April 2013 newsletter

This month:

SERVICES: What’s happening to Fleming Park, NBN and the Brunswick Baths?
PLANNING: Amendment c134, the Brunswick Place Framework and State Government Planning Policy
TRANSPORT: Brunswick Integrated Transport Strategy (BITS) and new reports on road and rail
ACTION: Save Coburg, Save the Bluestones or come and have a beer with the Brunswick Residents Network this Thursday!

GREENS, PARKS, PLANNING….
MEET YOUR LOCAL COUNCILLOR THIS THURSDAY

Cr. Samantha Ratnam (a Greens member of Moreland Council representing South Ward) will join our regular monthly meeting, this Thursday 11 April at the Sporting Club Hotel in Brunswick.

Join us to discuss issues currently before Council, including amendments to the Moreland Planning Scheme, the new Moreland Community Plan, changes to Fleming Park…and more. (At future monthly meetings of the Brunswick Residents Network, we’ll be inviting other councillors to come along to talk about their vision for Brunswick)

Event: Brunswick Residents Network working group
Date: Thursday 11 April 2013 at 7pm (drinks or food) for 7.30 start
Venue: Sporting Club Hotel back room (27 Weston Street, Brunswick, near Barkley Square shops)

SERVICES:

Upgrade for Fleming Park

Last Saturday, over 100 people visited Fleming Park to meet Council staff and share ideas about the future of the park – one of the few pieces of green open space in East Brunswick.

Council is currently developing a Master Plan to prioritise future improvements within the Fleming Park precinct in the area bounded by Victoria Street, Cross Street and Albert Street, Brunswick. This incorporates the sports oval, the Clarrie Wohlers senior citizens centre, an abandoned grandstand and sports pavilion as well as BBQ and play facilities and the former Council nursery site.

As well as ideas for transforming the park, BRN encourages residents to lobby for action on traffic management in surrounding streets (a Council resolution calling for interim traffic measures in Victoria and Albert Streets has been on the books since December 2011). Elderly pedestrians, parents with children and cyclists face increasing hazards from traffic, with more to come as hundreds of apartments are planned or already underway within a kilometre of the park (East Brunswick Hotel redevelopment, East Brunswick Village, Sires Factory, French Avenue, Victoria and Lygon etc etc) – just have a look at the cranes in nearby Lygon Street! A key part of fixing the park is integrating traffic management, road blockages and shared spaces in surrounding streets, so people can safely walk to the park.

To have your say on the future of this park precinct, complete the survey which can be found on Council’s website or contact the Project Manager, Chris Leivers on 9240 2463 or at cleivers@moreland.vic.gov.au.

Feedback is invited until 26 April 2013 at:
http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-council/news-media/have-your-say-main/community-consultation/fleming-park-master-plan-consultation.html

Under water? Problems continue at Brunswick Baths

As the last warm days start to fade away, did you miss your summer swims at the Brunswick Baths? In spite of Moreland Council pledges last year, there is still a way to go with the Brunswick Baths’ 50 metre outdoor pool, which has some “serious” construction issues and won’t be open until sometime between mid-winter and the start of summer. Maybe.

After a five month delay last year due to soil contamination, the 50 metre pool cracked during renovations. According to Council: “Two rainfall events in November and January caused water to flood underneath the shell of the 50-metre outdoor pool, pushing up the pool’s floor and causing fine cracking.” On 28 March, Council CEO Peter Brown revealed: “The damage is serious and at best the pool would be available mid-winter. At worst, the repairs will occur through the winter months and into spring.”

In spite of this, Council is hoping for a 19 April opening of the indoor program and lap pool, children’s play pool, spa, sauna and steam room.

It may be worth people sending a message to Kane Constructions, who are responsible for fixing the pool – if they know people are watching, they’ll make it a priority. If not – it may sink to the deep end of Kane’s ‘Jobs to rectify’ list.

To send a message and keep up to date go to:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BrunswickBathsPoolDelayNews
Twitter:  twitter.com/BathsNews.

Statement from Moreland Council CEO Peter Brown
http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-council/news-media/media-releases/media-releases-2013/brunswick-baths-update.html

National Broadband Network (NBN) survey in Brunswick

More than 80% of households surveyed in the Brunswick area agree that the National Broadband Network (NBN) is a positive initiative, according to research from the University of Melbourne and Swinburne University.

The survey of 282 households in Brunswick – one of the five mainland first release sites for the NBN – provided researchers with insight into the take-up, use and implications of high-speed broadband for some of its earliest adopters. Many involved in the roll-out of the NBN, valued internet speed above price. Yet half (49%) of NBN users in Brunswick did not see any change in the cost of their home Internet after upgrading.

The full report is at:   http://accan.org.au/files/Broadbanding_Brunswick.pdf.

TRANSPORT AND TRAFFIC

Brunswick Integrated Transport Strategy (BITS)

Over 150 local people have contributed to transport studies and strategy for Brunswick over the last year. The findings will contribute to the Brunswick Integrated Transport Strategy (BITS) which will be integrated into the Brunswick Place Framework – an overarching planning strategy for our suburbs that is on schedule to be presented to Council in June 2013.

We’ve been encouraging Council to release the draft Brunswick transport strategy before it’s presented to Council – send a message to Council CEO Peter Brown asking him to release the BITS document for community perusal: email Pbrown@moreland.vic.gov.au

Rail or road?

The Victorian government’s top transport priority is an as-yet-unfunded east-west road tunnel estimated to cost between $12 and $15 billion, but there’s plenty of other funding priorities, including rail and local cycling and pedestrian infrastructure trhat could make moving around a lot easier.

A study by transport academics Paul Mees & Lucy Groenhart notes that Melbourne has built more kilometres of freeway and tollway since 1976 than any other Australian city, but has not constructed a new suburban rail line since the Glen Waverley line opened in 1930.

They report “now that public transport is gaining ground at the expense of the car, policy makers are still stubbornly clinging to road-based solutions. The recent revival of public transport has, except in Perth, been achieved with relatively little policy support, suggesting that serious pro-transit policies could create significant change. These policies are much more likely to address problems like congestion, greenhouse gases and oil security than continued road-building, which will only add to the rising car volumes choking our cities.”

Transport Policy at the Crossroads: Travel to work in Australian capital cities 1976-2011
Paul Mees & Lucy Groenhart, December 2012
http://mams.rmit.edu.au/ov14prh13lps1.pdf

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) also argues for more investment in small-scale projects rather than major infrastructure projects: http://www.ptua.org.au/2013/04/05/funding-rail-is-vital/#more-3568

PLANNING:

Amendment c134 and Brunswick Place Framework

Over 180 submissions were sent to Council over Amendment C134, which seeks to introduce permanent planning controls to Brunswick Activity Centre. Well done team!

There’s still a way to go before the changes are enacted in law:
Council staff will prepare a report for councillors with a detailed response to each submission. Areas of agreement can be incorporated in the draft amendment, but Council will request the appointment of an independent Panel from the Minister for Planning to consider any outstanding submissions
All submissions requesting changes to the amendment are referred to an independent planning panel, probably in late 2013. Submitters will be invited to appear at the panel hearing and the panel then makes recommendations for Council’s consideration.
Council decides whether to accept or reject the panel recommendations and then adopt the amendment and submit it to the Minister for Planning for approval. The Minister for Planning decides whether to approve the amendment in early-mid 2014

For more detailed information see http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/building-and-planning/planning-scheme-amendments/amendment-c134-brunswick-major-activity-structure-plans.html

In the meantime, Council staff are also preparing a “Brunswick Place Framework” to identify actions, investments and policies to deliver their “community vision” for Brunswick.  The Brunswick Place Framework is on schedule to be presented to Council for consideration in June 2013. After Council consideration, there will be a period of public engagement, followed by final endorsement by Council.

Melbourne – let’s talk about the future

Moreland’s efforts to reform the Planning Scheme are being overtaken by new State Government changes, which will restructure the Department of Planning and establish three new Neighbourhood Zones from 1 July 2013: the General Residential Zone, the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, and the Residential Growth Zone.

In coming months, we’ll be trying to find out which part of Brunswick will be a growth zone, but in the meanwhile you can find out what activities are allowed in each zone at:
http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/theplanningsystem/improving-the-system/new-zones-for-victoria/new-and-reformed-residential-zones

The State Government is also restructuring the planning bureaucracy, with Premier Dennis Napthine announcing plans to merge the departments of transport and planning to create a new mega-department of Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure.
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/premier-announces-public-service-overhaul-20130409-2hiof.html#ixzz2Q0NTXbI4

Even as State Planning Minister overrides local councils and approves a series of high rise apartment complexes, the Baillieu government is still seeking comment on their Metropolitan Planning Strategy to map out Melbourne’s future. In February, members of the BRN joined another 1,000 people (!) at a community consultation on Matthew Guy’s vision for a “20 minute city” and the Department of Planning and Community Development discussion paper “Melbourne – let’s talk about the future”. A summary of the day is available at:
http://planmelbourne.vic.gov.au/about/news-and-events/community-event-round-up

The Metropolitan Strategy discussion paper can be downloaded at: http://www.planmelbourne.vic.gov.au/discussion-paper

For the views of Professor Roz Hansen, chair of the Metro Strategy Ministerial Advisory Committee
http://www.theage.com.au/national/hauling-in-the–sprawl-20130325-2gq0q.html

For an interesting critique of the discussion paper and the State Government’s “anarchic” planning policy, have a look at the Youtube of a speech by RMIT planning expert Michael Buxton: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo55DiP-5CI

ACTION:
Save bluestones public meeting

You are invited to a Forum to assess the financial and life cycle costs impacting on the protection of Brunswick’s bluestone lanes. Speakers include:
• Jan Humphries (Member of the Moreland Council Citizens Working Committee) on Nailing the Financial Accounting
• Marisa Gallicchio and Suzy Pinchen on: Crunching the numbers on environmental impact

DATE: Thursday 18 April, 7pm
VENUE: Amelia Shaw Bar and Salon, first floor above the ‘Retreat Hotel, 280 Sydney Road, Brunswick

Save Coburg public meeting

Residents in Coburg continue to organise around Amendment C123 to the Moreland Planning Scheme for Coburg, which includes proposals for a series of 10 story buildings along Bell Street near Coburg station and Sydney Road. The Save Coburg Campaign will hold a public meeting to raise awareness of the proposed changes.

DATE: Thursday 9 May, starting at 6.30pm
VENUE:  Coburg Town Hall Concert Hall (enter from Urquhart Street, Coburg).

For further information on the Save Coburg campaign contact Wayne (0438 304 326) or see their website: http://savecoburg.wix.com/savecoburg#

There’s lots of information about Amendment c123 on their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/savecoburg

Orrong takes on VCAT and Lend Lease

One to watch – next Tuesday 16 April, the Victorian Supreme Court will hear an important appeal that will affect many Victorian municipalities and community groups who believe they should have an effective voice in their local planning decisions

Developers Lend Lease have been trying to build a project in Orrong Road, Armadale – 19 buildings, 13 stories with 466 units (reduced from 16 stories after previous protests). After two public meetings attracting close to 1,000 people, Stonnington Council knocked back an original proposal. When Lend Lease appealed this decision to VCAT in May 2012, there were over 450 Statements of Grounds by individual objectors in the Stonnington community.

In spite of this, VCAT not only ruled in favour of the developers, but determined that the extent of community opposition to a planning proposal is irrelevant. VCAT stated “that we must not have regard to irrelevant considerations” and went on to determine “‘that the extent of resident opposition per se is one of these.” (Ref: VCAT P333/2012.para 37)

Stonnington Council has successfully applied to challenge the decision at a full hearing of the Supreme Court on Tuesday 16 April, but residents will be gathering outside at 10am to say that the weight of community opinion should be taken into account when planning decisions are made.

To join the protest or find out more see: http://www.orronggroup.com or email: mlcarroll@netspace.net.au

Learn about VCAT Planning and Environment Appeals

Confused about planning? Want to appeal against a council planning decision or challenge a developer? Uncertain about how the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) operates with planning disputes?  These workshops may be for you.

The Environment Defenders Office (EDO) is a community legal centre which provides workshops to assist people to effectively represent themselves before the Planning and Environment List of VCAT. This workshop presented by an EDO lawyer, gives members of the community practical information about VCAT proceedings and hearings, including an overview of the Victorian Planning and Environment Law System, the Planning and Environment Act 1987, and Victorian Planning Schemes

The next workshop is Tuesday 30 April 2013 from 5.30pm – 7.30pm (further workshops will be held on Thursday 30 May 2013). Cost $20.00 (waged), $10.00 (unwaged).

Venue: Carlton 60L Green Building, Ground Floor, Meeting Rm 1, 60 Leicester St.

RSVP: EDO Victoria (03) 8341 3100 or edovic@edo.org.au

For more information, go to:  http://www.edo.org.au/edovic/edo_workshops.html

FUTURE NETWORK ACTIVITIES

Brunswick Residents Network will be organising a number of activities in coming weeks – watch here or see our Facebook page (Brunswick Residents Network).

Next meeting of the Brunswick Residents Network working group
Date: Thursday 11 April 2013 at 7pm (drinks or food) for 7.30 start
Venue: Sporting Club Hotel back room (27 Weston St  Brunswick, opposite Barkley Square shops)

COMMUNICATIONS UPGRADE!

We now have a Facebook page. If you’re on Facebook, please look for Brunswick Residents Network, and please help us reach more people by “Like-ing” our page, adding comments, and sharing news and events.

To have your group added to our list of local organisations on this website, email back a 250 word blurb, including contacts or a web address.

FACTOID OF THE MONTH:

The 2011 census shows Moreland has a higher proportion of low-income households than the average across Melbourne suburbs (20.3 per cent of households, compared to 16.9 per cent in Greater Melbourne). In some parts of the municipality, more than a quarter of the households are low-income, as defined by the ABS: Fawkner (28.0 per cent); Hadfield (26.5 per cent); Glenroy (25.0 per cent). Unemployment rates in Moreland are also higher than the Melbourne average of 5.5 per cent, especially in suburbs like Brunswick (7.4 per cent), Brunswick West (6.5 per cent), Fawkner (7.8 per cent), and Glenroy (8.5 per cent).

Source: City of Moreland Community Profile, .id Consulting Pty Ltd, 2011

NEXT MORELAND COUNCIL MEETINGS

Full Council meeting
Wednesday 10 April 2013 – 7 pm
Council Chambers, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg

Urban Planning Committee
Thursday 24 April 2013 – 6 pm
Council Chambers, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg

Special Council meeting
Wednesday 1 May 2013 – 6pm
Council Chambers, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg

Full Council meeting
Wednesday 8 May 2013 – 7 pm
Council Chambers, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg

Urban Planning Committee
Wednesday 22 May 2013 – 6 pm
Council Chambers, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg

Special Council meeting
Tuesday 11 June 2013 – 6 pm
Council Chambers, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg

Full Council meeting
Wednesday 12 June 2013 – 7 pm
Brunswick – Venue to be confirmed

Special Council meeting
Monday 24 June 2013 – 6pm
Council Chambers, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg

Urban Planning Committee
Wednesday 26 June 2013 – 6 pm
Council Chambers, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg

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

MAILING LIST AND FURTHER INFORMATION:

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.

For meeting details and copies of past newsletters watch this website.

Like our  Facebook page: Brunswick Residents Network

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

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