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Councillor Angela Vithoulkas Notice of Motion

Safety Audit and Assessment of Public and Private Laneways in the City of Sydney


1. By Councillor Vithoulkas

It is resolved that:

(A) Council note:

(i) the City of Sydney is currently working with other authorities to implement
public safety measures across Sydney, including the placement of blocks in
Martin Place;
(ii) while actions are being taken to address safety measures in 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 are
owned by the City;
(iii) these laneways often surround large buildings, which accommodate hundreds
– and in many cases – thousands of businesses, workers and residents;
(iv) while a number of these laneways have gates or bollards, there are many that
are easily accessible by vehicles, 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;
(v) as the compliance authority, the City has a duty of care to ensure that
landowners and occupiers observe any DA requirements to keep laneways
clear, to keep gates closed and fire egresses clear; and
(vi) in light of the City of Sydney’s involvement in improving public safety across
the city, it is imperative that an urgent audit and assessment be conducted of
public and private laneways across the CBD; and

(B) the Chief Executive Officer be requested to:

(i) conduct an urgent audit and assessment of the laneways in the CBD to:

(a) clarify ownership;
(b) conduct a threat assessment to ensure that the relevant safety measures
are in place;
(c) expedite any development applications for safety and security reasons;
(d) ensure that development application conditions of consent address
safety issues; and
(e) write to government authorities and private owners to ensure they are
aware of compliance obligations, and to offer assistance to help them
take steps to monitor and meet these obligations.

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