Updates on parks, developers, bikes, and democracy
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** East Brunswick Village
Once again, the developers Banco have used VCAT to override Council objections to changed plans for the East Brunswick Village (EBV) – the major project on the old Tontine site, bounded by Nicholson Street, Glenlyon Road, John Street and Albert Street. (Pictured right, before demolition began). Once finished, EBV will include up to 1,000 apartments, a major supermarket complex, shops and office space.
The East Brunswick Village Development Plan was formally endorsed in October 2012. Since that time, Banco has been working to extend the EBV site further to the north, towards Albert Street. They have purchased old industrial sites like the South Pacific Laundry plant at 149 Nicholson Street, which had a different owner and was not covered by the Development Plan when the Council permit was first issued.
With 149 Nicholson Street now under the same ownership, Banco has approached Council, and then VCAT, to amend the Development Plan to “facilitate a different redevelopment” in the northern part of the EBV.
The site includes a pedestrian access to the EBV from Albert Street along Elm Grove. But under the new plans approved by VCAT, there are significant changes to the alignment of pedestrian and vehicle links and the extent of 6-storey buildings adjacent to Elm Grove. VCAT approved the revised plan for the pedestrian link to run through a building, rather than being open to the sky, as well as the re-alignment of the new road linking Nicholson and Elm Streets.
Banco previously used VCAT to override Council policy on affordable housing and traffic management, and this development has been notable for attempts to keep affected residents in the dark. During the VCAT hearing, the Council admitted that there was an error in its report on the public notification process. Signs were not placed on the land, as reported by Moreland Council staff. Toward the end of the VCAT directions hearing, Council staff also advised that it was not necessary for this matter to be referred back to a Council meeting, to determine whether elected Councillors wished to change their decision on this amended development plan.
Revised transport plans for the EBV have been prepared by the traffic consultancy group Cardno. Yet it was revealed during the VCAT hearing that the views of the Department of Transport (Transport for Victoria) and VicRoads had not been sought about the amended development plan, as is required in in the Development Plan Overlay Schedule 11 (DPO11).
For many years, BRN has been advocating for the need for better traffic calming in residential streets abutting this major project, such as John Street and Albert Street. Yet last year Council refused to support proper bike separation along John Street – a major north-south section of the East Brunswick shimmy. Even as the Council moves to “refresh Fleming Park”, there is no integrated traffic plan for the precinct, despite calls from residents going back a decade.
In May 2013, the Council’s own Brunswick Integrated Transport Strategy (BITS) made a series of recommendations about Fleming Park and the East Brunswick Village precinct. These included:
* implement pedestrian priority treatment on Cross Street as part of the Fleming Park redevelopment, including upgraded crossings at intersections with Victoria and Albert streets
* Implement pedestrian priority treatments on Victoria and Albert streets alongside Fleming Park
* Audit pedestrian crossings of intersections of Victoria and Albert streets and advocate for improved pedestrian priority
* Implement signalised interactions with pedestrian priority at Victoria and Albert Street intersections with Nicholson Street
* Audit the condition and suitability pedestrian paths to determine priority locations and scope of improvements
* Provide pedestrian and cycling priority internal Street networks in major development sites.
How long will this sorry saga continue without effective action on traffic management and open space in Brunswick East, an area scheduled to receive thousands of new residents in coming years! Five years on, Moreland Council should publicly report back to residents on these audits. South Ward councillors should explain what their current plans are for safe walking and cycling in the Fleming Park and EBV precinct.
VCAT ruling: East Brunswick Village Pty Ltd v Moreland CC (Corrected)  (http://www6.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2018/265.html) VCAT 265 (21 February 2018)
** Sitting on your arse brings benefits
In an example of land banking, a developer has used VCAT to override new provisions in the Moreland Planning Scheme, after sitting on a planning permit for more than seven years. It’s an interesting VCAT ruling, showing that old permit conditions will be allowed to stand despite recent changes in public policy on lighting, ventilation, apartment dimensions etc.
The case of Gagliano v Moreland (April 2018) discusses to what extent changes in planning policy should affect the proposed extension of time for existing planning permits.
The project proposes construction of a seven-storey building with basement car park and two levels of car parking behind a ground floor shop on land at 368 Lygon Street, Brunswick East. The planning permit was issued on 6 September 2011, and two further extensions of time have since been granted, each for a further period of two years. However no construction was undertaken.
Moreland City Council initially refused a request to further extend time for the permit. Council argued that since the initial permit was issued in 2011, significant changes have been made to the relevant planning scheme, including the introduction of the Better Apartment Design Standards via Amendment VC136 to the Victorian Planning Provisions.
However VCAT ruled that “the intent of these transitional provisions is to mark a clear ‘line in the sand’, that all applications lodged on or after 13 April 2017 will be assessed subject to Clause 58, while those lodged prior to this date will benefit from the transitional provisions.”
VCAT therefore overrode Council, granting a permit extension till September 2019 to commence the development and September 2021 to complete the development.
The pipeline of construction in the Brunswick Activity Centre, using permits issued some years ago, will therefore see the construction of apartments that don’t meet current design standards promoted through the Moreland Apartment Design Code, or even the weaker State Government design laws.
Gagliano v MorelandCC  (http://www6.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2018/527.html) VCAT 527 (5 April 2018)
* See another case where VCAT overrules Moreland Council on planning permit application MPS/2016/26 and grants a permit for six triple-storey dwellings in a General Residential Zone at 154 Moreland Road Brunswick:
Inter Urban Pty Ltd v Moreland CC  (http://www6.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2017/1918.html) VCAT 1918 (13 February 2018)
** Object to 13 storeys in Park Street
The deadline for objections to this 13-storey building which would over-shadow Princes Park in the winter, has been extended to 30 April. See details on the residents group Facebook page:
** Feature Article: The future of Fleming Park
As we reported in our last newsletter, Moreland Council has launched a “refresh” of the Fleming Park Master Plan, to look at the future of the largest green space in East Brunswick . Council notes: “The previous master plan for the park was prepared in 2014, and with the increase in population in the area, and a number of capital works project planned for the next few years, it is timely to check in to make sure the master plan still meets the needs of current and future residents.”
The Draft Fleming Park Masterplan Refresh is now available online (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/globalassets/areas/recreation/280318_fleming-park-masterplan-refresh-draft-shrinked.pdf) , with Council seeking feedback.
Council has allocated $4 million to the implementation of stage 1 of the masterplan, but proposals in the draft will cost $11 million. This leaves a current gap of $7.4 million over the medium to long term! This suggests many proposals will be put off into the never-never, so the priorities set for the short term are crucial.
A final decision on the plan will be taken by councillors at their meeting in July 2018. Have as look at the draft, and send in your comments. Your submissions can be completed online and must be received by 5 pm on Sunday 13 May 2018. Details for submissions are on this Council webpage (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-us/projects/recreation-facilities/fleming-park-projects/) ,
See also this residents’ Facebook:
Love Fleming Park Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/Love-Fleming-Park-541643279517070/)
After recent stuff-ups like the “community consultation” over toilets at Methven Park, Moreland Council’s CEO Nerina di Lorenzo pledged better community engagement processes, rather than just token “tick a box” consultation.
At their meeting on 11 May, Council agreed that the Draft Fleming Park Masterplan should go out for public discussion. Extensive community discussion and a Community Reference Group has informed the development of the draft masterplan.
But now that the final version is released, it seems that Moreland Council is slipping back into old bad habits.
On the morning of Wednesday 18 March, a resident who walks his dog in Fleming Park every morning was surprised to see laminated notices around the park. The signs were advertising a meeting the previous night, yet they hadn’t been there when he walked the dog the day before!
It seems that Council staff had advertised the Tuesday night “community consultation” on Fleming Park by putting out the signs on Tuesday afternoon, just hours before the meeting! Surprise, surprise: there was limited turnout by residents.
Suspicious minds might think this was deliberate, but nine times out of ten, it’s stupidity rather than conspiracy. Council’s notification process often doesn’t take into account the comprehension, language skills or real life circumstances of residents. Many people, especially the elderly, may not have easy access to wade through Council’s website looking for information.
Is this really the best that Council can do? How long do we have to put up with staff reports saying that “community meetings were held” on various topics, when in reality they have been have been poorly promoted and poorly attended?
There’s still a chance to meet council staff however – the next community consultation is on 28 April 2018, 10 am – 12 pm at the Clarrie Wohlers Senior Citizens Centre, 51 Albert Street, Brunswick East
Fleming Park and traffic
The Fleming Park Master Plan only looks at the landscaped areas bounded by Albert, Victoria and Cross streets. Any true strategic planning would look broader across the precinct, and make recommendations about the infrastructure that connects people to the park (i.e. pedestrian access from Lygon and Nicholson streets; how to manage the East Brunswick cycling shimmy which traverses the park; avoiding construction on the green open space by using nearby buildings outside the park that could provide the spaces required senior citizens, the Moreland City Band etc).
Given that most park users walk there, this narrow vision is especially noticeable in the discussion in the Master Plan about traffic management in surrounding streets.
The Fleming Park Master Plan states that “Albert Street is currently exceeding the maximum traffic volume recommended by the planning scheme. However while the existing and future traffic volumes exceed the technical theoretical capacity of the road, the extent of increase would be expected to be suitably accommodated by the surrounds.” (P 33 – emphasis added).
This does not make sense. If the recommended maximum traffic volume is currently being exceeded, traffic will only get worse around Fleming Park as new development projects feed traffic into residential streets near the park (such as the East Brunswick Village – just 50 metres from the park – with an estimated 10,000 vehicle movements a day). Beyond this, the population in Brunswick East is due to double in coming years.
So how will the increase “be suitably accommodated by the surrounds”? In light of subsequent recommendations in the master plan, this paragraph is just an excuse for council inaction, and should be deleted from the draft plan.
This is not a future problem. Resident surveys in Albert Street and Victoria Street conducted by the Brunswick Residents Network in 2011 and 2014 highlighted existing public concern over rat-running, problems with parking and hazards to cyclists and pedestrians.
The report suggests that “the projected increase in population in Brunswick East is likely to increase parking demand, which is projected to exceed the on-street car parking capacity by 2036” (P 33). Many local residents say that there are already significant problems in accessing on-street parking. It is unlikely to take another 18 years for “capacity be exceeded”.
The report goes on to make a recommendation to “prepare a comprehensive traffic and parking plan that considers but is not limited to: options the traffic calming on Cross, Victoria and Albert streets; creation of new loading drop-off zones and disabled parking spaces.”
However a lot of this work on traffic management was done five years ago, through the 2013 Brunswick Integrated Transport Strategy (BITS). As noted in our EBV story (above), the BITS made a series of recommendations five years ago on traffic calming around Fleming Park and the East Brunswick Village precinct. Most of the recommendations have not been acted on.
Five years later, why does the new Fleming Park Masterplan ignore work that’s sitting on the Council’s bookshelves? The 2013 BITS report was prepared by GTA Consultants – the same company who did the 2017 transport report for the Fleming Park Master Plan. How much is Council paying these people to do the same work time and time again? Planning is all well and good, but implementation is even better!
Expanding green open space
The new plan is a great opportunity to increase open space for Brunswick – in an area that is particularly short of parkland, and will be used more and more as the number of nearby apartment-dwellers accelerates.
So it’s astonishing to see that, at a time when Council recognises that we need more parks in Brunswick, the draft plan allocates space to the parking of private motor vehicles. There is some argument for disability parking spaces, and perhaps for drop-off delivery spaces, but these could be on the roadside, in a street alongside the park. If there is an argument for further car-parking spaces, they could similarly be located outside the park, perhaps with a meter to encourage walking.
The plan also has a large area set aside for a range of buildings and their surrounds. Do these buildings need to be on valuable park-land? If so, why can’t they be consolidated into one building, with a smaller footprint, rather than individual buildings each surrounded by pathways.
As residents debate the future of Fleming Park, there are diverse opinions about what should happen to the grandstand located next to the footy oval. The grandstand is presently fenced off and deemed unsafe for use. In our last newsletter, our parks correspondent argued: “Heritage buildings like the hall and grandstand need to be refurbished and adapted to host new types of activity that ensure they are well-utilised and cherished.”
Local resident Steve Dobney begs to differ! Here’s his feedback:
“Thanks for continuing to put out an excellent wrap-up of what’s going on in our locality. It is really useful to get this ‘behind the scenes’ information about the decisions that are being made which affect all Brunswick residents. That said, I’d like to politely disagree with your recent editorial remarks re the grandstand in Fleming Park
I’ve lived close to Fleming Park for 30+ years and spent countless hours there with kids and dogs over that time. With respect to those who see the grandstand as a piece of Brunswick heritage, I must disagree. It was always a cheaply built structure and is now a danger in many ways as well as any eyesore. In all my time in the area the grandstand itself has rarely been used, though the clubrooms underneath it were.
Spending money on refurbishing the grandstand would be a huge waste of taxpayer funds. Much less organised sport is played at Fleming Park these days and when there are games, viewers prefer to sit up close to the boundary rather than in a dank, dark grandstand far from the action. There is just no use for a grandstand any more, and there hasn’t been for decades.
Repurposing the grandstand is also not a viable option. I’m sure any architectural/engineering inspection would find that the current structure could not be made safe. So what’s left? Rebuild it entirely and just keep the sign? Even then, it would still spend most of its time locked up for security reasons. No. Its time has past, it needs to go.
With community buildings planned for the northwest corner of the park, the grandstand should be demolished to create more much-needed open space and/or some other facilities such as more BBQs and shade areas, exercise equipment or similar. Why be hobbled with something that will only ever be an expensive underutilised shed when we could have something that park users really need? Even just more grass!
I hope you’ll give an airing to “no grandstand” voices as the heritage mob. Cheers!”
** Car park or park?
The local residents group ‘Friends of Edward Street’ have been running a campaign since early 2012 to have part of the Edward-Dods Street car park (behind the Sydney Road shops) turned into a park.
Friends of Edward Street member Pia Herbert reports on latest developments:
Friends of Edward Street has started 2018 with a push on progressing our car park to park initiative – for the Edward-Dods Street car park. Our members met in January with Cr Mark Riley and council officers to discuss next steps on progressing this idea.
Our campaign has included having the site designated as a potential green space under the Open Space Strategy and Sydney Road and Upfield Corridor Urban design Strategic Framework Plan; supporting a motion put to Council in December 2014, by then Cr Sam Ratnam, seconded by Cr Lambros Tapinos and passed unanimously, to undertake a feasibility study into what would be needed to make this happen; submitting to a Planning Panel in February 2016 on implications of the Moreland Industrial Land-use Strategy (MILS) for the site, given it is designated as future green space in current council policies, including the recently endorsed Park Close to Home Strategy.
Ed’s Friends also ran two ‘park for a day’ events at the car park – enthusiastically supported by Council and local politicians – converting the asphalt with sandpits and greenery.
Given there has been no progress to date on beginning the study, our meeting in January was to clarify the status of the proposed study and what council now sees as the way forward with this initiative. Council officers have ongoing concerns about the legalities of removing car parking spaces acquired under a rating fee paid by traders between 1971 and 1986. However the big issue now is the likelihood that the current Sydney Road revitalisation project being led by VicRoads will bring an increased need for more parking sites off Sydney Road (for example, in the Edward-Dods St car park!)
While Ed’s Friends acknowledge importance of this revitalisation project and are in principle supportive of a safer Sydney Road for all, we want to ensure that the clearly stated need for green space in this area is not subsumed by the stated needs, particularly of traders, for car parking.
For further information, contact Pia Herbert on 0439 038 288
Friends of Edward Street Facebook page: (http:// http://www.facebook.com/friendsofedwardstreet) http://www.facebook.com/friendsofedwardstreet
** Democracy alert #1: “Smart planning”
The State Government and the developer lobby are quietly working on major changes to Victorian planning laws that will reduce community involvement in the planning process, to the benefit of corporate developers (who are a key source of financial donations to both major parties in Victoria).
They are pushing a new ‘Smart Planning’ program to create “expedited code assessment pathways”, and speed up the process to apply for a planning permit. Industry bodies argue that exempting “low-impact” and minor applications from notice and review requirements would “speed up the provision of housing density”. But this would limit residents’ notice and review rights, leading to inappropriate development occurring without adequate oversight.
A worrying feature is that the proposed changes will set a precedent that the involvement of elected councillors is NOT necessary for decisions to be made on planning permits. The “expedited” planning scheme may open up a variety of mechanisms, expanding the fast tracking of planning permits. It’s hard enough now to keep abreast of the permit applications in our neighbourhood – these changes risk even less transparency for an already complex system.
Moreland Council is already considering changes to the structure of the Urban Planning Committee meetings (see below) as part of its changes to the Local Law which governs meeting procedure. Council staff are also touting a “check list” scheme which would encourage – without community involvement – fast tracking of certain projects.
In January, State Planning Minister Richard Wynne approved the first amendment package (VC142) under sections 8 and 20(4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. This was gazetted on 16 January 2018 without any advertising of the detailed law changes (https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0022/92218/VC142-summary-of-changes.pdf) . The changes were instead flagged through the ‘smart planning’ consultation it did with the industry.
Last year, planning academic Michael Buxton argued (http://www.mrra.asn.au/archive1/arc1-planning/planning-state/smart-planning/Buxton%20Planning%20Victorian%20System%20Review%202017-1.pdf) this new scheme completes the privatisation of planning commenced by the Kennett government two decades ago: “Labor, under its new Smart Planning program, has issued tenders for the most fundamental change to the Victorian planning system since the 1996 introduction of the Victoria Planning Provisions. Tender documents show that the private sector will be contracted to develop a new model planning scheme which includes a new structure for the Victoria Planning Provisions and new content including revised zones, overlays and particular provisions.”
Buxton notes: “Community groups have been locked out of the entire Smart Planning process. Property and professional groups are represented on the technical reference and advisory groups for the program, but not residents.”
* Michael Buxton: Not so smart planning: Final planning privatisation (http://www.mrra.asn.au/archive1/arc1-planning/planning-state/smart-planning/Buxton%20Planning%20Victorian%20System%20Review%202017-1.pdf) , Planning News, Volume 43 Issue 2 (March 2017)
In October 2017, the State Government issued ‘Reforming the Victoria Planning Provisions – A Discussion Paper.’ Over 250 submissions (https://engage.vic.gov.au/application/files/5315/2168/3801/G000295_Reforming_the_Victoria_Planning_Provisions_Report_FINAL.pdf) were received in response to the discussion paper, with a summary outlining a diverse range of concerns. Many residents associations have expressed concerns “that merging state and local policy may result in the loss or weakening of local policy, as it responds to the unique characteristics of an area.” Regional and metropolitan councils expressed concern about losing their ability to tailor controls to suit their local context, rather than using ‘one-size-fits-all’ planning controls.
Next month, the first release of the State Government’s online planning scheme system will be launched, which will allow councils to prepare, pay for, lodge and track their planning scheme amendments online.
By the middle of 2018, the website http://www.planning.vic.gov.au will be a one-stop-shop for digital planning schemes, enhanced digital maps, property reports, and several new online permit applications. According to the Smart Planning website, “an amendment that will introduce reforms to the Victoria Planning Provisions, taking into account feedback received through consultation, is expected to be gazetted in mid-2018.”
Given this is an election year, will further Smart Planning changes be rushed through, limiting residents’ notice and review rights?
As Buxton notes, “if future stages are to radically change the system, then the government is hiding its intentions, locking out community groups from the process, and intends to present the public with a fait accompli.”
Time to ask any aspiring candidates for the state seat of Brunswick whether they support resident involvement in the planning process!
** Democracy alert #2: Question time threatened
A couple of years ago Moreland Council gave up rotating monthly meetings to different sites around the municipality. Today, for “efficiency”, you must traipse up to Coburg to watch the regular public meeting of councillors.
Now, Moreland Council is proposing significant changes to its Meeting Procedure Local Law, which governs conduct at their monthly meeting, in Draft Meeting Procedure Local Law 2018 (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/globalassets/areas/governance/proposed-meeting-procedure-local-law—for-consultation.pdf) .
Many of the proposed changes are codifying sensible practice (such as provisions on the election of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor and new clauses on the Deputy’s role). However other proposed changes will weaken the democratic components of the Council meetings and reduce resident involvement.
Some proposed changes include:
* The existing Urban Planning Committee meetings will be replaced by ‘Meetings Designated for Planning and Related Matters’.
* The proposed local law removes the existing opportunity for Councillors to introduce agenda items under ‘General Business’. This change is supposed “to address of the lack of transparency around these decisions”. In reality, it effectively means that Councillors will no longer be able to raise urgent new agenda items, without Council staff vetting them.
* ‘Public Question Time’ – often the liveliest democratic space in Council’s monthly meeting – will be streamlined “to assist the flow of the meeting”. This includes a requirement that a question asked by a resident must be written in full and that each question must be asked in just one minute. Questions can be disallowed by the Mayor. No questions directed at an individual Councillor or member of Council staff will be allowed.
* The public question time will be limited to no more than 30 minutes, unless Council resolves to extend it by no more than an additional 30 minutes – but this second half hour can only discuss items on the Council agenda. A maximum of two questions is allowed per person, but the second question must wait until other speakers have had a go (given the usual queue of speakers at Council meetings, this means the second question will never be heard!)
* Public question time will be included at every Ordinary Meeting “not designated for Planning and Related Matters.” At planning meetings, “Council may suspend standing orders to hear from a community member or representative of an organisation on matters of significance to the Council”, BUT “only if prior arrangements have been made by written request to the Mayor or Chief Executive Officer.”
* Changes will permit the Chief Executive Officer to reject a notice of motion from a Councillor under specified circumstances.
* New provisions allow the Mayor to direct a person, other than a Councillor, to stop interjecting; and if the person continues interjecting, to direct their removal from the Meeting
* The local law now makes it an offence, with penalties, for a Councillor not to withdraw an expression and apologise when directed by the Chairperson to do so; for any person to fail to remove an item when ordered by the Chairperson to do so; and for any person (other than a Councillor) to fail to leave the Council Chamber when requested by the Chairperson to do so.
* The existing clause on ‘Issues and Discussion Workshops’, (where Council staff and councillors meet privately to discuss pending issues) will be deleted “to provide Council with greater flexibility when conducting them.”
Clause 20(4) states that “An Agenda for each Council Meeting will be made available on Council’s website no less than 24 hours before the Council Meeting.” Currently the agenda is available by Friday of the preceding week, for Wednesday meetings. How can residents look at the hundreds of pages of the agenda, consult with their neighbours, seek further information or lobby their Councillors with such limited time frame?
The full changes are set out in a community impact statement (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/globalassets/areas/governance/meeting-procedure-local-law-community-impact-statement.pdf) on the new Meeting Procedure Local Law
Written submissions giving your views on these changes must be made by 5 pm on Tuesday 15 May 2018. Details are on this Council webpage. (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-us/have-your-say/consultations/meeting-procedure-local-law/)
** Prada in the Park
This billboard has sparked rumours that the new Fleming Park Masterplan will introduce bylaw 367 (b) (i), requiring anyone walking a dog in the park to wear a miniskirt and pick up doggy doo in a Prada clasp purse.
Actually, it’s advertising for the latest Lygon Street apartment tower “Finery”, on the corner of Lygon and Albert streets.
The Pedders shock absorber and suspension workshop is being demolished and replaced by an exclusive, high price complex for a new breed of dogs and people.
It seems that hipsters will soon be replaced by a better class of Rolex-wearing, Prada-toting folk.
But with Moreland Council removing requirements for car parking within the proposed Finery complex, we’re not sure where they’ll park the Jag.
** Progress on trees for Albert Street
After a community meeting in February, Moreland Council Open Space planner Alex English has been working with residents in Albert Street, Brunswick to design a plan for tree plantings along the street.
A draft plan for plantings between Sydney Road and Nicholson Street is being prepared, and will be presented at the next community meeting on 16 May. If you live, work or cycle in the area, come along and give your feedback.
WHAT: Community meeting on trees for Albert Street
WHEN: Wednesday 16 May, 6.30pm – 7.30pm
WHERE: Clarrie Wohlers Senior Citizens Centre, 51 Albert Street, Brunswick East
INFO: Open Space Unit on 8311 4387 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (mailto:)
KEEP IN TOUCH: For more detailed updates, join the e-list of residents supporting the tree-planting (http://eepurl.com/dmgBiH )
** Cycling news
Cycling road deaths
Transport Accident Commission (TAC) statistics recorded an increase in the number of cyclist deaths of 160 per cent per year in the 12 month period to February 2018. This represents 13 Victorian lives lost. The overall trend of road fatalities was down 4.1 per cent during the same period.
Local bike groups are encouraging all road users to sign a petition to the Victorian Parliament, which would reverse onus of proof in crashes involving “vulnerable road users”.
Instead of the TAC assuming the cyclist or pedestrian at fault in crashes with motor vehicles, the first assumption would be that the motorist is at fault and must demonstrate that they were not. This would bring Victoria in line with European practice.
The ‘Civil Compensation’ electronic petition can be found on the Legislative Council website – E-petition Number 58 (https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/council/petitions/electronic-petitions/view-e-petitions/details/12/69) .
Extend the Upfield Bike Path to Upfield!
Currently, the Upfield Bike Path doesn’t go to Upfield!
At a time that VicRoads and the State government Level Crossing Removal Authority are fixing level crossings, you’d think they’d make appropriate provision to link Brunswick to the north on a safe bike path.
But VicRoads has been negligent in failing to provide any safe, legal, direct north safe cycling routes as an alternative to using the Hume Highway (Sydney Road) at Campbellfield while replacing the Camp Road crossing. Worse, VicRoads apparently have no plans whatsoever for the Upfield Bike path past the M80 ring Road.
An extended Upfield bike path would offers a major arterial cycle link from Hume onto Moreland, given our northern neighbour has a high rate of car dependency and extremely poor cycling rate and cycling infrastructure. We need to think beyond our council boundaries in this regard: the more people we can help to cycle in Hume will help reduce traffic congestion in Moreland.
The Level Crossing Removal Authority should have built the Upfield Bicycle path extension as part of the Camp Road Level Crossing Removal, as specified under Section 1.7 of the Transport Department policy document: the Victorian Bicycle Strategy 2018 – 2028. Hume Council and others requested this work. It wasn’t done.
A new campaign group has been established to ‘Extend the Upfield Bike Path to Upfield.’
The City of Hume Council has passed a motion advocating for the extension of the Bike Path from the Western Ring Road Path, and cycling groups in the inner north are beginning to advocate for action. In support, Moreland Council has unanimously passed a motion calling on the State government authorities to act, recognising the need for the Upfield Bike Path extension.
You can find more information on the ‘Extend the Upfield Bike Path to Upfield’ campaign by contacting Campaign Co-ordinator John Englart on: 0408 536 733 or through these links:
* Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ExtendUpfieldBikePath/
* Website: https://upfieldbikepath.wordpress.com/
** Cooling the Upfield Corridor
Over the past year, Moreland Council has been developing a plan to reduce the impacts of urban heat and reduce surface temperatures within the Upfield Corridor (the area along the train-line). The draft action plan is now available for the community to view.
On 2 May, Council staff will display the plan at Wilson Avenue in Brunswick (near Jewell Station) where you can give your feedback or ask any questions.
WHAT: Display of Cooling the Upfield Corridor Action Plan
WHEN: Wednesday 02 May 2018, 3 – 5 pm
WHERE: Wilson Avenue Public Space, corner Sydney Road and Wilson Ave, Brunswick
INFO: Council webpage (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-us/projects/environmental-projects/cooling-the-upfield-corridor/)
** Culture corner: yarns, films and a Timor dinner
Moreland Yarning Circle
Moreland Reconciliation Initiative is organising a Yarning Circle – a morning of engaging and thoughtful storytelling and conversation with respected Aboriginal community members living or working in and around the City of Moreland.
The storytellers include Professor Mark Rose (Gunditjmara Nation of Western Victoria), Sue Lopez-Atkinson (Yorta Yorta) and Liz Phillips, Koorie Community Engagement Officer at Merri Community Health Services in Coburg. This event takes place on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation.
WHAT: Moreland Reconciliation Initiative
WHEN: Saturday 21 April 2018 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
WHERE: Siteworks – Community Room 1, 33 Saxon Street, Brunswick
RESERVATIONS: Book here (https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/moreland-yarning-circle-tickets-43019756249)
Sydney Road Short Film Competition
The Sydney Road Brunswick Association Short Film Competition is a biennial event where talented filmmakers experiment with different genres, develop their skills and provide a great night out for all with creative storytelling techniques.
Come along on Tuesday 24 April to view the entries for this year’s Sydney Road Short Film Competition. Three expert judges sort through entries to determine finalists to be screened at a ‘Grand Final’ event on Friday 27 April at the Brunswick Mechanics Institute (270 Sydney Road). This event is free. Food and drinks available (M15+ – Films contain strong language and scenes of drug use).
WHAT: Sydney Road Short Film Competition
WHEN: First screening: Tuesday 24 April, 7 pm / Finals: Friday 27 April, 7pm
WHERE: First screening: Biff Tannin’s, U5/601 Sydney Road, Brunswick
Finals: Brunswick Mechanics Institute, 270 Sydney Road (corner Dawson St)
CONTACT: Claire, Sydney Road Brunswick Association, Phone: 9380 2005
Friends of Aileu Annual Dinner
Through Friends of Aileu, Moreland residents have long supported community development initiatives in Timor-Leste. Come along to this year’s Friends of Aileu Annual Dinner and Forum, with a three course buffet meal catered by Sabores de Timor (Flavours of Timor).
All funds raised will support community development initiatives of the Aileu Resource and Training Centre. There are guest speakers including Jose Pires on ‘East Timorese Culture: A Personal Perspective’ and Antoninho (Chico) dos Santos on ‘Aileu’s Unsung Heroes of Independence’
WHAT: Friends of Aileu Annual Dinner
WHEN: Friday 11 May 2018, 7 – 11pm
WHERE: Brunswick Town Hall, 233 Sydney Road, Brunswick
COST: Tickets $40 / $20 (concession) BYOG
CONTACT: Chris Adams, East Timor Project Officer, Mobile: 0475 954 068 or email: email@example.com (mailto:)
** 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 normally held at: Council Chamber, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg. Council meetings are on:
* Tuesday 24 April at 6 pm – Proposed 2018-19 Budget, Strategic Resource Plan and Rates Strategy.
* Wednesday 9 May 2018 at 7pm
Check for all meeting details at the Council website (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-council/council-and-committee-meetings.html) . Council meetings can now be watched online, either live, or later – you can find details here (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-council/council-and-committee-meetings/council-meetings/agenda-next-council-meeting.html) 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 local councillors:
Mobile: 0499 807044
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (mailto:email@example.com)
Mobile: 0433 419 075
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (mailto:email@example.com)
Mobile: 0419 560 055
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (mailto:email@example.com)
** MAILING LIST AND FURTHER INFORMATION
Welcome to new readers! To contact organisers of the Brunswick Residents’ Network, or to offer help with future activities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org (mailto:email@example.com) . (This gmail is our preferred address, rather than replying to this email).
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For meeting details, survey and newsletter archives, go to: https://brunswickresidents.wordpress.com
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