The Melbourne City Council, just days before Christmas, under the clock of delegation has kicked-out the Horse and Carriages from Swanston Street opposite Town Hall
Signs that allowed Horse and Carriages to trade opposite the Town Hall were removed and changed overnight. Melbourne Street Traders who were effected by the decision had not been informed of the change.
No consultation, no documentation, a complete lack of open or transparent decision making. The decision was made behind closed doors. and not listed for discussion on the Council's Future Melbourne Committee. The decision made at a time when the Council is not under scrutiny, Media are on holiday, Councillors are absent attending Christmas events and the public's attention is on the festive season.
Outraged Street Traders stood for Council in the October election and joined forces with Community candidates Kevin Chamberlin and Lord Mayor Candidate Brian Shanahan. The Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, and Councillors' Mayne, Watts and Foster were elected on the back of preferences allocated by the Shanahan-Chamberlin Team.
Stakeholders and community representatives met with Councillor Richard Forster soon after the October Council elections to raise concerns. Councillor Foster gave an undertaking to look into the matter but did not reply. Councillors appear to have been kept in the dark of the decisions with Councillor Ong, Chairman of the Council's Planning Committee and Kevin Louey, unaware of the decisions made.
Efforts to contact newly elected Councillors failed with Stephen Mayne and Richard Foster not returning Street Traders phone calls.
Melbourne's Street Traders have expressed no confidence in the Council's Engineering Department and have called for Street Trading to be removed from Engineering and placed under the auspice of Tourism and Small business were it belongs - a move supported by many of the City Councillors and State Tourism.
The Horse and Carriages provided a much needed attraction to the City with tourists, lovers and visitors keen to photograph the horses ad carriages opposite the Town Hall. They add vitality and interest to the city which is fast becoming more and more family unfriendly.