Alterations Needed in Draft Bayside Footpath Trading Policy 2005

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The Mayor and Councillors

Bayside City Council

PO Box 27

SANDRINGHAM VIC 3191

 

Dear Mayor and Councillors,

 

Alterations Needed in Draft Bayside Footpath Trading Policy 2005

 

Beaumaris Conservation Society Inc. has compared the 2004 and draft 2005 versions of the above Policy and considers that the alterations below are needed to the 2005 draft to avoid it becoming less acceptable than the 2004 version. We note that the Bayside City Council Web site promises to display a Footpath Trading Policy, but it does not yet do so. Kingston City Council at least has a clear and well-presented document already on its Web site.

 

General Comment: The trend in the 2005 document is of concern as it appears to be generally moving towards weakening current measures that limit some of the potential excesses in the practice of “footpath trading”. This might be happening because those drafting the document are not sufficiently aware that the considerable tolerance shown to date by the community for many of the adverse aspects of “footpath trading” might be under growing strain, as many traders are taking increasing advantage of a growing laxity in enforcement of the existing rules. Wider limits are being sought by some, but Council should be aware that widening the limits can result in increased pressure from opponents to reduce them. Council should ensure that a clearly-defined policy is preferred to one that is biased more towards staff discretion and convenience, as such a bias leaves both traders and citizens unclear about the rules.

 

Aesthetic and Environmental Considerations: The drift of the new document weakens whatever already weak aesthetic and environmental quality controls the 2004 version has, as it loosens, widens, and makes vaguer the controls needed on the size, number and locations of signs and other objects to be tolerated on public land.

 

SOUND PRODUCTION – Clause 5.2.1: The proposed 2005 wording for this clause is, “No sound amplification equipment or jukeboxes may be utilised in the outdoor seating area to ensure that the nuisance is minimised and to protect the amenity of the area.” The word “jukebox” is somewhat obsolete and not sufficiently general. Nuisance is better avoided than just “minimised”. A better wording for this clause would be, “To ensure that nuisance is avoided, and to protect the amenity of the area, no sound production or amplification equipment may be utilised in the outdoor seating area.”

 

WATERING DOWN OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS – Clause 7.5: The proposed 2005 wording for this clause is, “Signs on footpath must be secured by Council approved method or the Authorised Officers discretion.” That wording has gutted the far more specific and useful substance of the 2004 version, whose wording is, “Signs may not be tied to poles or trees or any other street fixture, must only be on the footpath while a business is open and must only be outside the premises to which they relate.” The wording of the 2004 version is far preferable, and should be retained. It is not good enough to argue that the proposed new Clause 7.4, “Signs must only be in place during normal trading hours.” is in any way a satisfactory equivalent of the far more clearcut phrase in the 2004 version, “… must only be on the footpath while a business is open …”, as that phrase refers to the relevant business and its being open, whereas “… during normal trading hours …” omits the essential restriction of the sign being outside the relevant business only, and it raises doubts about what those hours are, or might be said to be, as the simple test of whether the business is open or not is lost. Clause 7.1 deals well with securing signs.


ROUNDABOUTS – Clause 7.6 of the 2004 Version: The wording of this clause, “Signs must not be placed on roundabouts.” has been omitted entirely from the 2005 version. That omission might have been made because Clause 7.3 in both versions states, “Signs must only be placed in the Trading Activity Zone.”, but it is better to retain such a simple, clear specific statement, to put the matter beyond any alleged doubt.

 

PEOPLE WITH VISION IMPAIRMENT – Clause 7.7 of the 2004 Version: The wording of this clause, “Advertising signs should have a contrasting colour to their background to assist people with vision impairment.” has been omitted entirely from the 2005 version. That clause should be included in the 2005 version to maintain proper consideration for those with impaired vision.

 

50% WIDER SIGNS TO BE ALLOWED – Clause 7.8 of the 2004 Version: The wording of this clause, “An advertising sign must not exceed 600 mm in width or 1200 mm in height. A 12 month moratorium will be provided for currently licensed signs which exceed these dimensions.” The 2005 version increases the width to 900 mm, which is opposed on the grounds of its excessive visual impact, and its reducing space for pedestrians. The last sentence of the 2005 version continues unchanged from the 2004 version. It relates to the 12-month moratorium allowed then, but that should have expired by 2005 as the 12 months has elapsed.

 

MORE SIGNS TO BE ALLOWED – Clause 7.9 of the 2004 Version: The effect of the wording of this clause, “The maximum number of signs permitted per premises is one.” has been replaced by the wording of Clause 7.7 of the 2005 version, “The maximum number of signs permitted is one per 10 m of shop front, with a maximum of 2 per premises.”

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

 

 

Ron Morris

Secretary

Beaumaris Conservation Society Inc.