BRUNSWICK RESIDENTS NETWORK NEWSLETTER – December 2013
– Council to adopt the draft Brunswick Integrated Transport Strategy (BITS) on Wednesday
– Have a coffee in Fleming Park this week
– East-West Tunnel action
– Lots of new high-rise buildings approved for Brunswick
– South ward councillors win elections as Mayor and deputy Mayor
Fleming Park master plan
At the November Moreland Council meeting, councillors approved the launch of the Fleming Park master plan, to begin the redevelopment of the largest green space in Brunswick East.
Stage 1 proposes the construction of a new multi-purpose community facility in the park, adjoining the Bowls and Bocce Clubs and the Community Hall at the north west corner.
You can complete an online survey to comment on the plan. Council staff are also seeking feedback on the design of the proposed community buildings, prior to commencing the next phase of the Master Plan, which will consider landscape design.
A copy of the plan and the online survey for comment is available at http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-council/news-media/have-your-say-main/community-consultation/fleming-park-consultation.html?s=1001
‘Coffee and Chat’ sessions will be held in the park (near the playground) from 4-6pm on Tuesday 17 December, and again from 10am-12pm on Friday 17 January, where Council officers will display the draft plans and invite feedback from park users and residents.
WHAT: have a coffee and check out the Fleming Park master plan
WHEN: Tuesday 17 December (4 PM-6 PM) and Friday 17 January (10 AM-12 PM)
WHERE the: near the playground at Fleming Park, off Victoria Street Brunswick.
For further information, contact Chris Leivers (Manager, Youth & Leisure, Moreland City Council), phone: 9240 2463.
TRANSPORT AND TRAFFIC:
Brunswick Integrated Transport Strategy (BITS)
Next Wednesday’s Moreland Council meeting will consider a resolution on the Brunswick Integrated Transport Strategy (BITS). Deferred from last month’s meeting, the resolution proposes to implement short term and low cost traffic management and advise the community, before conducting a five-year review of the strategy.
To achieve the goals set out in BITS, Council staff have recommended a minimum of $250,000 a year for the next five years be allocated within the capital budget. However this proposed amount will not cover traffic management needs across all of Brunswick, Brunswick East and Brunswick West and will only provide for basic signage and small scale interim steps. Even if funds are allocated for 2014, the Brunswick Residents Network is concerned that the largest amount will be used for Moreland Council’s share of signage and traffic controls along Nicholson Street, as Public Transport Victoria redevelops the number 96 tram route in the next few years.
Additional funds beyond the proposed $250,000 per annum should be allocated for large areas of traffic calming, intersection upgrades, cycling infrastructure, public transport infrastructure and shared zones – all proposals recommended in the transport strategy.
We’re calling on Moreland Council to establish a working group to ensure that the new Brunswick Integrated Transport Strategy is implemented, involving councillors, council staff, bicycle users and residents groups, and representatives of local businesses and community organisations. Come along to the Council meeting on Wednesday 11 December at the Mechanics Institute (corner of Sydney Road and Glenlyon Road) to add your voice!
You can download the Brunswick Integrated Transport Strategy at: http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-council/news-media/have-your-say-main/community-consultation/brunswick-integrated-transportation-strategy.html
Brunswick residents traffic survey
Brunswick Residents Network has launched a survey of people living in the area between Glenlyon Road and Blyth Street, to gauge their response to the BITS transport strategy, and to set priorities for action (thanks to Brunswick MP Jane Garrett for assistance with mailing out the survey).
For Brunswick and Brunswick East residents living in this area, please take 10 minutes to complete the survey online at Survey monkey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BrunswickTraffic
If you can’t access the Internet, we can send you a copy of the survey- please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
All I want for Christmas is better public transport
At a public meeting on 28 November, Northern suburbs residents established the Moreland Community against the East West Tunnel (MCAT), to campaign for public transport and to support Moreland City Council and other inner-city municipalities which are opposing the State Government’s proposed East West Link project.
The Napthine government’s own secret traffic modelling reveals hundreds of thousands of motorists will face more rather than less congestion as a direct result of the $8 billion East-West project.
”Secret report on east-west link reveals traffic explosion” , The Age, 9 December, 2013
MCAT’s next fortnightly meeting will be on 19 December at the Temple Park Senior Citizens Centre in Brunswick West (For more information contact Sue Bolton, Moreland Councillor, Tel: 0417 583 664 Email: email@example.com)
There will also be a community rally on Sunday 15 December, as part of the inner-city response to the State government’s initiative.
WHAT: Community rally for better public transport
WHEN: Sunday 15th December, 1 PM
WHERE: Smith Street reserve, Alexandra Parade, Fitzroy (next to Fitzroy pool).
INFO: For details, contact Mel on 0400 588 202
The Linking Melbourne Authority has released the project’s Comprehensive Impact Statement (CIS). This week is the last opportunity for community submissions on the C I S, which are due by Thursday 12 December.
PLANNING AND SERVICES:
Numbers don’t count for Council
In recent planning disputes such as the McDonald’s battle at Tecoma or the Lend Lease fight in Stonnington, planners have shown that they only look at the quality of residents’ objections, not the number of objectors (so if it’s one developer versus hundreds of local residents, numbers don’t count).
Stonnington Council lost a Supreme Court bid in September to overturn a VCAT ruling on a Lend Lease proposal for a 448 apartment, 12-storey building in Armadale. The council last year unanimously refused a permit due to the development size and design. Developer Lend Lease then had the decision overturned at VCAT, despite 627 objections and the unanimous opposition of the council and local politicians.
In her ruling, Supreme Court judge Karin Emerton stated: “I am not persuaded that the number of objections was evidence of the aspirations of the local community that had to be taken into account by the Tribunal in its consideration”.
It seems Moreland Council officers have the same attitude, as suggested by their report for the next Council meeting:
“With regard to considering views for and against the proposals, there is a general principle of planning that the key issue for Council when assessing submissions or objections is to consider the nature of the issues raised, not just the sheer number of submissions or objections holding a particular view” (Moreland Council meeting agenda, 11 December 2013, p828).
Housing development data analysis 2013
The State government Department of Planning Transport and Local Infrastructure has prepared a “Housing Development Data Analysis” for Moreland City Council, to assist with the development of new residential zones under state planning law.
The report, published in September 2013, draws on census data from 2004 until 2011 and details major trends in Moreland’s population, housing and infrastructure. Some interesting excerpts from the report highlight the extent of housing growth in Brunswick and Brunswick East.
The report notes that between 2004-11, “the Brunswick Activities Area was the overwhelming focus for new housing development. Over the 2004-11 period, it added 1,210 new dwellings which resulted in the number of dwellings within the activities area to more than double from 1,167 dwellings in 2004 to 2,377 dwellings in 2011. Given this growth in the number of households living in the Brunswick Activities Area is likely to have also doubled accordingly. The Brunswick Activities Area ranks as one of Melbourne’s highest housing growth activities areas.” (P 13-14).
“In the context of this growth, particularly in Brunswick, there is an imperative for Council to ensure other objectives for its activity areas are also progressing, including those relating to creating “great spaces and places” and “improve public spaces, civic places and streetscapes” as per the Brunswick Structure Plan.” (P 15)
“Increasingly, Moreland’s transport corridors exemplify the renewal outcomes that integrated land use and transport planning can achieve and represent considerable policy success in focusing population growth around public transport infrastructure. At the same time, it is also understood that the success of Council’s vision has precipitated significant increases in demand along these routes that has in turn generated time travel and capacity issues that need to addressed.” (P 18).
New multi-story buildings in Brunswick
Moreland Council’s Urban Planning Committee (UPC) and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) have approved a number of major multistorey high-rise buildings over the last month – once again ignoring the call for mandatory high controls that would limit the density of new buildings.
A) Green light for 14-storey complex near Sydney road
Moreland Council’s Urban Planning Committee (UPC) has given the go ahead for the controversial 14 storey shopping and residential complex proposed for 284-294 Albert Street Brunswick (next to the Safeway supermarket between Sydney Road and the Upfield railway line).
Under a long-standing Development Plan Overlay, this project has an exemption from notice and appeal rights under the Planning and Environment Act 1987, so local residents and businesses have no right of appeal to Council or VCAT. Since 2010, Council has twice extended the time permitted for developers to start construction, with the new deadline set for 2016. The original issuing of a planning permit was the subject of an investigation by the Local Government Inspectorate but the land and permit has been sold on to a new developer.
The Brunswick Structure Plan and 2012 Addendum identify a five storey (18m) street wall for this site at Albert Street. The revised plans for the site, lodged by the developers, include increases in the height and bulk of some of the towers that make up the vast complex. These include:
– Extending the building onto the eastern boundary for a full eight storey height
– Increasing part of the building height to provide a seventh storey adjacent to the six storey street wall at the north-east portion of the site
– Reduction from two basement levels to one basement level with car parking provided above ground (traffic from the towers will funnel directly onto Albert Street and go rat running through residential streets, rather than face the congestion of Sydney Road at peak hour).
B) Six story building for Pedders site
Council’s urban planning committee has approved the redevelopment of the Pedders site at 267 Lygon Street, Brunswick (on the southwest corner of Lygon Street and Albert Street).
The UPC has approved a six-storey plus basement building, even though the Brunswick Structure Plan says the site should have a preferred maximum height of five storeys, with a four storey street wall to the northern, eastern and southern boundaries. Council also approved a reduction of car parking requirements and a reduction of the requirement for loading and unloading of vehicles, for a project containing 6 retail premises and 35 dwellings.
On the opposite north-east corner, planning permits for another six storey development have already been approved for the site of the former East Brunswick Club. There are also a number of permits issued for 10 story buildings heading north along Lygon Street, including the already completed concrete monolith Elvera.
In approving these new projects, the UPC report notes: “While any increase in population density will likely increase the level of activity around the site and area, it is not envisioned that such an increase would be detrimental or substantially more intensive than what is currently experienced.”
Tell that to people trying to get on the Lygon Street tram at 8 AM in the morning!
C) VCAT approves seven stories for Lygon Street
Heycan Property Pty Ltd v Moreland CC  VCAT 1917 (13 November 2013)
VCAT granted a permit for a seven storey building containing 13 dwellings and a shop, at 394 Lygon Street, Brunswick East (just north of Blyth Street). The permit will allow a reduction in the standard car parking requirements and a waiver of the standard loading bay requirement. As usual, the proposed 7-storey street wall exceeds the preferred 4-storeys in the previous development overlay and the maximum street wall of 3-storeys referred to in the 2012 Brunswick Structure Plan (BSP) addendum.
Past decisions by Moreland Council to allow buildings at heights greater than the BSP are coming back to haunt decision-makers. In this ruling, VCAT notes: “The existence of a Permit to develop the adjoining site at 392 Lygon Street cannot be ignored. It is a mirror image of the proposed development with the exception that this proposal is one level higher. The location is changing and the emerging character is one of taller buildings. This is evident as you drive along Lygon Street and see a range of new buildings of varying heights.”
D) New permit application for eight storeys in Sydney Road
If you’re strolling along Sydney Road, check out the permit application for an eight story building at 329 Sydney Road (opposite the church and Savers). There is still time for shopkeepers and residents in the neighbourhood to lodge an objection if you think this will adversely transform neighbourhood character.
As predicted in last month’s newsletter, South Ward councillor Lambros Tapinos (ALP) was elected as the new Mayor of Moreland City Council for 2014. Another South ward councillor, Meagan Hopper (ALP), was elected as deputy mayor, defeating the third South ward councillor Samantha Ratnam (Greens). Congratulations to these Brunswick representatives and we look forward to working with them in the coming year.
Lambros’s inaugural speech
NEXT MORELAND COUNCIL MEETINGS
Full Council meeting
Wednesday 11 December 2013 – 7 pm
Mechanics Institute Performing Arts Centre, 270 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC 3056 (corner of Sydney road and Glenlyon road).
Urban Planning Committee
Wednesday 18 December 2013 – 6 pm
Council Chambers, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg
(Check latest 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 0421 840 100.
Check out our Facebook page: Brunswick Residents Network (If you’re on Facebook, please help us reach more people by “Like-ing” our page, adding comments, and sharing news and events).
Please forward this e-letter to other Moreland neighbours who’d like a say in the way their community is changing