Melbourne small businesses fight bike lanes aka UN ‘sustainable transport’ policy – www.cairnsnews.org

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By TONY MOBILIFONITIS

A FIGHT by Melbourne small business operators to stop a council and government-sponsored bike lane in Inkerman Street, St Kilda, is far from an isolated battle. But if the traders play their cards right and hold their council corporation liable for losses incurred by the project, it could be world changing.

The seizing of car parking spaces by councils along business district streets is happening across the country, and indeed the world, under the auspices of United Nations so-called sustainable development goals (SDGs) and in this case SDG No. 11 covering “sustainable cities and communities”.

However, as Cairns News previously reported, a bike lane project in Geelong was abandoned after local resident Gary Oraniuk lodged a lawful notice informing the council it would be held liable for any losses suffered by businesses along the road.

The overall effect is to kill small local business for the benefit of big corporations and their centralised shopping malls and/or the “digital economy” operations like Amazon and Shopify, Uber Eats and DoorDash, which are clients of the World Economic Forum, the business arm of the UN.

Related to this “sustainable transport” scam is the global push for light rail projects that have the same effect as bike lanes – removal of street-side parking in main thoroughfares and encouraging clusters of China-style high-density apartment blocks.

A case in point is the Gold Coast Light Rail, which has torn a strip of business destruction along once thriving urban business districts consisting of shop-lined streets. This project is pushed by the council and state and federal governments and also comes under so-called “Smart Transportation” promoted by entities like McKinsey and Company.

Lnkerman St is St Kilda’s leading retail and restaurant strip. These “strip malls” were once commonplace until the big corporate developers like Westfield started the shopping mall trend. These shopping malls are now almost exclusively the domain of global retail brands, as few small, local businesses can afford the exorbitant rent.

In late 2023, the City of Port Phillip Council proposed removing 116 of 180 car parks to make way for a dedicated bike lane along Inkerman St between Hotham St and St Kilda Rd, estimated to cost rate payers $9m. Bike lanes, of course, are touted as a “green and clean” transport option to “fight climate change” and other such nonsense.

Quite simply, they take away trade from small business and allow a small minority of mostly young, fit bike-riders to zip along streets unimpeded by “evil cars”. They also encourage vehicle traffic to zip along at high speeds without regard to the local neighbourhood.

In the case of Inkerman St, the council’s two bike lane options would severely impact more than 50 businesses along the affected road. Many of these business operators had little or no idea that plans were being proposed, and include 12 medical-related businesses.

One such business is the Melbourne Kosher Butcher, which has been operating on Inkerman St home since 1978 and is one of only two kosher butchers in Melbourne. The owner Yaakov Unfanger supplies more than 120 customers a day, demonstrating the need for nearby car parks.

He also receives two meat deliveries every week week and because the business doesn’t have a driveway or permit zone for trucks, they are often forced to double park. Such practical needs tend to get swept away by councils dazzled by virtue-signalling green policies.

Local trader Jaz Bradley said the bike lane was originally proposed as a “sustainability project” linking the local bike lane to other suburbs but the neighbouring Glen Ira council rejected it due to a major community backlash.

Now the City of Port Phillip, under pressure from the highly organised and well-funded bicycle organisations, is calling it a road safety project because of two bike accidents over five years. One of those involved a cyclist colliding with a tram.

The City of Port Phillip, like many inner city councils, is stacked by Green-Labor types prone to pushing leftist ideology of which “sustainable transportation” is par for the course. Several years ago the council adopted a policy making all services inclusive of LGBTIQ+ people. “Inclusivity” comes under sustainable development goal No. 5 for “Gender Equality”.

However four of the nine councillors who had signed the Rainbow pledge before the October 2020 council elections apparently saw the light and voted against the policy.

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