MHA was surprised to see that the planning minister Matthew Guy impatient with the mayor of the Surf Coast Shire over its delay in deciding whether a local school is to be built, Melburnians are surely entitled to their own impatience considering Mr. Guy’s reluctance to decide the fate of 98 buildings recommended for heritage protection earlier this year. Mr. Guy recently said of the Surf Coast Shire council, “frankly they do have to get off their backside and make a decision” (“Minister rebukes ‘gutless’ mayor over school delay” published in The Age on Dec. 6th 2012). MHA would like to see the Minister sign off on the C186 amendment that will give permanent heritage protection to the 98 buildings, which are currently sitting ducks – recommended for protection but currently without any interim protection (which the minister refused to give them). Already the iconic Celtic Club building in Queens St. Melbourne has been approved for a huge tower development; the gold rush era Royal Saxon Hotel is facing a similar threat, and an important chapter of our social history – the former VD clinic in Little Lonsdale Street – is now the subject of an application for demolition. All three buildings are on the list of 98 buildings proposed for heritage protection, currently languishing on the Minister’s desk. Frankly, the community needs an answer on this crucially important opportunity to safeguard Melbourne’s heritage now, Mr. Guy – it’s the Christmas present Melbourne deserves.
MHA has written to the minister asking him to sign off on the amendment and we encourage all our members to send a letter as well. Below is our suggested text for an email to the minister. You can email him directly at Matthew.Guy@parliament.vic.gov.au Remember the more emails the better so please take a few moments to add your voice and help us get these buildings protected.
As a concerned member of the voting public, I am writing to seek clarification as to why you have chosen to ignore a request for permanent protection for 99 significant buildings in the CBD.
Because you failed to grant interim protection for these structures (despite a request sitting on your desk for a year) an important interior once known as “Rosatis” was destroyed.
You recently approved the demolition of 95% of one of Melbourne’s oldest drinking holes, the Celtic Club for a 40 storey tower before considering it for heritage protection.
Two similar proposals are before you in relation to the 1855 Royal Saxon Hotel and the 1918 VD Clinic. Do you intend to continue to undermine due process and allow the facading of the Saxon and demolition of the clinic before you consider requests for their protection which have languished on your desk for over a year?
I urge you to act in the best interests of this city, its character, economy, tourism industry and livability before any more is lost by granting protection for all of the properties within C186. The City of Melbourne, an independent panel of experts and the general public expect you to act now.