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Councillor Angela Vithoulkas Notice of Motion

Safety audit and assessment of public and private lane ways in the City of Sydney


11. By Councillor Vithoulkas

It is resolved that:

(A) Council note:

(i) the global community has been rocked by recent terrorism events and the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in London where a large number of people lost their lives;

(ii) in light of these events, cities around the world are reviewing their own activities, as well as investigating ways to keep people safe by mitigating and alleviating possible threats or risks;

(iii) while actions are being taken to investigate and recommend solutions for public places, there are many laneways throughout the City of Sydney local government area, and in particular in the CBD, that are subject to private ownership or they are owned by the City;

(iv) these laneways often surround large buildings which accommodate hundreds and, in many cases, thousands of businesses, workers and residents;

(v) while a number of these laneways have gates or bollards, there are many that are easily accessible by vehicles and thereby pose a security threat with people reporting that: (a) gates that have signs stipulating they should be closed 24 hours a day regularly remain open; (b) rubbish and waste is often dumped; (c) laneways are fire egresses that do not appear to be compliant; (d) some laneways are being used as non-compliant parking and loading docks; and (e) ownership of laneways is not transparent or clear, so possible reporting of issues is not straightforward;

(vi) as the compliance authority, the City has a duty of care to ensure that landowners and occupiers observe any development application requirements to keep laneways clear, to keep gates closed and to keep fire egresses clear; and

(vii) in light of recent developments in other major capital cities, it is even more imperative that the City expedites an urgent audit and assessment of public and private laneways across the CBD; and

(B) the Chief Executive Officer be requested to conduct an immediate audit and assessment of the laneways in the CBD to:

(i) clarify ownership;

(ii) upon clarification of ownership, ensure that the relevant safety measures are in place;

(iii) where private ownership has been determined, conduct a threat assessment on the laneway and provide this information to owners;

(iv) advise owners of what safety methods could be applicable and compliant, such as gates or bollards;

(v) expedite any development applications for safety and security reasons; and

(vi) where private ownership has been determined, consider whether owners are complying with any development application conditions that may afford the safety and security of the owners, tenants and the general community who occupy and visit the buildings surrounding the laneways.

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