An Open Petition in Front of Port Phillip Council
Following is a copy of the petition residents have signed that sits with Port Phillip City Council. There are hundreds of signatures on this petition. This will be discussed at the 17 December council meeting.
To the Mayor and Councillors of the Port Phillip City Council
Petition for Port Phillip Council to Declare a 'Social Amenity Crisis in St Kilda'
Amenity is known as the comfort / enjoyment / what's great about, or the reason why we love where we live; where people talk about St Kilda, it is many different things to each of us, yet, ultimately the same thing.
Amenity impacts everyone in the community. St Kilda and in particular Fitzroy St, Carlisle St, and Acland Street precincts are experiencing a severe decline in their amenity over the past several years. Our community is witnessing people dying, violent behaviours, drug activity, anti-social behaviours, criminal behaviours, rough sleepers and people suffering from mental illness on our streets; the community see these as the drivers of amenity decline in St Kilda.
Our community members expect to go about their daily life, in a safe and peaceful environment, without the threat of physical harm, property loss or verbal abuse.
The Port Phillip Community Safety Plan: - Building a Safe Community Together, 2019-2023 states "Safety is a fundamental human right and is essential to the well being of our residents. Port Phillip Council is committed to building a community where both residents and visitors feel safe to live, work and play."
CoPP Priorities 2019-2023 are;
Priority 1: Creating Safe Spaces
The state government is responsible for law and order, we recognise St Kilda police are under resourced; in fact South Metro has the smallest police resource of all metropolitan regions. CoPP could augment this fundamental human right, by supporting additional security measures, akin to the Jewish community extra measures in the City of Glen Eira.
It is also noted that the City of Port Phillip have provided extra security at St Kilda Town Hall to provide their employees with a safe workplace, this same accountability should be afforded to the St Kilda community.
Priority 2: Building Resilience
Whilst the service providers and housing associations are providing a valuable resource to care for those marginalised in society once people leave the service providers premises', and certain Housing First and private accommodation properties, there is no accountability for the behaviours and loss of social amenity on the surrounding streets. All business', associations and service providers must take responsibility for minimising negative impacts of their operations and proactively acknowledge their responsibilities for maintaining and improving the amenity of St Kilda.
Priority 3: Living Healthy
Recently the death of a rough sleeper on Fitzroy St on 11th October 2019 at 8pm on a Friday night during the busiest trading period resulted in many families being confronted with a traumatic experience. This along with the many mentally unwell people congregating in large groups on St Kilda streets, we feel the social amenity of St Kilda has reached a crisis point. There needs to be council advocacy in supporting rough sleepers that refuse offers of housing or social service support.
We the following Petitioners hereby request that the City of Port Phillip, carry out the following:
Due to the increase in anti-social behaviour and loss of amenity in the Fitzroy St, Acland St and Carlisle St, St Kilda precinct's since 2016, ask that the City of Port Phillip Council declare a 'Social Amenity Crisis in St Kilda'.
Utilise existing fund parked in the 'Social Housing Reserve', to employ a minimum of two trained security guards to patrol these precincts of St Kilda 24/7 to immediately address the Social Amenity Crisis, this would increase security to the residents, visitors, and the genuinely homeless living on the street' this could be adopted as a 6 month trial.
Request the CEO to write the Hon. Lisa Neville, Minister for Police and Emergency Services requesting resources for a full time drug unit (DRU) based at St Kilda police Station in Chapel St, St Kilda.
Request the CEO to write to Outreach Services and the Alfred Mental Health and develop a policy around supporting rough sleepers who consistently choose not to accept help and homelessness or refuse access to mental health services.
(hundreds of petitioners)