13 October, 2017

EAGLE LEATHER IS UNDER THREAT, PLEASE HELP THEM FIGHT!

 A Message from Eagle Leather to the Community

“We really wish we didn’t have to do this, but we are in the midst of the our biggest fight, and our livelihood is at risk like never before. Eagle Leather is under threat and we need your help.

We have recently been informed of a proposal by VicRoads and the state government to make all of Hoddle Street a 24/7 clearway zone to enable a 24/7 bus lane (not actually ease any congestion). This will effectively wipe out the majority of our parking options, and we believe it will severely affect our ability to trade. A survey conducted in store over the last week shows that over 70% of our customers currently park on Hoddle Street when shopping with us.

To rub salt into the wounds that this ill thought-out proposal has inflicted, the timeframe for us to argue against it is simply cruel. With the short “community consultation” period having only opened on 4th September and which is closing on the 5th of November, should this proposal be approved, VicRoads are threatening that the clearways could begin within a few weeks.

Hoddle Street is our home. It has been for almost 24 years. We want to stay.

As you can no doubt imagine, businesses like ours are locked into lengthy leases (some 5+ years) in order to secure their futures; and as such we need significantly more notice than this to be able to react; assess our options with regard to potentially moving to a new location; or redefine our existing one to adjust to the parking needs of our customers.

This proposal will put us and all of our fellow Abbotsford neighbouring businesses and community as a whole under threat, and all to save busses a few of minutes. That’s right, the proposal is not even aiming to ease any traffic congestion (which generally is not a problem on our side of Hoddle Street heading southbound, excluding the already existing clearway times in the morning peak); but simply so that busses can get through a few of minutes faster. Is that worth sacrificing the livelihoods of hundreds, permanently changing the character of Abbotsford, and potentially shattering our collective dreams?

The strong leather/LGBTQI+ fabric of Abbotsford and Hoddle Street has been weaved over decades of history including The Laird Hotel (est. 1980), Australia’s longest running gay men’s hotel; Eagle Leather (est. 1994), one of the longest running gay focussed leather stores in the country, plus leather events such as the annual Northside Bizarre, and the more recent arrival of Piecing HQ onto the Hoddle Street leather/LGBTQI+ scene. Satellites such as the Yorkshire Stingo Hotel have also played an important role in the development of this close knit leather community and strong identity, being the location of Vic Leather’s monthly meetups as well as a meeting point for other vital leather community events.

We have seen how other LGBTQI+ strongholds and cultural stomping grounds have been decimated by overzealous development and careless governance, without bearing any mind to the existing communities and local character. We don’t want to see our Abbotsford lose its unique identity to more bulldozed lots and generic apartments.

We have no chance fighting this alone. We need you in our corner.

Can you please stand and fight with us?

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HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP!

We’d love it if you could do all of the below things, but if you can only do one or two, they’re listed in order of importance or likelihood to help us stop the outcome:

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Email directly to these councillors and politicians and let them know why you love Hoddle Street retail, how much you need the parking, and/or specifically what our business means to you (even if it’s the same basic email but with a different addressee):

Richard Wynne, Member for Richmond: richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au

Amanda Stone, Mayor, City of Yarra: Mayor@yarracity.vic.gov.au

Danae Bosler, Councillor, City of Yarra: Danae.Bosler@yarracity.vic.gov.au

Stephen Jolly, Councillor, City of Yarra: Stephen.Jolly@yarracity.vic.gov.au

Jackie Fristacky, Councillor, City of Yarra: Jackie.Fristacky@yarracity.vic.gov.au

Mike McEvoy, Councillor, City of Yarra: Mike.McEvoy@yarracity.vic.gov.au

Misha Coleman, Councillor, City of Yarra: Misha.Coleman@yarracity.vic.gov.au

Mi-Lin Chen Yi Mei, Councillor, City of Yarra: Milin.Chenyimei@yarracity.vic.gov.au

Daniel Nguyen, Councillor, City of Yarra: Daniel.Nguyen@yarracity.vic.gov.au

James Searle, Councillor, City of Yarra: James.Searle@yarracity.vic.gov.au

Luke Donellan, Minister for Transport: luke.donnellan@parliament.vic.gov.au

Jane Waldock, Assistant Director, Planning and Place Making, Yarra City Council: Jane.Waldock@yarracity.vic.gov.au

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Sign our Hoddle Street Traders’ change.org petition to Richard Wynne, Member For Richmond online:

https://www.change.org/p/richard-wynne-save-hoddle-street-r…

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Sign our in-store petition to the City of Yarra Council when you’re next in store with us or any other Hoddle Street businesses such as Piercing HQ.

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Complete the VicRoads “Streamlining Hoddle Street” Survey and tell them how much you need those parking spots and that you don’t want their 24/7 bus lane clearway: https://www.surveygizmo.com/…/37…/Streamlining-Hoddle-Street

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And please LIKE, SHARE, COMMENT so our plight can reach as many sympathetic ears as possible to join the fight!

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We know it’s a lot to ask you to do, but our business means the world to us, and we hope it means a lot to you too. We’ve put our hearts and souls into it for many years and we’re extremely concerned about our future. Any and all support will be so greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much!

The Eagle Leather Crew”