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** Mirabella, major projects, & VCAT rulings ———————————————————— If you’ve driven north along Lygon Street, Brunswick, you can’t miss the Mirabella showroom just before Glenlyon Road, full of chandeliers, bold and brassy beds and furniture. Now Mirabella owners are seeking a planning permit for an 8-storey tower with 78 apartments, four retail shops and two levels of underground car-parking (permit application MPS/2018/202). This proposal breaches numerous Council policies on setbacks, heritage and height levels – the height of the building is three storeys more than proposed in the Brunswick Structure Plan, with balconies and a proposed roof garden overlooking and overshadowing properties in Warburton Street (a small road running parallel to Lygon street behind the site). The proposed plans do not meet the required setbacks from the adjoining single-storey heritage housing. The picture shows view from Warburton Street side. On current plans, cars will exit the underground parking through Christopher Lane and land at 12 Warburton Street. The project’s traffic report estimates there will be one vehicle movement every 90 seconds along Warburton Street! This will create significant pressures on this quiet, heritage registered street, and pump cars onto Glenlyon Road just near the Minnie Street/Ewing Street intersections, which are a major north-south cycling and pedestrian route.
While well placed to meet Moreland Council’s commitment to high density housing, located next to Lygon Street trams, this type of project highlights all that’s wrong with current planning processes. The lack of mandatory control in the Brunswick Major Activity Centre makes a mockery of planning policy, with developers lodging ambit claims and then often going to VCAT when they fail to gain a planning permit from Council. Moreland Council has also created a rod for its own back, as Council staff have repeatedly recommended permits for buildings along Lygon Street that breach policies set out in the Moreland Planning Scheme (e.g. on height, setbacks or heritage). This allows VCAT to ignore resident and neighbourhood pleas to abide by longstanding policy, given the precedent set by previous buildings.
In other recent VCAT cases: Mostafa v Moreland CC  VCAT 1037 (4 July 2018) (http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2018/1037.html) : VCAT rejects a proposal for a six-storey building at 708 Sydney Road concluding “that the proposal to reduce the provision of car parking to zero for this development is unacceptable and. …the layout and design of the light wells and apartments fail to provide acceptable outcomes when tested against the scheme’s provisions.” 1-7 Wilson Avenue Developer Pty Ltd v Moreland CC  VCAT 917 (16 July 2018) (http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2018/917.html) : VCAT approves the construction of an eight-storey building (plus basement) accommodating shops, offices, dwellings and associated car parking at 1-7 Wilson Avenue, Brunswick.
** Feature: Traffic and transport ———————————————————— traffic cartoon
Moreland Council has developed a draft Moreland Integrated Traffic Strategy (MITS). This policy document will set the framework for investment in traffic, cycling and transport infrastructure over the next ten years in our municipality. You have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to comment on proposed policy on transport, traffic and parking – but only until the end of the August. It’s also a crucial time to have your say over proposed changes to trams and traffic in Nicholson Street and Sydney Road, to address the often competing interests of trams, cyclists, car drivers and pedestrians in these overcrowded arterial roads. Moreland Integrated Traffic Strategy (MITS) Moreland’s transport strategy for the next 10 years is now out for discussion. Council has released the draft Moreland Integrated Transport Strategy (MITS) and accompanying Parking Strategy, with community submissions due by 31 August. With key focus points being sustainability, liveability and health, there appears to be a positive focus on prioritising walking, bike-riding and public transport. But the proof of the pudding will be in the eating – the report admits that implementation is the key, acknowledging that this is where previous strategies fell down.
Residents now have two more weeks to read and comment on the detail of the 200-page document and its accompanying parking strategy. We urge all newsletter readers to do so! BRN welcomes the core commitment expressed in the draft MITS towards mode shift, the prioritisation of cycling, walking and public transport and “ways to reduce our reliance on the ownership (and use) of cars.”
We welcome that the draft MITS has introduced innovative solutions to traffic management that have long been ignored or downplayed by Moreland Council staff (such as the proposal in 2.5.1 to “Close roads to through traffic in strategic locations whilst maintaining pedestrian and cyclist permeability to create places for people.”) Despite the many positives in the draft MITS transport and parking strategies, there are still a number of areas of concern. Given such a wide ranging strategy, there is a need for more explicit direction on how priorities will be set, how the community will be informed and involved and how the strategy will be rolled out. There are still significant gaps in the strategy about: community engagement, transparency in setting priorities to implement the strategy; the need for precinct or “horizon” traffic planning; and mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation of outcomes.
We’re also stunned at the censorship of the draft document, with councillors voting last month to remove evidence that could inform the debate over lower speed limits in residential streets (see story below). In July, BRN invited MITS project manager Alex Sheko to a public meeting to outline key elements of the strategy (thanks to Alex for his contribution to the debate on such a detailed strategy). The following week, BRN members and interested residents held a follow-up meeting to prepare a detailed submission to go to Council – we hope to have our final submission up on the BRN website soon, and hope you’ll send in your own comments to Council before 5pm on Friday 31 August. For background to the MITS, copies of the draft strategies, and an online form to submit your own comments, see the Council’s webpage (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-us/projects/transport-and-parking-projects/transport-strategy/) .
Why won’t Moreland councillors allow us to discuss 30kph? In one of their silliest decisions in a long time, Moreland Councillors voted to censor the draft Moreland Integrated Traffic Strategy (MITS) before it went out to community consultation, removing action proposals that would consider 30kph speed limits in some residential streets. Moreland councillors voted to release the draft for discussion. However five councillors (Crs Carli Hannan; Davidson; Irfanli; Kavanagh; Tapinos) voted to delete two specific action points about 30kph limits in the new 10-year transport plan, against the vote of three Greens councillors (Riley, Dorney and Martin) and socialist Sue Bolton. A pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle is at least twice as likely to survive if the vehicle is travelling at 30km/h instead of 40km/h. However the strong evidence base for these changes has been edited out of the final draft.
The deleted action points were: • Action 3.1.1 Progressively reduce speed limits to 30kph on local roads . . . starting in the south of Moreland • Action 3.1.2 Advocate for the continued reduction of speed limits on arterial roads, especially near schools, hospitals, activity centres, transport interchanges, pedestrian areas and along cycling corridors. As a community service, we’ve presented the censored material on our BRN website (https://brunswickresidents.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/speed-limit-actions-and-evidence-in-mits-as-presented-tocouncil-2108-07-11.pdf) , and we call on Council to put it back into the final document: Some car drivers may well resist the push for lower speed limits in residential streets, but don’t councillors trust residents and ratepayers to look at the evidence and decide for themselves?
The ALP and Greens have competing agendas as they battle for the seat of Brunswick in the looming state elections and this factional warfare on Council is a sorry symptom of this. In marked contrast, neighbouring Yarra City Council will soon be trialling a 30kph speed limit in a pocket of Fitzroy and Collingwood – the first council in Australia to trial the reduced area-wide speed limit. Yarra’s trial starts in late September and will run for 12 months in the neighbourhood residential streets bordered by Alexandra Parade, Johnston Street, Hoddle Street and Nicholson Street (These arterial roads and other thoroughfares like Brunswick Street and Smith Street are not included in the trial). Ninety per cent of crashes in the area have involved pedestrians, cyclists or motorbike riders, and research shows that people have a much better chance of escaping serious injury if vehicles travel more slowly. You can find out more about the Yarra trial from the “Thanks for 30 (https://thanksfor30.com.au/) ’ website. * 30km/h speed zone to be enforced in Melbourne’s inner north, The Age, 8 August 2018 (https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/30km-h-speed-zone-to-be-enforced-in-melbourne-s-inner-north-20180807-p4zw0s.html)
Proposed changes to parking
Along with the MITS, Moreland Council is also proposing significant changes to parking policy. They are proposing to introduce parking restrictions in and around the major activity centres in Brunswick to prioritise on-street parking for existing residents, and ensure future residents and others, such as commuters, can’t park on the street. They also intend to use more paid parking in the future. Draft Moreland Car Parking Strategy (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/globalassets/areas/transport/draft-parking-strategy.pdf) Under the new Parking Strategy, Council is proposing changes in Major Activity Centres (essentially along Sydney Road, Lygon Street and Nicholson Street),:
* Minimum rates for parking in new developments removed and replaced with a maximum rate instead. This will slow the growth of cars in the busiest areas as they grow. * Parking restrictions to be introduced on both sides of streets. This will prioritise on-street parking for residents who are eligible for parking permits, to exempt them from timed restrictions.
* Residents in new developments will not be eligible for parking permits and can only park in accordance with restrictions (e.g. 2P). In residential areas surrounding the Major Activity Centres:
* No changes to the minimum rates for parking in new developments.
* Parking restrictions to be introduced on both sides of streets. This will prioritise on-street parking for residents who are eligible for parking permits to exempt them from timed restrictions. * Residents in new developments will not be eligible for parking permits and can only park in accordance with restrictions (e.g. 2P). These changes are based on a growing academic debate over access to parking. As RMIT researcher Elizabeth Taylor has noted: “Conventional policy approaches combine largely free on-street parking (seen as a public right) with minimum requirements for off-street parking in new developments. Researchers argue a flaw of this approach is that free on-street parking makes off-street requirements an imperfect response.”
* Elizabeth Taylor: Empty car parks everywhere, but nowhere to park. How cities can do better, The Conversation, 20 July 2018 (https://theconversation.com/empty-car-parks-everywhere-but-nowhere-to-park-how-cities-can-do-better-99031) * Elizabeth Taylor: The elephant in the planning scheme: how cities still work around the dominance of parking space, The Conversation, 29 January 2018 (https://theconversation.com/the-elephant-in-the-planning-scheme-how-cities-still-work-around-the-dominance-of-parking-space-87098) * For more information on who is eligible for a parking permit, you can use this interactive map (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-us/projects/transport-and-parking-projects/transport-strategy/mits-consultation-map/) to see how your house or business is affected.
Leaked plans for Sydney Road reforms
For nearly two years, the State Government has run a working group to look at proposals for traffic in Sydney Road, addressing the need for faster public transport movement, safety for cyclists and the possible removal of parking to free up vehicle movement. The work has been undertaken behind closed doors, involving Sydney Road traders, Moreland Council, VicRoads, Yarra Trams, the Bicycle Network and the RACV (as usual, there is no resident representation, hampering input from people who actually live near and walk or shop along Sydney Road). Bicycle Network participated in the design workshops, but undertook not to reveal or comment on the work until the public consultation phase was underway. A number of different options to improve Sydney Road were due to go to public consultation later this year. But The Age newspaper has now revealed some details of confidential concept documents prepared by Transport for Victoria, which include options for bike lanes instead of on-street car parking.
* Cyclists could get lane on Sydney Road under leaked proposal, The Age, 30 July 2018 (https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/cyclists-could-get-lane-on-sydney-road-under-leaked-proposal-20180728-p4zu5m.html) According to The Age: “The most radical design put forward by the department would see Sydney Road permanently reduced to a single lane for trams and cars. Parking would be removed from the remaining second lane and given over to cyclists, with enough space for two cyclists to ride side by side. Concrete humps would be installed along the bike lane. The footpath would be extended, allowing for trees, street furniture and on-street trading, and a median strip built to make it easier for pedestrians to cross. “A hybrid option backed by the traders’ Sydney Road Brunswick Association and lobby group Revitalise Sydney Road would give cyclists exclusive access to the second lane but only during peak hour when the lane is already a clearway. Outside of these periods, parking would be permitted. A narrow bike lane would be marked out in paint between parked cars and the traffic lane, with some physical separation built at key conflict points.”
Research into shopping patterns in Sydney Road and other inner Melbourne tram streets shows – contrary to the long-held belief of traders – that most of their customers do not use cars. Many of the car spaces in and around Sydney Road are used by traders and staff, not customers. There’s also plenty of overseas research showing that business can improve after the introduction of bike lanes on busy commercial shopping strips, despite trader concerns about the loss of on-street parking. For links to many North American examples, check these articles: * “How Bike Lanes Benefit Businesses (https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2018/5/31/how-bike-lanes-benefit-businesses) ” * “From parking spaces to bike lanes: 10 ways cities can win the fight (https://peopleforbikes.org/blog/10-ways-cities-can-win-the-fight-to-upgrade-parking-spaces-to-bike-lanes/) ” * Bicycle Network: TfV ponders Sydney Road upgrades, 2 August 2018 (https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/newsroom/2018/08/02/tfv-ponders-sydney-road-upgrades/)
To discuss current proposals for Brunswick, the campaign group Revitalise Sydney Road will hold a meeting on Tuesday 21 August to update supporters on what’s been happening over the last two years. WHAT: Revitalise Sydney Road information night WHEN: Tuesday 21 August, 6:15pm WHERE: Siteworks, 33 Saxon Street Brunswick INFO: Revitalise Sydney Road http://www.sydneyroad.org/
Bike lanes for Nicholson Street?
Tram route 96 – which leaves from the Blyth street terminus and passes through Brunswick along Nicholson Street – has some of the highest patronage figures in Melbourne’s tram network. In recent years, the route has been running with low-floor trams. Now, starting in September, Public Transport Victoria (PTV) and Yarra Trams will begin works to improve tram stops for the Route 96 tram. Three existing tram stops on Nicholson Street between Brunswick Road and Blyth Street will be upgraded to ‘easy access stops.’ As part of the current project, 72 parking spaces will be removed from Nicholson Street to allow the wider stops to the introduced. In PTV’s ‘community consultation’ on Route 96 upgrade, most people welcomed the new easy access stops and the removal of parking spaces – but there were no questions about cycling! * PTV Summary of community consultation on Route 96 upgrade (https://static.ptv.vic.gov.au/PTV/PTV%20docs/Projects/1529651730/PTVH2803-Nicholson-Street-Upgrade-2018_Flyer_A4_v4.pdf) Currently there is no designated cycling infrastructure along Nicholson Street. Moreland Council’s preferred north-south bicycling route in the area is the East Brunswick shimmy, along a series of local roads and parks parallel to Nicholson Street. However the shimmy is currently facing problems, with traffic from the huge East Brunswick Village project likely to disrupt safe riding along John Street, as cyclists exit Fleming Park. Council’s refusal to act on the recommendations of the 2013 Brunswick Integrated Transport Strategy (BITS) – to establish 10kph shared zones and traffic calming around Fleming Park and East Brunswick Village to slow traffic in this crucial open space – make a mockery of the supposed priority given to the shimmy. As PTV introduces new tram stops on Nicholson Street, Moreland traffic staff have argued “there is insufficient room to provide dedicated bicycle facilities, such as bicycle lanes, etc on Nicholson Street. However PTV provided designs provide the 3.7 metres wide kerbside lanes at the tram stops, which is the minimum requirement from VicRoads for wide kerbside lane for cyclists.” Council officers instead recommended to the last two Council meetings that instead of a dedicated bike lane, bicycle ‘sharrows’, or shared lane line marking be introduced at the start and mid-point of each easy access tram stop and at regular intervals of 200 metres along Nicholson Street. This staff recommendation was rejected by councillors at the August 2018 Council meeting, who then carried a motion stating that Moreland Council “will not support the Route 96 improvement project until there is provision made in the design for a dedicated cycle lane”, and that Council “seek proposals from Public Transport Victoria and VicRoads for the provision of a dedicated cycle lane in the design.” Rather than street by street plans, BRN believes that Moreland Council needs urgently to develop a neighbourhood ‘precinct’ traffic plan for this area of Brunswick East. It could start by publicly releasing all the audits for pedestrian and cyclist safety recommended in the 2013 BITS report – we assume they’ve all been completed in the last five years! Public Transport Victoria – Route 96 Upgrade (https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/projects/tram-projects/route-96-upgrade/) Road safety for secondary students Melbourne Museum will soon launch a great initiative, to support education on road safety for secondary students. Road to Zero will be launched on 1 December and will roll out for students during 2019. The project draws upon decades of research by the Traffic Accident Commission (TAC), and is co-created with practicing teachers. It’s part of broader efforts to reduce road trauma in pre-learner drivers, helping young road users make safe decisions. School groups going to Road to Zero will go through “an immersive and exploratory gallery showcasing the latest in multi-sensory interactive technologies”, and a curriculum-linked program in the purpose-built studio space. * YouTube: Road to Zero experience in the Melbourne Museum (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3rldBo_I6U&feature=youtu.be) * About Road to Zero (https://museumsvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/learning/school-programs-and-resources/road-to-zero-road-safety-experience/)
** Have your say on Siteworks future ———————————————————— In recent months, Moreland Council has been conducting a re-design of the community facilities at Siteworks, the multi-use community facility at 33 Saxon Street, Brunswick. Now, between15 August to 5 September, there’s a chance to comment on the formal Concept Plan, which will be presented to Council for adoption next December. Council staff will hold two public drop-in sessions at 33 Saxon Street on Thursday 30 August (6-8pm) and on Saturday 1 September (10 to 12 noon) , where you can look at three different options for the site. You can also visit the Service Centre at the Brunswick Town Hall. The concepts will be available for viewing here, and surveys available to fill out. * View the options on the Council website (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-us/projects/community-space-projects/33-saxon-street-brunswick/) , and write in your responses Through the concept development, this project has explored options of the Brunswick Neighbourhood House being a future tenant at 33 Saxon Street. BRN encourages residents to take a look at proposals for this excellent community space (it’s important to preserve green open space in the gardens, and ensure that Council staff don’t shift too many services from the overcrowded Brunswick Town Hall, leaving limited open-access facilities for local community organisations).
** Culture, Community . . . and a poo joke ———————————————————— Pictured right: Brunswick 2018 protest poster. Thanks to Urban Happiness Facebook Group for sharing . Melbourne 1945 and now To understand how Melbourne has evolved over past decades, there’s a really interesting interactive site, with photographic overlays of Melbourne in 1945 and Melbourne today Check out your neighbourhood at: Melbourne 1945 and now (https://1945.melbourne/) CERES Fair Wood CERES – Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies, is an award winning, not-for-profit, sustainability centre, built on a 10 acre, decommissioned municipal tip on the banks of the Merri Creek, in East Brunswick. Now there’s another social enterprise arising from the environmental centre: CERES Fair Wood. This is a social enterprise acting as a broker between Australian farm foresters, small local saw millers and environmentally conscious consumers. Fair Wood provides a market for salvaged timber and trees purposefully planted on farms for timber production (they do not accept timber harvested from farm clearing operations). If you’re after timber – for fences, decking, landscaping, cladding or more – that’s sourced ethically and transparently, contact the enterprise at the CERES Environment Park WHAT: CERES Fair Wood WHERE: Scout Hall, Jacobs Reserve, Jolley Street, Brunswick East CONTACT: +61 (03) 9389 0195 or email email@example.com (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org ) INFO: http://ceresfairwood.org.au Local authors Local authors Mark Brandi (Wimmera), Sarah Schmidt (See what I have done) and Favel Parrett (When the night comes) will chat about their novels at a forum at Brunswick library on Wednesday 12 September WHAT: A trio of local authors WHEN: Wednesday 12 September, 7.45pm WHERE: Brunswick Library, Dawson Street near Sydney Road INFO AND REGISTRATION: Moreland Library (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/read-more) Moreland Toy Library Here’s a chance to recycle old toys and borrow from a collection of hundreds of quality toys for your young tackers. You can become a member of the Moreland Toy Library for an annual fee ($67 a year for up to 3 toys at a time). Toys suitable for children up to 6 years old can be borrowed for up to 2 weeks. The south ward branch of the toy library is at the Jacobs Reserve Scout Hall in Jolley Street, Brunswick West. WHAT: Moreland Toy Library WHEN: Fridays from 9.30-11.30 and Saturdays from 9.30-12.00 WHERE: Scout Hall, Jacobs Reserve, Jolley Street, Brunswick West INFO AND REGISTRATION: Moreland Toy Library (http://www.morelandtoylibrary.org.au) Brunswick Neighbourhood House Courses starting in September include: * CPR- An accredited course held on Wednesday 5th Sept 9.30-12.30 pm * Provide First Aid – An accredited 2 day workshop commencing Wed 5th & 12th September 9.30-4.30 pm * Follow Basic Food Practises- An accredited course held on Wednesday 17th Oct To enrol phone 9386 9418
** Local Facebook groups ———————————————————— There are lots of useful groups around – here are just a few. Send us your favourites! Brunswick Good Karma Network (https://www.facebook.com/groups/brunswickgoodkarmanetwork/) (lots of swaps and sharing information) Brunswick Events (https://www.facebook.com/groups/126935201300245/) (self-explanatory) Brunswick Business and Residents (https://www.facebook.com/groups/838968086309222/) – we owe the manager of this new page a bit thanks for changing their name from one very similar to ours! Don’t forgetBrunswick Residents Network (https://www.facebook.com/Brunswick.Residents.Network) Facebook Page: Today we are hosting a discussion about the Ewing Street upgrade, the previous topic was Mirabella . . .
** Next Moreland Council meetings ———————————————————— All Council meetings – held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month – are normally held at: Council Chamber, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street*, Coburg. Coming Council meetings are on: * Wednesday 12 September 2018 * Monday 24 September 2018 at 6 pm (Consider Draft Annual Report) * Wednesday 10 October 2018 * Monday 29 October 2018 Ceremonial Meeting (Tentative) * Wednesday 14 November 2018 * Wednesday 12 December 2018 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 ———————————————————— Mark Riley Mobile: 0499 807044 Email: email@example.com (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) Lambros Tapinos Mobile: 0433 419 075 Email: email@example.com (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) Jess Dorney Mobile: 0419 560 055 Email: email@example.com (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
** 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 email@example.com (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) . (This gmail is our preferred address, rather than replying to this 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 http://eepurl.com/VX4a9.