Tag Archives: yarra city council

Sign our petition to help make the City of Yarra Proudly Plastic Free

This petition is now closed.

Plastic is an environmental nightmare. Manufacture of plastics produces greenhouse gas. Plastic waste leaches toxins into our waterways. Toxins from plastics can end up in our food chain. Recycling reduces the problem but the best strategy is to not use plastic in the first place.

YCAN is calling on Yarra City Council to initiate a Proudly Plastic Free campaign to encourage food outlets in Yarra to stop supplying disposable plastic items such as bags, bottles, cutlery and packaging.

Sign our petition to the Council now and pledge to preference businesses that display a Proudly Plastic Free Yarra sign.

YCAN will add your name and email to an aggregated Help Make Yarra Proudly Plastic Free petition and present it to the City of Yarra Council in 2018.

Find out more plastic facts.

Fab Feb Food Garden Foray – Sunday 24 Feb

Hey Food Gardening Fans!

slip, slop, slap….& byo waterbottle to cycle or stroll our edible neighbourhoods route through Yarra’s diverse & inspiring mix of streetscape food gardens.

Meet the gardeners and hear about the gardens at these times:

10.30am cnr Ramsden St/Clifton Av, Clifton Hill ( Melways 2C,K3)

Yarra’s first ‘official’ resident-initiated council-permitted street planterbox foodgarden

10.45am Laneway Garden behind Gordon St, Clifton Hill (Melways 2C, J3)

Resident-initiated community garden featuring wicking beds, worm towers, rainwater collection from adjacent roof, community composting system

11.15am Tramstop 22, Foodgarden, Queens Pde nature strip, cnr Grant St, N Fitzroy  (Melways 2C, E3)

Resident-initiated 2008 no-dig garden: espaliered ‘fruiting fence’, herbs, veg, edible flowers

11.45am Street planterboxes, cnr Moor St/Young St Fitzroy nr Fitzroy Town Hall (Mel 2C,B9)

Neighbour-initiated in 2008, recently updated as water-efficient ‘wicking beds’

12.10pm Grub foodvan /GrubHole eatery foodgarden 87-89 Moor St Fitzroy  (Melways 2C,A9)

Watered by onsite tanks, with forecourt & interior foodgardens

From little things big things grow. Edible streetscapes reduce urban ‘heat island’ effect, encourage neighbourly exchange & healthy exercise, offer access to fresh-picked tasty goodness & grow local resilience in a changing climate. Please urge ongoing funding for Yarra’s Urban Agriculture Facilitator to further enable, resource and multiply these community initiatives.

More information here


Bit of a Chat

Surveying at the Sustainable Living Festival

YCAN will be doing a little gentle surveying at the Sustainable Living Festival this weekend at Fed Square. The theme is cycling and the aim is to encourage Yarra Council to be bold. The survey is just 7 questions and is an easy survey with a receptive audience.

We are able to park a few things like our bags at the Beyond Zero Emissions stall (Thank you BZE). There will be clip boards with the surveys in them and pens.

If you have some time and are intending to go to the SLF, we’d love your help to survey people. Give Mack a call if you can help – 0422 952 554.

Yarra Council Face Off on Copenhagen Lane

Have your final say about the Copenhagen-style bike lane on Wellington Street!

Tuesday 19 February, 6.30pm

Richmond Town Hall, 333 Bridge Rd, Richmond

Wellington St is a popular and well connected route in the inner network. With over 400 riders in the 7-9am peak it provides a major transport function and serves as a viable connection from North Fitzroy through to East Melbourne

YCAN has strongly supported a Copenhagen lane on Wellington St as a part of the Bicycle strategy Yarra Council has adopted. We see it as the missing link in getting more people to ride their bikes.

After a long time it is finally coming to a head and Yarra Council will be giving it the thumbs up or down.

Shockingly some people don’t support a Copenhagen lane on Wellington Street. We are sure that they just don’t understand that the entire city is doomed to grind to a standstill if we fail to make it safe for people to get out of their car and on the their bike. Frequently it is faster to ride across the city of Yarra than to drive, but until people feel it is safe, the large shift out of cars and onto bikes that is council’s policy won’t happen.

So come along, bring some friends and support a sustainable, healthier and more liveable city.


Workshop It! Green Skills Afternoon – Sat 17 Nov

FREE workshop event – Saturday 17 November, 2 – 5pm

100 Hodgkinson St, Clifton Hill 

YCAN in conjunction with the Community Church of St Mark is holding an afternoon of all things sustainable. Think you’ve done everything you can to reduce your footprint? This free event might still be able to teach you a thing or two.

These workshops bring you the latest developments in strategies for sustainable living on the practical, everyday level, and up to date information of bigger picture issues.

Program below. RSVP to Ian 0422 952 554 or email carole@ycan.org.au

Yarra Sustainability Awards – 2012

This year’s Yarra Sustainability Awards were a great showcase of the vast range of actions people are taking in our local area.

YCAN’s very own Urban Agriculture Coordinator Thomas Greig (pictured) was highly commended in the local hero category, which was won by Melbourne Girls College teacher Andrew Vance.

Other winners included Cultivating Community’s Compost Crew, the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association Sustainability Program and company GJK facility services.

For a full list of winners and commendations visit Yarra City Council’s website.

Green Family Life Festival – Sun 9 September

The Green Family Life Festival is a community event that aims to inspire families to live more sustainably, follow the seasons, celebrate their garden and care for the planet.  

Come along and stroll the marketplace to find great products and ideas to encourage sustainability. Watch demonstrations for take-home ideas such as making your own balance bike, composting, creating an edible garden and keeping chickens in your backyard. Take a sustainable house tour to learn more about retro-fitting your home or sit back and enjoy organic food and wine and live music from charming folk band Anna Smyrk and the Appetites.

The day will also be jam-packed with fun and games for the kids including face painting, singing and dancing with Mini Maestros, sustainable story time, cargo bike rides and tree planting. Plus there will be competitions with great prizes including an art and craft competition using recycled materials, and for the handy man or woman at heart a ‘flat pack assembly competition’ sponsored by Ikea and compered by Deputy Leader of the Greens Adam Bandt!

A fun and informative, family-friendly event with loads to see, do, explore and take home. Entry is $5 per family but well worth it.   Join in the celebrations and add a splash of green to your family life. For the full program click here or call 9428 9901.

Richmond Community Learning Centre

92-94 Lord St, Richmond


$5 entry per family


Copenhagen Lanes for Wellington St? City of Yarra Consultation

Let Yarra City Council know you support a Copenhagen bike lane for Wellington St – fill out the survey here.

The City of Yarra is now consulting the community with a proposal to construct a Copenhagen bike lane between Johnston St and Victoria St. Consultation includes an online survey, an information booth in Wellington St for local foot/ cycling traffic and local workers/ businesses, and a community info session in the Reading Room at the Fitzroy Town Hall.

For more info click here

Please contribute to the consultation and support improved cycling infrastructure in Yarra.

Triumph Under Threat!

The City of Yarra’s world leading position is in danger of being lost. In spite of all the good work done so far, the clear need for the role, and the desire for the role by the community, the Council hasn’t included funding for the Urban Agriculture Facilitator in the 2012/13 budget.

The Council introduced the role on the advice of the Community Garden Advisory Committee, itself set up as result of clear community demand for gardening opportunities in the community space. At the time of writing, submissions could still be made (to Althea.Wright@yarracity.vic.gov.au by Monday 7th May), and hopefully enough went in to convince the Council that the community demand is still there.

If it is after 7th May, you could still leave a comment below, and we’ll pass them on to the councillors.

The current Urban Agriculture Facilitator giving community advice at a compost workshop, jointly organised by YCAN and Cultivating Community. After his half an hour presentation, at least six more people (over a fifth of the number there) were inspired to start the urban agriculture permit application process.

Painting is not building

Photo by Richard Drdul

To download the petition calling for more Copenhagen lanes in the City of Yarra click here.

Yarra Council has some interesting ideas. One of which is that painting a road equals building a bike lane. Like some magic talisman, the painted lines will protect you.

There seems to be a fundamental disconnect between what an average person on a bike would call a bike lane and what the Yarra Council thinks a bike lane is.

Call me crazy but when I read that Council wants, “Yarra to be the best cycling city in Australia with the highest mode share for cycling to work, schools, shops of any city in Australia”, and “to have an effective interconnected, continuous and well maintained bicycle network that inexperienced and experienced riders feel safe and comfortable using”, I don’t think of some paint and rubber on the road, it just doesn’t achieve that for me.

Now those objectives are entirely commendable and I for one would love to see Yarra Council achieve them. I have an image of people happily jumping on their bikes to buy some milk or take the kids to soccer training as just a normal part of practically everyone’s life.

Which brings me to Yarra’s website which states:

“In mid 2011, Council constructed a new bicycle route that connects Heidelberg Road in Clifton Hill with Gipps Street in Abbotsford.

“The route provides a separated road space for cyclists that connects cyclists to other key bicycle routes and provides better access to other parts of Yarra and the CBD.

“The project cost $280,000.

“The majority of work involved painting line markings to create better definition along the route. Traffic treatments were also installed at several locations to provide greater separation between cyclists and vehicles.”

Frankly the $280,000 does not equal “a separated road space for cyclists” it has put some paint and rubber on the road. It is spin doctoring to call that “separated”. It is time to call it what it is, dangerous window dressing that continues the second class status of cyclists and puts them in harm’s way, while pretending to provide them with a bike lane.

If like me you have used that route you will know that you take a punt with your life every time you turn from Bath Street into Johnston St to get onto Gipps St and I pray that someone doesn’t have to get killed there before a real solution for cyclists crossing  Johnston Street is put in place.

There is a profound double standard that applies to cyclists. Cyclists incidence of injury and death is increasing and it is justified as a consequence of increasing numbers of cyclists in the community. But that would be totally unacceptable for motorists. The death toll must go down every year for motorists, even though there are more on the roads and rightly so. We should have safe roads for all the people who use them. But cyclists are getting a bum deal and it is time to face that fact. The TAC website shows that for the year to date there is a 67% increase.

Even an innocent momentary lapse of concentration on a motorist’s part and splat, cyclist’s Christmas cancelled.

Without projects that really create bike lanes to world’s best practice, Yarra cannot become “the best cycling city in Australia” or “have an effective interconnected, continuous and well maintained bicycle network that inexperienced and experienced riders feel safe and comfortable using

Which is why, if Yarra is to become “the best cycling city in Australia” it will have to become the highest funding per capita Council in Australia and build physically separated bicycle lanes that are safe to travel in.

Thankfully Yarra has some great natural advantages in that contest. We have a geographical small council, we have many broad streets and we have a lot of cyclists already.

So let’s grab the mantle off Sydney and just do it, build (not paint) a great network of real bike lanes, ones that physically separate cyclists and motorists, like the Copenhagen style does, and build new bike paths that cyclists of all ages and ability feel safe using.

When Yarra starts doing that, rather than acting like a graffiti artist on our road running wild with paint, then we will increasingly feel like the roads are safe for cyclists and many more will jump on a bike. Yarra cannot fix the problem of the entire city, but Yarra can certainly lead the way for the entire metropolitan area.

In the meantime cyclists will continue to protect parked cars from damage with their lives rather than parked cars protecting cyclists’ lives. How many people have to be injured or killed on Yarra’s roads before a cyclists’ life is more valuable than a parked car?

So I for one am just going to have to disagree with Yarra Council and continue to say that there are no new bike lanes in Yarra and it doesn’t look like there will be any in the near future. Not while they are still thinking a bit of paint creates an on-road bike lane. That’s just not good enough, not when people’s lives are at stake.

People who have been road riding for some time tend to develop an acceptance of the risks, they develop strategies to cope with it. I for one, light up my bike like a Christmas tree at nights on the road. However, we tend to forget that it is scary and off-putting for most people to use your bike on the roads with cars zipping past you just centimetres away.

Victoria Police’s Operation Halo demonstrates that the magic paint just doesn’t work to keep cyclists and motorists separated.

More than 130 motorcyclists have been snared for riding in the bike lane, as have 42 car and truck drivers” during Operation Halo.

The Age recently had an article that highlighted just how scary it can be out there on the roads.

Helmet cameras tested on Melbourne roads two years ago show how prevalent scares are for cyclists. Marilyn Johnson, from the Monash University Accident Research Centre, found in footage compiled by 13 riders over 127 hours there were two crashes, six near-crashes and 46 instances where riders had to take evasive action. Drivers were at fault 87 per cent of the time.

So come on Yarra get your act together put away the paint brush and build real bike lanes.

To download the petition calling for more Copenhagen lanes in the City of Yarra click here.

Photo by i b i k e l o n d o n