August 2017 Newsletter

Go to the formatted version with more pictures and clickable links

………. In this edition: Park funding, over-development, rezoning, bikes, events ……..

** Brunswick Residents Network community meeting –
Where’s the park?
Brunswick Residents Network will be holding our next community meeting on Tuesday 19 September, to discuss Council’s proposed Open Space Strategy, “A park close to home”; and proposals for Siteworks, Fleming Park and other open spaces.

Moreland Council is starting to discuss the pressing need to expand and upgrade open space in our neighbourhood, using funding saved from developer “open space contributions”. But with nearly $40 million in the Council’s open space fund, where should these funds be invested?

With Council rolling out new proposals for Fleming Park and the Siteworks precinct, it’s timely for community members to have a say on their priorities.

Join us for a panel discussion on open space initiatives, and share ideas for improving the commons across Brunswick.

WHAT: Brunswick Residents Network Community meeting on open space
WHEN: Tuesday 19 September, 6.30-8pm
WHERE: St. Ambrose Church Community Centre (287 Sydney Road, just north of Dawson Street)

** Fleming Park revisited
In 2014, Moreland Council developed a master plan for Fleming Park, the largest green space in Brunswick East to the west of the creek.

A number of elements of the plan have been completed since that time (fencing, lighting, some pathway improvements), but the plan has never been fully funded. A multi-million dollar multi-purpose community facility is not yet scheduled. The grandstand, along with a number of other landscape features, are not currently included in Council’s forward works program.

The open space of the park includes facilities for bowls, bocce and the AFL-sized oval (mostly used for lacrosse and cricket). There’s a children’s playground as well as the Clarrie Wohlers Senior Citizens Building, Fleming Park Community Hall, Brunswick Bowls Club, Bocce Club and a disused grandstand. The East Brunswick Shimmy bicycle path cuts across the park from John Street/Albert Street to Victoria Street. And it’s popular as the local “off-leash” dog park.

Council has now commenced a “refresh” of the Fleming Park Master Plan, and a ”community reference group” will be established for the project

Council is seeking expressions of interest for the reference group to provide local advice on the Master Plan. The working group “will form a conduit between Council and the local community to discuss issues and opportunities to form recommendations for presentation to Council.”

You can nominate for membership of the reference group, with submissions closing on Thursday 24 August. You can nominate online (—community-reference-group/) .

** Urban Forest Strategy: community response
At this month’s council meeting, Moreland councillors adopted a new Urban Forest Strategy 2017-2027 for the municipality. The council papers include a full report on the extensive community responses throughout 2016-17 to the proposed strategy, which highlight the expertise and enthusiasm of local residents.

In response to surveys about annual street tree planting, there was a strong preference for increasing overall canopy by improving the quality of planting, adopting a 3,500 annual street tree program and 750 park tree program plantings. This would lead to a doubling of tree canopy coverage in the public realm from 5% to 10%.

There was also a lot of community support for an adaptive tree planting program that could adjust to climate constraints, meaning these numbers could vary depending on harsh climatic years. Criticisms of the original draft noted the lack of focus on climate change and the urban heat island effect.

Members of the Brunswick Residents Network have been critical of past Council practice, where hundreds of trees have been planted without proper staking, watering and mulching, leaving trees to fend for themselves. People surveyed during the Strategy consultation process agreed, with a majority proposing that a target of planting 3,500 trees instead of 5,000 annually could lead to better outcomes, with more resources being allocated to make trees survive instead of the current practice of “plant and forget.”

Despite this recommendation by Council officers and the majority of survey respondents, councillors voted to maintain the existing target of 5,000 trees planted each year. We urge councillors to ensure that practices improve to allow more trees to survive, and to allocate ongoing funding necessary for proper planting, maintenance and care.

The new strategy includes a detailed street tree planting plan and thoughtful ideas on the mix of trees best suited for different parts of the neighbourhood. The overwhelming community response during the consultation period shows how Moreland can and should be drawing on local knowledge and community participation when they develop these overarching strategies.

** A Liveable Moreland – is it too late?
3056 Action Network

Residents around the Jewell precinct of Brunswick have organised a 3056 Action Network to discuss the large number of developments either underway or proposed for the area.

The 3056 Action Network is concerned that few safeguards are currently in place to secure a liveable suburb: “Many live in single-storey 19thC homes, so the prospect of a 10-storey apartment block next door is daunting. So too is the thought of hundreds of extra cars attempting to enter Sydney Rd or Brunswick Rd every morning from the few, current, exit points.”

As well as the proposed re-development of the Jewell Station precinct by developers Neo-Metro, with the construction of two eight-storey towers, the south of the municipality is facing other major projects such as the Bridie O’Reilly’s hotel site on the corner of Brunswick and Sydney Roads, and the 12-storey Park Street complex (Peregrine Projects, the developers of the hotel site, are welcomed as the latest subscribers to our BRN newsletter!)

The Jewell residents will be vocal at this Wednesday’s planning forum (see below). Check out their Facebook page at:

Public forum this Wednesday: “A Liveable Moreland – is it too late for Brunswick?

South Ward councillors Samantha Ratnam and Mark Riley are organising a public forum on Wednesday 16 August at the Brunswick Town Hall. The forum “A Liveable Moreland – is it too late for Brunswick?” will allow residents “to hear about what is happening with urban development in Moreland, apartment construction and Moreland Council’s actions.”

WHAT: Forum: “A Liveable Moreland – is it too late for Brunswick?”
WHEN: Wednesday 16 August, 7pm
WHERE: Brunswick Town Hall, 233 Sydney Road (corner of Dawson Street)
INFO: Samantha on 0433 275434 or Mark on 0499 807044

** Rezoning Brunswick: what got through
At their August meeting, Moreland Council agreed to proceed with rezoning under the Moreland Planning Scheme to allow for residential development on some existing industrial land. Properties within Category 3 Transition-Residential Areas of the Brunswick Activity Centre are proposed to be rezoned to the Mixed Use Zone (MUZ).

The changes affect properties near the Albert / Lygon intersection, along Nicholson Street and other sites. The changes are detailed in Amendment C164, with maps of affected areas on the Council website. Council will undertake public exhibition of the Amendment over September-October 2017 and report back to Council in November 2017.

At the same time however, Council rejected a bid to re-zone industrial land in Albert Street, Brunswick, to the west of Sydney Road. A long-standing developer proposal to convert factory sites to apartment complexes was rejected, in large part because of the developer’s proposal for 8-story height limits.

VCAT ignores call for mandatory heights

The Domain real estate site reported in May that “Planning minister Richard Wynne says he will consider granting councils control over the height of apartment developments.” So why did he knock back mandatory controls for Brunswick when Amendment C134 was introduced into the Moreland Planning Scheme last year?

This issue of mandatory height controls will be crucial as we move towards the next State election. Recent VCAT decisions in July (listed below), show that the planning appeals process continues to approve buildings in breach of current Moreland planning strategies – a process not helped when Council repeatedly breaches its own proposed height levels!

Christina Zhou: “Planning minister Richard Wynne to allow councils to apply for control over apartment tower heights”, Domain, 20 May 2017

55-63 Nicholson St Pty Ltd v Moreland CC [2017] VCAT 1082 (26 July 2017)

Carringbush Property Group Pty Ltd v Moreland CC [2017] VCAT 1066 (18 July 2017)

** Local laws: having your say
Moreland City Council has prepared a new draft General Local Law. The proposal – open for public consultation – combines and updates previous legislation granting authority to council officers in areas such as permits, fines and community welfare around noise, animals, use of public space etc.

The first draft of the Local Law presented earlier this year was widely criticised by community groups, including Brunswick Residents Network, because it involved massive charges, penalties and over-regulation of basic community activities. For example, Brunswick Residents Network protested against requirements for a $300 permit to distribute leaflets in public places (we pointed out to councillors that the last time we distributed leaflets, it was to invite people to a meeting featuring the three South Ward councillors, so they could talk about Council priorities in 2017!)

A number of draft provisions involved significant overreach against fundamental democratic principles. Article 17.2 of the original draft (now amended after protests) stated that Council reserved to itself the right to grant permits “subject to such conditions as it thinks fit,” opening the way for arbitrary decision-making.

We shouldn’t need to remind Council that Section 15 of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities specifies: “Every person has the right to freedom of expression which includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, whether within or outside Victoria and whether (a) orally; or (b) in writing; or (c) in print; or (d) by way of art; or (e) in another medium chosen by him or her.”

At the July Council meeting, councillors removed some of the worst anti-democratic provisions, endorsed the draft proposed General Local Law 2018 and released it for public comment. There are however still a number of controversial issues to be resolved around camping, the rights of homeless people, unnecessary busking bureaucracy, and the ability for community groups to set up street stalls and signs without obtaining an expensive permit.

You have until 20 August to submit your comments:

Proposed General Local Law 2018

** West Brunswick public housing under threat

Brunswick and Brunswick East are becoming notorious for high housing prices, but there is an urgent need to increase affordable public and social housing across the municipality.

The State government has announced proposed changes to the Moreland Planning Scheme to redevelop a site in Brunswick West, which includes the Gronn Place public housing estate, on land owned by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The 1.4 hectare site is located north of Albion Street, right next to the Citylink freeway and is one of nine public housing areas identified for renewal by the State government.

The proposal involves rezoning the area from residential to a Mixed-Use Zone, demolishing a number of three and four-storey buildings constructed during the 1960s. Selling off this government-owned site is just part of the gentrification of the area, even though it is proposed to add provisions to the local planning scheme requiring public housing sites to be included in the new accommodation mix.

With the land owned by DHHS, the State government will develop an overarching development plan for the site. State Minister for Planning Richard Wynne will become the “responsible authority” to approve the development plan, rather than Moreland Council. BRN supports Council in its advocacy to ensure the land remains in public hands and the site is re-developed for public housing.

There are no third-party notice and appeal rights for the proposal, but there is an opportunity to make submissions to an advisory planning panel created by the government, with submissions due by the end of the month and public hearings to be held in October.

Submissions can be made by 5 PM on Wednesday, 30 August 2014 at (

** Walking, riding and driving news
East Brunswick Shimmy

The concrete path through Fleming Park for the East Brunswick Shimmy is now up and running. The route is slightly disjointed at Maghull Street where the new and old paths meet. This is not the final alignment and it will be changed in a couple of weeks.

The final path will be a smooth curve, with pedestrians walking around the oval on a different coloured path delineated also by bluestone rumble strips. The bluestone finish is dressed (sawn) so in the event you do have to ride over the pavers to avoid a child/dog/granny, it won’t be too disruptive. On the path, as elsewhere, pedestrians have right of way (Give them every courtesy. It is a park, not a speedway!)

(See also the story above (#Fleming) about Fleming Park consultation.)

Merri Creek bridge funded

The campaign for a foot and bike bridge over the Merri creek, north of Arthurton Road, reports that Moreland Council has now approved the funds required to build the bridge (Darebin Council had already approved their 50% share). The bridge will be an important alternative to the unattractive road crossings, and should encourage walking and riding especially for kids going to the East Brunswick school..

Bike crash stats

Bicycle Network has published its five-year crash report ( revealing the conditions, months, times of day and streets that see the most crashes. Members reported nearly 2,500 crashes between 2012 and 2016, of which almost half involved serious injury. Just over 230 of the reported crashes each year required a trip to hospital.

While these figures might sound bleak, the report suggests a downward trend in bike crashes over the five-year period, with the chance of a Bicycle Network member having (and reporting) a crash in a single year at less than one percent. 2012 had the highest number of crashes at just over 600; last year just over 400 were reported.

Forty per cent of reported crashes happened at intersections. Melbourne saw particularly high rates in the CBD, specifically along Elizabeth Street at intersections with Lonsdale Street and La Trobe Street. Most (79%) of crashes were on roads.

The study authors don’t appear to allow for the bias from voluntary members’ reports – for example, with under-reporting of minor accidents, and some conclusions go beyond their evidence. But the statistics themselves are still interesting!

Open Streets: worldwide move to Car-Free Sundays

A number of cities around the world are trialling Open Streets, where streets or city centres are closed to vehicles for a period, to allow pedestrians and cyclists to use urban infrastructure in safety.

To visit Bogotá, Colombia, on a Sunday is to witness an unforgettable spectacle: miles and miles of car-free streets packed with cyclists, runners, and walkers. From 7 am to 2 pm every Sunday (and holiday), 76 miles of streets are closed (partially or fully) to traffic for the Ciclovía, a program the local government has run since 1974. Some 1.7 million people, or about a quarter of the city’s population, turn out each week. Surveys have found that nearly half of people use the blocked-off streets for at least three hours.

In Ottawa, every Sunday morning during the summer (between May and September in Canada), over 50 kilometres of roads in the heart of the city and nearby Gatineau Park are closed to motor vehicles and open for cyclists, in-line skaters, runners and pedestrians.

Closer to home, two main roads in Jakarta are closed to cars on Sunday mornings, for Car Free Day.
* Bogotá closes its roads every Sunday. Now everyone wants to do it (
* Ottawa Sunday bike days (
* Car free day, Jakarta (

More stats: car ownership plateaus

The latest census provides interesting data on car ownership: it’s still increasing, at varying rates, in every state across Australia, but – per capita – has not increased in Melbourne over a ten-year period,.

The blog “Charting Transport” blog has done some really valuable number crunching to show trends in car ownership. Across Melbourne suburbs, there is lower ownership in the inner city, inner north, inner west, and in the more socio-economically disadvantaged suburbs in the north and south-east.

The report notes: “You can also see lower motor vehicle ownership around train lines in many middle suburbs. Other pockets of low motor vehicle ownership are in Clayton (presumably university students) and Box Hill, and curiously some of the growth areas in the west and north. Very high motor vehicle ownership can be seen in wealthier areas, and the outer east.”

Our comment: So investing in trains does appear to get cars off our roads!

Worth a look if you are interested in travel trends:
* What does the census tell us about motor vehicle ownership in Australia cities? (2006-2016) (

Friends of the Earth launch a Sustainable Cities Campaign

Melbourne is rolling ahead building new toll roads for our growing population. Some politicians and special interests seem to think that as we grow, more and bigger roads are the only answer. These roads are hurting our community: from the tolls, from the health impacts, and from the loss of local parks and public open space.

To address the issue of Melbourne’s transport in 2017 and beyond, Friends of the Earth are launching a Sustainable Cities campaign, and will hold an information night on Monday 28 August

WHAT: Sustainable Cities Campaign Info Night.
WHEN: Monday 28 August, 6.30pm
WHERE: Friends of the Earth Food Co-op, 312 Smith St Collingwood VIC 3066
INFO: Rachel Lynskey, Sustainable Cities Campaigner, Phone 9419 8700 or 0481 288 211

** More people for Moreland

The City of Moreland uses population projections prepared by i.d Consulting to assist with planning for services, housing density and other activities.

Moreland is now projected to have a total population of 228,807 by 2036 – more than 14,000 above the previous projection of 214,320.

The new projections, released by i.d Consulting in May, predict an increase of 48.3 per cent between 2011 and 2036, or an additional 74,562 residents needing transport, waste disposal, health services and libraries.

** Arts and culture
Serenading Adela

Join a community choir to commemorate Moreland’s colourful history of political debate!

On 7 January 1918, a hot summer night during World War 1, Adela Pankhurst’s supporters gathered outside the bluestone walls of the women’s prison at Pentridge to “serenade” her with socialist songs, Cooees, and coloured lights.

Serenading Adela: A Street Opera, written and directed by Jeannie Marsh will recreate this colourful event for performances in December and on 7 January. Participation is free, no choir experience needed. Street band players, and ‘extras” for the mob, are also invited.

WHEN: 1st rehearsal and info session 3pm Sunday 3 September
VENUE: Scout Hall, 213A Weston Street, Brunswick East.
REHEARSAL BOOKINGS: Help the organisers by making a (free) booking
CONTACT and INFO ( , or search SerenadingAdela

Vale Turbo

Moreland Council will commission a plaque to commemorate Brunswick artist and personality Trevor (Turbo) Brown, who died earlier this year. Originally from Mildura, the Latje Latje man spent much of his time in Brunswick and was often working or selling his work along Sydney Road.

Turbo is the subject of a 2013 portrait for the Brunswick Kind mural in Sparta Place, Brunswick

Turbo’s artwork is displayed in the National Gallery of Victoria and National Gallery of Australia , and his paintings can be seen on display in Brunswick Library. His picture Owl Dreaming won the 2012 Deadly Art Award, Victoria’s highest honour for an Indigenous artist. Find out more with these videos:

* Brunswick Kind: Trevor “Turbo” Brown (
* White Kangaroo (

** Community notices
NDIS Information

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will be rolled out in Moreland from March 2018. Moreland Council is running information sessions for people with a disability, their families and carers on 23 August and 6 September.

Visit the Council’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) page ( or to find out more, call Carolyn Hughes, Metro Access Project Officer, on 9240 2469

A conversation for Muslim women.

Moroccan Deli-cacy cafe is hosting a discussion on making sense of being a Muslim woman in Australia during a time of increasing islamophobia and hostility. The discussion will be centred around issues impacting Muslim women’s experiences shaping the decisions and choices we make.

WHAT: A conversation for Muslim women.
WHEN: Wednesday 16 August, 5.30–7.30pm
WHERE: 313 Lygon Street, Brunswick
INFO: Phone 9387 6805

Brunswick Neighbourhood House

Brunswick Neighbourhood House (BNH) is a not for profit community organisation. Established in 1980, we offer education, childcare and community activities for the people of Brunswick and surrounding areas.

The neighbourhood house, which will have its AGM on 18 October, runs a range of courses including basic computing skills, English as a second language and children’s programs.

WHAT: BNH Annual General Meeting
WHEN: Wednesday 18 October, 12 noon
WHERE: 18 Garden Street, Brunswick.

** Next Moreland Council meetings
All Council meetings – held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month – and Urban Planning Committee meetings – held on the 4th Wednesday of each month – are now held at: Council Chamber, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg. Council meetings are on:
* Wednesday 13 September 2017
* Monday 25 September 2017 (Consider Draft Annual Report) – 6 pm
* Wednesday 11 October 2017
* Monday 30 October 2017 (Ceremonial Meeting) – Coburg Town Hall
* Wednesday 15 November 2017
* Wednesday 6 December 2017

Check for all meeting details at the Council website ( . Council meetings can now be watched online, either live, or later – you can find details here ( along with the agenda for the next Council meeting.
* Hint: If you go to an evening meeting at 90 Bell Street and find the doors locked, you can probably get in through the back door via Urquhart Street.


** Contacts for our three local councillors:
Deputy Mayor Samantha Ratnam
Mobile: 0433 275 434
Email: (

Mark Riley
Mobile: 0499 807044
Email: (

Lambros Tapinos
Mobile: 0433 419 075
Email: (

Welcome to new readers! To contact organisers of the Brunswick Residents’ Network, or to offer help with future activities, please email ( .

Please forward this e-letter to other Moreland neighbours who’d like a say in the way their community is changing. It’s easy to sign on, or edit your details to include your interests – just go to

For meeting details, survey and newsletter archives, go to:

Check out our Facebook page for a range of lively discussions: Brunswick Residents Network ( . Help us reach more people by liking our page, commenting, forwarding this newsletter, and tweeting it!

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