Mayor Cr Roberto Colanzi’s term is up next month after stepping into the role in November last year.
Colanzi’s achievements in the last 12 months speaking volumes, with the council named Sustainable city of the year for 2016 at the Keep Victoria Beautiful Awards, as well as progressing on planning matters across the city.
As Director of the Yarra Energy Foundation since 2012, Colanzi noted one of his priorities at the beginning of his term to be promoting environmentally sustainable architecture.
“Council has invested significant resources into taking action in the areas of climate action, including but not limited to, the built environment and sustainable transport, water sensitive urban design, and other measures.” says Colanzi in a Yarra city media release.
Yet his efforts were not just focused on the council’s environmental footprint. Over the past year Colanzi has worked with the council and other organizations to tackle the big issues affecting the Yarra community.
“The most immediate stuff was a whole range of planning matters.” He tells Yarra Reporter in an interview.
“We have a population of around 90,000 residents, but we have something like 14,000 small businesses. They employ 60,000 people, so our population virtually doubles day in, day out.” Colanzi said.
Before the end of his term, the council will begin rolling out parking sensors, starting with the Richmond precinct bordered by Bridge Rd, Punt Rd, Swan St and Church St.
“It’ll be in the residential areas where we’ve identified there is competition between residents and people who are visiting.” He says.
Colanzi has been a long-time member of the community living in Fitzroy for the last 13 years.
The Yarra community is known for its open and inclusive sense of community, Colanzi is no different, recognising the many varied and unique people within the community facing diverse problems.
“The passion and diversity of the Yarra community has continued to both inspire and humble me.” He said in his last address in the Yarra News.
Colanzi says the Yarra artist community are facing ‘gentrification’ of the area, being priced out by developers buying up spaces suitable for arts practice.
“There is still a place for them but it’s a function of economics and supply and demand, we’ve seen increased development and we’ve seen property prices increase,” he said.
He is committed to working with the arts community to ensure they maintain a strong presence in the Yarra; initiatives such as the Collingwood Arts Precinct are designed to ensure artists have a place in the short and long-term.
“I know one [art gallery] that is also providing artists space now when once upon a time it was just a gallery. They still have the gallery function but they’ve reconfigured it slightly so they can provide studio spaces.” He said.
Colanzi is running for re-election in the upcoming council election on October 22.
By Kathryn Lewis