Yesterday I found a new website for an organisation calling itself the ‘Fitzroy Residents’ Association‘. A previous organisation with the same name used to exist but I believe it stopped functioning before I went looking for it; its old website dates from 2003 (see below). I assume the two are not legally the same entity.

The new site looks promising but I am suspicious; why does it say nothing about who it is, who is on the committee, how it was created or how to contact them in any way other than email? It may be simply an oversight from a new organisation that is still establishing itself, but I wonder.

It appears to have been publishing content since March, so why have I just found out about it now via Twitter? Why have they not sought support from the City of Yarra, or any other media source, to promote themselves? I’ve seen nothing in council print or online publications. No leaflet in the letterbox.

franew a new Fitzroy Residents' Association website

The new Fitzroy Residents’ Association website at 31 May 2010

If they want to represent people, they have to be transparent and accountable. Who are they? Do they really think that anyone will post in their membership money to an organisation that is invisible? That has no organisational structure? No policies? No statement of incorporation, or constitution, or any other evidence of organisational management?

Have they been set up by the City of Yarra as a pawn? They seem to have lots of links to the council site and not a lot else. They don’t link to Yarra Reporter or other relevant sites.

This post on graffiti is a good example of the confusion. It says nothing about when the event discussed took place, but indicates that a resolution was made about an issue with an action to follow. The writer of this post seems to have no idea who their audience is, or how their content may be perceived by the public.

Like the Fitzroy History Society website, which was built with council money, this site does a very poor job of representing, and communicating the work of, a community organisation. It does nothing to invite participation, particularly when it advertises a meeting that happened three weeks ago as a new event.

I will be seeking information from the City of Yarra about whether they funded the development of this site. Given that an external consultant is listed on the site, it appears to have cost someone real money. I will be very annoyed if, once again, it is ratepayers’ money that has payed for this mediocrity.

They also link to Fitzroyalty, but they got the URL wrong. Oops. Given they know I exist, I assume they also know that the Fitzroy local news site also exists. I would like to offer them the RSS feed of the site to syndicate. As they are using WordPress, importing and displaying an RSS feed is a simple matter.

fraold a new Fitzroy Residents' Association website

The old Fitzroy Residents’ Association website (c2003) still live at 31 May 2010
a new Fitzroy Residents’ Association website

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