetary allowance? The council and National Trust (Victoria) should be working hand in hand to protect these valuable sites that are entirely in the communities best interests.

Hanna El Mouallem — By allocating adequate funding and the integration of the outstanding actions from previous heritage studies in the new studies.

James Long — Unless Bayside council has a clear majority of like minds it will be difficult to deliver. Certainly would be argue funding with the new budget next year. Also need to express to officers at briefing the community concern about valuable loss of heritage.

Stavroula Psonis — If elected as Councillor when such important matters are brought to my attention by concerned constituents I will ensure their voices are heard.

Question 4) Will you commit to the protection of Bayside’s environmental heritage, including significant trees and landscapes?

Helen Tachos — Yes

Marcus Barber — Absolutely but we need more than protection, we need to re-establish tracts.

David Williams — Wherever possible and practical

Rob Grinter — Yes, I will continue to commit to protection of Bayside’s heritage, including significant trees and landscapes

Michael Norris — Yes, plus heritage indigenous vegetation, and seek to have further landscapes and trees added to the Planning Scheme and Council’s register

David Rothfield — Yes

Evan Packer — Yes

Laurence Evans — I stand on my ‘Track Record’ over the previous 8 years as a Councillor

Fiona Stitfold — Yes

Jamie Paterson — Yes

Lindsey Joffe — Yes

Rosie Grech — This is a particular passion of mine. Definitely.

Daniel Cullen — Yes. I commit to protecting historically significant buildings, precincts, trees, structures and places, which define the rich history of Bayside.

Hanna El Mouallem — Yes. As a panellist on Bayside 2050 Vision, I will aim to deliver on the priorities of the Vision including the protection of living/ natural environment.

James Long — Yes.

Stavroula Psonis — The protection of our environmental heritage is important to me and when such an issue arises I will work to ensure the protection of our heritage under current laws. In my home I have an almost 100 year old Date Palm Tree which was planted by my neighbour’s family, and so I understand the importance of our environmental history as this landscape is what provides Bayside its defining character.