The City of Boroondara has announced multiple initiatives to support residents, businesses and community groups affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fee waivers, assistance with rates, and rent reductions are at the core of Council’s $4.5 million community support and relief package.
Effective immediately, Council will:
- waive Footpath Trading Permits to ease the financial burden on traders.
- not enforce time restrictions for parking in and around hospitals, Centrelink offices and underutilised car parks.
- suspend ticket parking machine fees in paid parking areas to assist traders, shoppers and visitors.
- reduce rent for tenants at the Camberwell Fresh Food Market until the end of September 2020.
- waive lease and licence fees for some community groups, including sporting clubs, through the winter season.
- defer rates under the existing Financial Hardship Policy to assist eligible ratepayers unable to meet their rate payments.
- stop charging interest on rates to provide relief to ratepayers.
- waive Food Premises registration fees.
- waive permit fees for trader parking permits.
- provide health care providers with permits for designated parking spaces for patients who have COVID-19.
- support local traders and shopping precincts with marketing and promotional activities to help stabilise the local economy.
City of Boroondara Mayor Cr Cynthia Watson said Council introduced these, and other measures, to support the Boroondara community during this unprecedented time.
“Council’s financial assistance package will provide tangible support to residents, businesses and community groups in Boroondara during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cr Watson.
Residents assessed as being in financial hardship due to job losses and forced business closures are eligible to apply for rate payment deferrals. Council will also waive all new interest charges on unpaid rates until December 2020 to provide financial relief for ratepayers.
“Residents, local businesses and commercial property owners are under financial pressure because of the statewide lockdown measures put in place by governments to protect the community from COVID-19. The measures we have announced today are designed to lift some of the financial challenges,” said Cr Watson.
“Our community, like Council, values the contribution local community groups and traders make in Boroondara. They provide a service to our community and Council does not want them to buckle under financial pressure. Therefore, effective immediately, we are waiving a range of permit fees and reducing the rent for traders in Council-owned buildings.”
To improve access and minimise the impact that parking tickets and fines could have on motorists during this pandemic, Council will suspend ticket parking machines, ease parking controls at underutilised car parks, and will not enforce time restrictions for parking spaces within close proximity to hospitals and Centrelink offices.
“Parking enforcement activities will be limited to no stopping zones, loading zones, clearways and heavily utilised car parks, but officers will provide additional periods of grace for vehicles overstaying the limit. This will ensure people will have access to car parks when visiting the doctor, when going out shopping or driving into work,” said Cr Watson.
“As we all come to terms with changes in our day-to-day lives, necessary due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people may be feeling vulnerable and wondering how they can get help. Council is, and always has been, here to support the Boroondara community”.
The community support and relief package announced today will complement Council’s dedicated COVID-19 support hotline launched last week. The hotline and referral service is designed to help our most vulnerable residents’ access local emergency relief support and other support services.
“Together we will get through this crisis and our community will be stronger on the other side,” said Cr Watson.