NEWSLETTER – March 2012

SENT 11 MARCH 2012

1) COUNCIL TO DEBATE “EAST BRUNSWICK VILLAGE” THIS WEEK

On Wednesday 14 March, Moreland Council will discuss the proposed “East Brunswick Village”, a massive re-development proposal for the old Tontine site and surrounding properties in Brunswick East. The area for the “village” is bounded by Nicholson Street, Albert Street, John Street and Glenlyon Road.

The project involves a series of six-storey buildings with offices and between 550 – 650 apartments, a supermarket (covering 3000 square metres) and a shopping complex of another 4000 square metres, together with underground car parking with 855 car spaces. Future development in this area could add another 400 apartments.

Local residents in John Street have been campaigning for years around the project, raising questions about open space, traffic management, noise and the environmental impacts of this massive complex. Now a new developer has submitted plans for the site, after the previous developer obtained a permit for development.

The latest plans leave a lot to be desired, and it is vital for Brunswick residents to tell Council about their concerns.

According to the report to be presented to Moreland Council this week, there are a number of issues about the current plans lodged by developers Banco Group:

–       The developers have rejected any commitment to affordable housing in the site, stating “The requirement for a commitment to the provision of affordable housing as defined by Council is opposed by Banco Group.”

–       The original idea of a pedestrian friendly “piazza” in the middle of the “village” has been overridden by commercial pressures – the latest plans mean that the central section of the new “Main Street” into the site is effectively the main car park entrance, projected to carry 7000 vehicles a day!

–       As well as the new “Main Street”, there will be other smaller access roads into the site from residential streets like Albert Street. The developers’ plans suggest these will carry 700 cars a day, but council staff state that “traffic approaching from the north west is likely to use this access, representing a figure well in excess of the predicted figure.”

–       The proposed height limits in parts of the village breach levels proposed in existing development overlays.

The developers have already lodged an application for review at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), even before Council officers have had time to fully review the latest version of the plans. VCAT will hold a mediation hearing on 11 April 2012 and a full hearing starting on 13 August (because the developer has lodged this application for review, VCAT rather than Moreland Council is the Responsible Authority to decide on the plan).

Under the planning laws which cover the site, local residents cannot formally object to VCAT over the new plans. However Moreland Council is proposing a 28 day consultation period, to incorporate residents’ views into their submission to VCAT

HAVE YOUR SAY ABOUT THIS PROJECT:

1)    Tell your neighbours about the proposal, and get them talking about how this massive project will affect the neighbourhood

2)    Have a look at the report and maps for the project, which are included in the Moreland Council meeting papers for 14 March (download from this link – go to page 143): http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/mccwr/_assets/main/lib91085/council%20agenda%202012-03-14%20march.pdf

3)    Come to the next Council meeting at 7pm this Wednesday 14 March (Glenroy Senior Citizens Centre, 11 Cromwell Street, Glenroy) – ask questions of your councillors

4)    You’ll soon be able to look at the detailed plans at a number of locations, including Council offices, Brunswick and Coburg Libraries, and will be able to lodge submissions about your concerns.

Once Council formally passes a resolution on Wednesday, they’ll advertise a month-long consultation period – come along and have your say. Keep an eye out in the Moreland Leader for details, and we’ll also keep you up to date through this e-newsletter.

BRUNSWICK RESIDENTS NETWORK WILL HOLD A PUBLIC MEETING IN EARLY APRIL, TO PUBLICISE THIS PROJECT AND THE WAY IT WILL TRANSFORM THE AREA.   DETAILS TO FOLLOW SOON!

2) HIGH RISE NEWS

Another 6-storey project in Albert Street

As well as the major “East Brunswick Village”, there are a number of other high rise developments nearby in Albert Street between Nicholson and Lygon Streets, including the old Sires factory, the proposed construction of a six-storey building at the East Brunswick Hotel (corner of Albert and Lygon Streets) and now a new proposal for a six-storey 154-unit complex at 92-96 Albert St (corner of French Avenue, across the road near Fleming Park).

The developer for 92-96 Albert St lodged plans in December and Council is awaiting some revised information before formally notifying affected residents.

This proposed development is higher than the 5-storey limit specified in the 2010 Brunswick Structure Plan. It includes 154 dwellings (62 one-bedroom and 92 two-bedroom) and 158 car spaces (in the basement and on the ground level). More cars for Albert Street, even though the Brunswick Structure Plan presents it as a pedestrian and bicycle friendly street!

The addition of over 200 new residents with potentially 158 cars (and visitors) would adversely affect already high traffic levels in the surrounding narrow streets and further crowd Lygon St trams, especially in combination with three large approved developments close by on Lygon St (corner of Jarvie St, between Jarvie and Albert St, and the East Brunswick Hotel redevelopment).

3) MINISTER OVERRIDES LOCALS ON BRUNSWICK TERMINAL STATION

Residents near Merri Creek have expressed dismay at the decision by Victorian Minister for Planning Matthew Guy on 15 February to rezone the land where the Brunswick Terminal Station is located and approve the building of a new 66kV terminal station.

As reported in our February newsletter, Moreland Council had rejected the proposed expansion of the Brunswick Power Terminal and the proposal was listed for appeal at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). Once again, a Ministerial decision has prevented scrutiny of a major project in a residential area.

The Merri Creek Residents Group has stated: “The Brunswick Terminal Station is in a highly residential area bordered by the Merri Creek. Both these facts make it unsuitable and undesirable as the location for a new large scale industrial facility.”

They are calling for an independent review of the process undertaken for this project, including a review of the economic assumptions used to decide on the BTS going ahead.

For more background on the issue, go to www.facebook.com/brunswickterminal station or http://powergridsolutions.blogspot.com.au/

Express your outrage by contacting the Premier (ted.bailleu@parliament.vic.gov.au) and Planning Minister (matthew.guy@parliament.vic.gov.au).

4) FRIENDS OF EDWARD STREET

If you live in or near Edward Street Brunswick, come along to the Sporting Bar (corner of Charles and Weston Street) and meet fellow residents, this Wednesday 14 March at 7pm (followed by dinner).

The new “Friends of Edward Street” group aims to promote community gardening, public art and other community building activities. For more information, phone 0439038288 or email piaher@netspace.net.au

5) BRUNSWICK CULTURAL

 Darcy’s creative Brunswick video

Darcy Gladwin has been working on a video about Creative Brunswick, and the use of studios and old warehouses by young art workers in Brunswick. Have a look at a 30 minute preview of the film at: http://vimeo.com/33703707

Brunswick Music Festival

The annual Brunswick Music Festival will be held on 14 – 25 March 2012, with a range of indigenous, acoustic and traditional music featuring local musicians alongside interstate and international guests. Check out the program at: http://www.brunswickmusicfestival.com.au/

Talk on Lincoln Mills

As old factories are being transformed around us, come and find out about the lives of workers who staffed Lincoln Mills, a major knitting mill in Gaffney Street, Coburg. The Mills closed in 1980 but were a major source of employment in the northern suburbs for decades – the evening will include the reminiscences of a 92-year old who worked in the mills for 40 years.

The talk will be held at 8pm on Wednesday 21 March at the Coburg Library Meeting Room – jointly presented by the Coburg Historical Society, the Brunswick Community History Group and the Broadmeadows Historical Society. Bookings and further information from 93534000 or contact the Brunswick Community History Group at brunswickhistoryinc@yahoo.com

6) MORE PUBLIC TRANSPORT NEEDED

The Victorian Auditor General has released an audit of the performance of public transport in the state – people who suffer crowded trams along Lygon Street and Sydney Road every morning will hardly be surprised by the findings:

“The department was not prepared to effectively manage the rapid growth in public transport patronage that happened between 2004 and 2009. It did not have the capability to foresee this growth or fully understand the root causes of poor performance. It was therefore unable to effectively deal with the performance pressures.”

The report recommends significant new investment in the system, amounting to $3 billion a year over the next decade: “We estimate that capital expenditure on public transport will have to triple over the next decade to cope with the expected growth.”

The population of Brunswick and Brunswick East increased 13 per cent in the five years to 2009 and with hundreds of new apartments in the planning pipeline for our suburb, there’s a need for improved public transport.

Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder comes from Colac, so you might like to send him a message about the need for better public transport and traffic management in Brunswick: terry.mulder@parliament.viv.gov.au

The full report can be downloaded at:

http://www.audit.vic.gov.au/reports_and_publications/latest_reports/2011-12/20120229-public-transport.aspx

“Public transport needs billions”, The Age, 29 February

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/public-transport-needs-billions-20120229-1u3ji.html

 

NEXT MORELAND COUNCIL MEETINGS

Full Council meeting

Wednesday 14 March 2012 – 7 pm
Glenroy Senior Citizens Centre, 11 Cromwell Street, Glenroy

Urban Planning Committee

Wednesday 28 March 2012 – 6 pm
Council Chambers, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg

Full Council meeting

Wednesday 11 April 2012 – 7 pm
Council Chambers, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg

Urban Planning Committee

Thursday 26 April 2012 – 6 pm
Council Chambers, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg

(Check times and location at the council website: www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-council/council-and-committee-meetings.html )

MAILING LIST:

To contact organisers of the Brunswick Residents’ Network, offer to help with future activities or be added to our resident’s mailing list, please email albertstreet2020@gmail.com, or phone 0421 840 100.

Please forward this e-letter to other Moreland residents and neighbours who’d like a say in the way their community is changing.

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