Addressing the shortfall of affordable housing in Carlton

Addressing the shortfall of affordable housing in Carlton

The Carlton Residents’ Association (CRA) is concerned at the lack of social and affordable housing in our suburb and across Melbourne.

We have therefore been aware of the boarding up of the two red brick public housing towers at 20 Elgin St and 141 Nicholson St, Carlton.

A letter to the Lord Mayor and City of Melbourne councillors and also the Minister for Housing Harriet Shing requested information on why they had been abandoned at a time when there was a shortage of housing and what was to be of their future.

The minister has responded that the buildings that housed 196 apartments were no longer “habitable” and that they would be demolished and replaced with 231 sustainably designed homes and managed as public housing. 

However, while the demolition will occur in mid-2024 the replacement buildings would not be completed until 2028.

The question remains as to the “habitable” nature of the existing buildings, why refurbishment was not an option and given the four-year minimum time lag to bring the new homes on stream whether this is an appropriate response to the shortage of housing. 

We await the City of Melbourne’s response and their knowledge of the redevelopment.   

Other matters that remain on the CRA agenda include the future of the 1-23 Rathdowne St following VCAT’s rejection of the most recent development proposal.

The unsightly property requires the council to re-enter into negotiations with the owner that would clear the property and provide a public park amenity until a decision is made on its future. 

And, of course, the never ending trial of e-scooters in our city continues to put off a decision on the need to enforce compliance measures to ensure the safety and amenity of pedestrians.

While the council is seeking enforcement powers governing e-scooters following the end of the trial in March, the state government continues to procrastinate despite evidence of their misuse and abuse on our footpaths, roadways and parks and gardens. 

And finally, the CRA has proposed to the Lord Mayor and councillors a review of the current use of the Carlton Gardens for the annual Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS).

In a submission to the council, CRA has recommended a review of the impact of the event on the gardens in a climate changing world, and on the local city community.

We believe there is an opportunity to consider post the end of the current contract in 2026/27 Birrarung Marr and surrounds including Federation Square and the expanding Greenline as venues for an expanded two-week of flower blooms and festivities.

A city-based Melbourne International Festival of Flowers (MIFoF) would provide Melbourne with a viable and sustainable response to our environment and economy. •

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