Traders unsatisfied with Council
by James Poyner
25th April 2022
Macedon Square development has traders up in arms
THE MACEDON Square Traders Association (MSTA) is deeply unsatisfied with Manningham Council’s actions with regard to the Macedon Square streetscape redevelopment, according to MSTA President Gary Cyganek.
Mr Cyganek provided the M&N Bulletin with a copy of a letter addressed to Cr Deirdre Diamante expressing the Association’s resistance to proposed development plans.
Mr Cyganek outlined his reasons in detail in a statement to M&N Bulletin on behalf of MSTA.
“Why we fight?
14 years ago, the Council took a carpark, which was paid for by the Traders, and stuck a liquor store on top giving us reduced car spaces underneath and we stood by and let it happen.
Now they tell us we need to have an open space (in a strip shopping centre!) narrow the road from 6.2 metres down to 5.3 metres near the minimum for an Aisle carpark and this is a road!
And they expect us to stand by and say thank you! For a plan that will be less safe and destroy retail! As they have said they want to turn us into Templestowe Village!
A restaurant precinct that killed all the significant retail over 20 years ago.
No butcher, no fruit shop, no bakery, no fish shop et cetera, and if you talk to the shop owners up there, they would love these businesses back!
Retail flourishes in Macedon Square but for some reason the Council either by design, or ignorance, or arrogance because they are supporting the Landscape Designer whose vision this is!
They have no regard for the retail businesses that their plan will ruin!”
At the September 2021 Ordinary Council Meeting, a “modified” Option B was presented to Council in an Officers’ Report which was moved by Cr S Mayne, seconded by Cr Diamante and carried unanimously by all councillors present, with no speakers against.
Mr Cyganek told M&N Bulletin the movers of the motion “collectively should be held accountable for their actions and hence this is why we are now campaigning to vote them out of office in 2024”. Mr Cyganek, as the spokesperson for MSTA has expressed that the Association feels extremely let down by Council and it feels the Association’s point of view has been disregarded.
In the early phase of the Macedon Square consultation in late 2020, early 2021, the Traders presented a petition for Option C, as discussed in the October 2021 edition of WD Bulletin.
The Option C petition proposed the following:
- The overdue upgrade of the sidewalk with a material to be chosen by the Council and safety being the priority.
- Attention shown to the management of the trees and their location.
- We would like to have a consultation with the traffic management engineer to maximise the parking possibilities.
- We would like to be consulted on the location of bins and street furniture, with the idea of maximising the existing abundance of open space in the centre.
A review of meeting minutes and Officers’ Reports from September 2021, indicates in the consultation period for Council’s community consultation on the community’s preference for either Option A and Option B, 192 responses were received, but only 62 were in direct response to whether or not the respondent preferred Option A, or B, or neither.
The Traders Association Option C petition and another petition titled “Stop the destruction of Macedon Road” combined make up more than half of the feedback, but it seems the petitions did not contribute to the final yes/no tally, as their response did not fit the parameters of the original survey.
M&N Bulletin approached Manningham Council with a number of questions regarding the frustration and lack of confidence expressed by the Traders Association.
Council’s responses below are attributed to Manningham Mayor Cr Michelle Kleinert and Manningham Council CEO Andrew Day.
“Council consulted on the draft concept plan on four separate occasions throughout 2020 and 2021.
Council adopted the concept plan at its Council meeting in August 2021, and has now proceeded the project through to a detailed design phase.
We expect to engage further with the community on specific design outcomes from mid 2022.
There are still final design elements that we will be seeking feedback on in coming months.
- permanent safety treatment within the centre; • further investigation of other suggestions such as locations for new trolley bays, electric vehicle charging station, car share spaces and smart waste bins;
- design elements and street furniture that best suits the needs of existing traders in appropriate locations throughout the centre; and
- an opportunity to hear from traders regarding how to best manage and mitigate construction impacts and timing.”
M&N Bulletin asked Council for a response to Mr Cyganek’s “calling out” of Crs S Mayne and Diamante.
“Council has adopted the concept design. Councillors have been present at community engagement sessions held both with the wider community and trader focused events.
Noting that any decisions on this important community project are made by all nine Councillors, Cr Stephen Mayne is the Ward Councillor and Cr Deirdre Diamante the Ward Councillor for an adjoining Ward.
Both Councillors have been actively listening to community feedback.”
M&N Bulletin also asked Council for a response to the vote of “no confidence” by MSTA.
“The concept design has been developed through consultation with the community and traders. “Expert advice has been sought in regards to key elements including safety, parking and traffic movement.
The design seeks to primarily address pedestrian safety issues in the centre, improve ageing infrastructure and maintenance issues, and provide a dedicated community space to support the local precinct.
The design took on the feedback from the consultation and has incorporated features such as:
- No net loss of parking spaces from what is currently available (132 spaces).
- Refine road widths along Macedon Road to improve safety for pedestrians.
- Provision of a new gathering space for community to connect and thrive.
- New loading bays along Macedon Road.
- Provision of a new roundabout at the intersection of The Mall and Rosa Street.
- New and relocated pedestrian crossings to improve pedestrian connectivity and assist to reduce vehicle speeds and congestion.
- Repositioned accessible parking bays.
- Increased footpath widths for outdoor dining and trading areas.
- Safety barrier treatments for improved pedestrian safety.
- Improvements to the western laneway for large truck loading and access.
Mr Cyganek has made it clear to M&N Bulletin that he holds the individual councillors and council officers to account for the rift which has formed between Council and the Macedon Square traders community and Mr Cyganek has stated MSTA is “now campaigning to vote them out of office in 2024”.
But the 2024 Local Government Election is a long way away, hopefully, Council, Councillors, and MSTA are able resolve this issue before then.
Where do you stand on the Macedon Square development?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.