Residents deceived as ‘The Block’ inspection not carried out to plan

Procedures to accommodate Albert Park residents effected by ‘The Block’ open inspection are claimed to have failed to be carried out as planned. Tom Hussey reports.

Thousands of people queue for 'The Block' open inspection. Picture: Tom Hussey.
Thousands of people queue for ‘The Block’ open inspection. Picture: Tom Hussey.

AN ALBERT Park resident has complained that the Port Phillip Council and Channel Nine did not adhere to planned arrangements for ‘The Block’ open inspection.

Megan Shaw, an O’Grady Street resident, said that those living on the affected streets were forced to comply with council procedures up to thirteen hours earlier than had been planned.

Port Phillip Council notified residents that O’Grady and Merton Streets would be closed, requiring them to move their cars to alternative parking by 6am on Saturday the 23rd of March.

Instead, Miss Shaw says that she, along with other residents, were forced to do so at 5pm the afternoon before.

“They said that they would close this road at 6am this morning and they knocked on our door at 5pm saying ‘you have to move your car’, last night,” Miss Shaw said.

“They sort of lied about that, they cleared the whole street at 5pm.”

Shaw, a recent RMIT graduate, also said that others in the street had incurred great difficulty with the makeshift parking plans put in place by the council.

Parking on residential roads surrounding O’Grady Street were planned to be restricted to residents only in order to compensate for the road closures.

“They said no one else, only residents, would be allowed here so you can find a park, and my neighbour spent an hour this morning so she was pretty annoyed.”

The 22-year-old said that many of those living in the effected area had decided to avoid their own homes as thousands packed the streets for the reality television series apartments.

“A lot of other people are actually just deciding to do other things because it is annoying … my Dad and his girlfriend don’t want to be around because it is a hassle,” she said.

As compensation, Miss Shaw said that Channel Nine gave households ‘two movie tickets’ each – a gesture she felt didn’t go far enough.

“As a thank you…it was a bit of an insult.”

Despite inconveniencing residents, Port Phillip council has said via its website that the ‘The Block’ inspection had benefited the community with some, although unnamed, local traders ‘doubling’ their normal takings for the weekend.

Money was also raised for the SES and other local and national charities by stalls set up at the event, according to the website.

Neither Channel Nine nor the Port Phillip council returned phone calls.

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