September issues in Parkville
People often wonder how or even why local associations exist and then wonder how to fix issues that arise in their suburb.
Prior to 2001 there were “ward” councillors who had an interest in looking after the residents in their ward. Even with local councillors, the Parkville Association was formed in 1967 after a threat that same year by the Hospital and Charities Commission to resume most of Ievers Reserve and demolish the surrounding homes. A more serious threat in 1970 would have seen the razing of a large area between Storey and Morrah streets.
Both struggles were eventually won but in order to discourage any further incursions, the association decided to seek National Trust classification for the whole area of South Parkville.
Many members contributed to a detailed survey of the area, photographing each building and recording its origin from the early, hand-written rate books. With this documentation, Hilary Lewis put together a submission which was accepted by the National Trust (now edited and published as a book).
South Parkville became the first classified metropolitan area in Australia, a status later given legal force by inclusion in the State Historic Register. No more large-scale demolition projects were possible, but the association continues to advise, negotiate and occasionally fight battles to preserve the historic integrity of South Parkville and prevent unsuitable development over its entire area.
For those long-term residents there is a great understanding of the heritage protection and many of our recent residents buy in Parkville to enjoy the wonderful Victorian homes and the heritage streetscapes.
In the meantime, there are still challenges – a recent example being the building at the corner of Royal Parade and Morrah St. Built in 1923 the current owners wanted to demolish and develop a clinic on the site.
Following extensive lobbying, the council refused their planning application. Our association members and others worked as a team and raised more than 150 objections. Suburbs without active associations have difficulty overcoming such issues.
The issues can sometimes be as simple as parking or a neighbourhod dispute, but the association is always there to assist! This month alone committee members have attended several meetings with council or residents to ensure we all live in a friendly environment.
The council now recognises the importance of associations and hosts a quarterly meeting of “Presidents of Residents’ Groups” to discuss council issues and, of course, those raised by residents.
From my perspective it has been a learning curve seeing how other groups work and the camaraderie we have built up. The Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor always participate and host the meetings.
Parkville has probably the oldest association now being 55 years old and we are always here for our residents and local businesses.
Talking of great contributors to the association, Norah Killip – our local historian, preserver of heritage and a genuine Parkvillian (her family over many generations lived in Parkville) – turns 90 on October 12. From all of us, we wish Norah a very happy birthday and thank her for maintaining our rich history!
With our sesquicentennial next year, your association will help you all celebrate the history of our great suburb! •