December 2018 newsletter

Here’s our December e-news – apologies for delay in posting here (it was emailed a couple of weeks ago) but the items are all still current and will provide some holiday reading!

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Feature: East Brunswick Village

 

 

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Greens take Brunswick

Victoria’s state elections were held on 24 November. If you’ve given up following parliamentary politics, you may be the last to know that the ALP has lost the state seat of Brunswick! Congratulations to Tim Read of the Australian Greens, who won the seat.

In the final two-party preferred result, Tim won 22,215 votes (50.57%) to the ALP’s Cindy O’Connor, with 21,712 votes (40.43%).

According to Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) results, the Australian Greens won a majority in polling booths in the south of the municipality, especially around Brunswick East and Brunswick (the booths of Blyth; Brunswick East; Brunswick North; Brunswick North West; Brunswick South; Edward (i.e. Town Hall); Glen Nichol; and Moreland). The ALP won a majority further north and west in the district. There were a few exceptions: see links below if you want to peruse results in detail.

In the upper house (Legislative Council) for the Northern Metropolitan Region, the five elected candidates were Jenny Mikakos and Nazih Elasmar (ALP), Samantha Ratnam (Australian Greens), Craig Ondarchie (Liberal) and Fiona Patten (Fiona Patten’s Reason Party)

A notable feature of the seat is that there were nearly 10 per cent more people voting in Brunswick District compared to the previous election. A significant part of this increase comes from increasing numbers of people moving in to Brunswick East. This trend will continue, given the massive number of new apartments constructed in projects like East Brunswick Village (see story below). But the VEC may move boundaries to balance numbers between electorates.

Thanks to all those people who participated in the well-attended Brunswick Residents Network candidates’ forum, featuring four candidates: Cindy O’Connor (Labor), Tim Read (Greens), George Georgiou (Independent) and Catherine Deveny (Reason).

Brunswick Residents Network looks forward to working with our new MP (along with members and supporters of all political parties) to address common issues of concern!

Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC):  

 

 

 

Action needed on Michael Street flooding

As heavy rain and flash flooding lashes Melbourne, spare a thought for residents in Michael Street and Saxon Street, Brunswick. In the last five years, the Otto apartment building on Michael Street has been flooded at least seven times. Poor drainage and ancient infrastructure is exacerbated by new developments increasing the proportion of hard surfaces, and global warming (this week appearing to bring us tropical downpours). The area has no flood overlay in the planning scheme.

On Melbourne Cup Day this year, a torrential downpour caused a short flash flood that was strong enough to lift the cover off a drain. A man in his 70s walking along the street fell into the uncovered drain hole and risked drowning.

Tony Weir, who lives in the Otto apartment building, told the Moreland Leader: “A man almost died here. We’ve been warning Council about the safety risk from the flooding, especially the floating stormwater pit lids and really dangerous basement flooding for more than three years, but they keep ignoring multiple emails and phone calls and didn’t even bother to lock the lids down.”

The repeated flooding of the basement and ground levels of apartment buildings has caused serious problems for Christian Astourian who lives with a disability and uses a mobility scooter. Christian was trapped in his second floor apartment for four days because flooding led to the failure of the lifts in his building, and he couldn’t use the stairs.

Moreland Council has already undertaken some works to address drainage problems and allow increased water run-off, but residents feel the issue has dragged on for far too long. Apartment dwellers and local business owners attended the 12 December Council meeting, pressing for urgent action, even as more rainstorms were on the way this week.

 

 

 

Feature: Traffic crisis as

East Brunswick Village expands

Local residents from Brunswick East turned out to the December 2018 Moreland Council meeting to call for urgent action on traffic management around the East Brunswick Village site.

Residents from Sumner, Peers, Rupert and Noel Streets – all located to the east of Nicholson Street – are concerned that changed plans for transport movements in and out of the giant EBV project will flood their residential streets with traffic.

The East Brunswick Village (EBV) is a 3.1 hectare site located between Nicholson Street and John Street (north-south) and Albert Street and Glenlyon Road (east-west). The website of developers Banco Group say the project is “designed around the concept of an Urban Village, the development’s generous open spaces and amenities welcome use by residents and the community. Features include specialty shopping, a landscaped piazza, pedestrian mall, office spaces, ample parking for vehicles and bicycles.”

The initial phase of construction involves 223 apartments, a 24 hour Coles supermarket and Liquorland, four retail tenancies and a two level basement car park. Hundreds more apartments are proposed in further stages after the purchase of old factory sites to the north of existing works, including the old South Pacific Laundry and the Townley Drop Forge, which stopped operations last August. Construction of Stage I is underway at the main EBV site, and you can check out photos of the ongoing work on the website of the builders Hacer Group.

No rights to notification or review

The whole site is governed by a Development Plan Overlay (DPO11), pictured right, which sets the framework for more detail planning applications within the site. A striking feature of the planning overlay is that residents have no right to notification of new projects within the site – Clause 43.04-2 of DPO11 means that statutory public notice is exempt and third parties do not have the right to appeal Moreland Council’s decision at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for any planning permit application within the DPO11 area

With no rights to formal notification, it’s therefore up to South Ward councillors Lambros Tapinos, Mark Riley and Jess Dorney to keep residents informed about major changes to the project site. Their contacts are at the end of this newsletter.

Thousands of cars

The original traffic management plans for the site estimated that there will be nearly 10,000 new vehicle movements a day entering and leaving EBV from Glenlyon Road and Nicholson Street. In February 2018, VCAT approved a new development plan for the site which created more car parking spaces – changes to the basement car parking plan included an increase to the basement size and introduction of additional basement entry locations.

The primary access point to the precinct is via a signalised intersection in Nicholson Street, opposite Sumner Street, that will allow cars to exit from the basement car parks via “Main Street” directly onto Nicholson Street. There is another proposed ‘left in/left out’ entry/exit from the basement car park on Nicholson Street, opposite Peers Street (see diagram below).

However Nicholson Street hosts the number 96 tram route which is the busiest in Melbourne. Original designs for the EBV exit proposed a tram super stop near the intersection of Nicholson Street and Sumner Street. This original location would have discouraged cars entering or exiting the EBV from Sumner Street and limited the use of other adjoining residential streets for rat running.

This year, VicRoads and Public Transport Victoria (PTV) have changed the location of the tram stops, which will now be located north of Albert Street and at Glenlyon Road, rather than the middle of the block between these two streets (Great to see that people using public transport will have further to walk, while cars get privileged access in and out of the site!)

With the new plan for tram stops, there will be traffic lights at the intersection of Nicholson and Sumner streets. Residents are concerned that this opens the way for people entering and exiting the EBV to rat run along Sumner, Peers and Rupert streets, to avoid congestion at the main entrance. Instead, they want the street closed off. There is also concern about extra traffic using (north-south) Noel Street, which hosts the East Brunswick Kindergarten and Childcare Centre at Fisher Reserve.

Protecting Fleming Park

The problem of traffic management has also been evident on the western side of Nicholson Street. Residents of Glenlyon Road, John Street and Albert Street have been campaigning for more than a decade to get Council to implement traffic calming around EBV and Fleming Park.

In 2012, the EBV developers Banco Group took Moreland Council to VCAT, to successfully override Council’s policies on affordable housing and traffic management in this area. One astounding feature of this 2012 VCAT ruling was the tribunal’s refusal to force the developer to contribute to traffic management in surrounding residential streets, apart from “one hump in John Street and an intersection threshold at Glenlyon Road/John Street and John Street/Albert Street.”

VCAT said there are too many nearby apartment projects in Albert Street pumping cars into the residential street to allocate responsibility to any one developer! The 2012 VCAT ruling noted:

The additional traffic volumes on John Street are a direct result of this DP [development project]. The panel anticipated that works would be undertaken on local roads to minimise amenity impacts on residential areas. Accordingly, additional works on John Street are reasonable, given they result directly and solely from this DP. We cannot say the same about the works proposed on Albert Street. A number of developments will increase traffic volumes on Albert Street and it is unreasonable to require works only of this DP. We expect the Council will need to consider other approaches to ensure its objectives for Albert Street are met.

This 2012 decision sparked a campaign by Brunswick Residents Network to get Moreland Council to develop plans for traffic management in the area around Fleming Park and the EBV site. Proposals from traffic consultants GTA were incorporated in the 2013 Brunswick Integrated Transport Strategy (BITS). However none of the key BITS recommendations for this area have yet been implemented!

Council’s failure to implement plans to protect pedestrians, cyclists, children and the elderly accessing Fleming Park is a significant problem. This park is a crucial piece of green open space in Brunswick East, used by football players, dog walkers, children using the playground and people of all ages getting some exercise. The main north-south East Brunswick Shimmy bicycle path cuts through Fleming Park and along John Street beside the EBV project.

Council continually encourages walking and cycling and promotes Fleming Park as a jewel that must be protected for the thousands of people moving into this corner of the municipality. This year, Council just completed a Fleming Park “master plan refresh” with proposals for $11 million of spending on park facilities. Yet this ‘refresh’ process did not look at traffic in adjoining streets, or how people would actually get safely to the park!

The 2013 BITS Priority Implementation Plan proposed that there should be a shared roadway alongside the park in both Albert Street and Victoria Street, slowing traffic to a crawl to improve safety for people walking or cycling to use the park facilities. Nothing has happened to implement this proposal.

Using dodgy traffic numbers

The developers’ EBV Amended Integrated Transport Plan (dated 27 March 2018) uses 2008 figures for traffic flows in Nicholson Street, and 2011 figures for traffic flows in Albert and John Streets.  (The 2011 data was only collected on weekdays, as if no one will go shopping on Saturdays, when traffic in Brunswick East is already a nightmare).

However Moreland Council has more recent data from 2014 and 2018 which show higher rates of vehicle movement than those used by EBV traffic consultants Cardno.

Why do Moreland councillors and Council traffic planners allow Banco and their consultants to get away with using outdated data when more recent traffic counts are available? Shouldn’t Moreland Council be asking the developers to pay for updated traffic counting to justify their plans?

New project for John Street

Existing rat-running along Albert Street is already a major problem, but now there is a new development site on the corner of Albert and John Streets. (Aerial view at right.)

Within the (unreasonably short) time allocated under state planning law, Council planning staff could not complete their review of the permit application for the new apartment project on land fronting Albert and John Streets. The developers then took the project to VCAT in November 2018, in the case of Roden Street Pty Ltd v Moreland CC [2018] VCAT 1767

During the VCAT hearing, Moreland Council claimed that this area is supposed to be “a pedestrian friendly built form”. However the new project means that two car park entrances into Elm Grove will push cars into a narrow street that Council has described as “a predominantly pedestrian no-through road” leading out of the EBV site onto Albert Street.

Even as they approved the project, VCAT had the grace to acknowledge that “the plans as currently drawn appear to indicate vehicle access ways that are possibly larger than required.”

Council resolution

The EBV developers, VicRoads and other players hope to start building the Nicholson Street tram stops over the summer, but residents to the east of Nicholson Street have called for a delay to construction until the traffic management issues in surrounding residential streets have been resolved.

At their 12 December 2018 meeting, Moreland councillors resolved to:

1. Request officers continue to communicate with the East Brunswick Village development and VicRoads to understand construction timeframes for the signalised intersection at Main Street/Nicholson Street/Sumner Street in Brunswick East and request that no works progress until Council resolves the best traffic outcome for the local community.

2. Conduct an eight week public consultation process including a community information and workshop session, review of the traffic report, online feedback and mail-out to the affected streets and surrounding area, which clearly identifies the traffic issue at hand. The mail-out will be provided to all residents in the surrounding area including Sumner Street, Noel Street, Rupert Street, Peers Street and the section of Nicholson Street between Albert and Glenlyon Streets in Brunswick East.

3. Receives [sic] a report with options to mitigate any traffic impacts to local streets in the area resulting from the East Brunswick Village development and the future signalisation of the Main Street/Nicholson Street/Sumner Street intersection at the March 2019 or April 2019 Council meeting. Reference is to be made to public transport, bike and pedestrian access and options to prevent dangerous rat-running and congestion overflow on the residential streets, and near kindergartens, churches and schools including the option of installing bollards and road closures.

4. In resolving the BITS works program for 2019/20 Council officers provide consideration to the Fleming Park/Central Lygon & East Brunswick Village Projects (including the East Brunswick Shimmy) identified in BITS in light of the East Brunswick Village Development having now commenced, including holding a public forum to inform the local community of the works program. The public forum should also consider how best to establish an ongoing dialogue with the community surrounding the East Brunswick Village & Fleming Park

Council will soon publicise the consultation which should be launched over the summer while everyone is at the beach. We encourage people to contribute to this, highlighting the need for action now on traffic management, before Coles gets to set the agenda!

So what can be done?

Brunswick Residents Network believes that a one-off consultation is not sufficient, given that the EBV developers have repeatedly changed their plans. We want Council to extend its community engagement beyond a once-off update.

  • Council should bite the bullet and develop – and implement – a comprehensive traffic plan for residential streets in this whole area, including Fleming Park. Much of the work was already done in 2013 for the BITS, and this could be easily updated.
  • Moreland Council should create an ongoing working group involving the three South Ward Councillors, Council staff and representatives of the Moreland Bicycle Users Group, the Brunswick Residents Network, and local residents from streets surrounding Fleming Park and the East Brunswick Village.
  • The working group should develop a comprehensive traffic management plan for this area in Brunswick East, incorporating proposals for the East Brunswick shimmy, streets abutting Fleming Park, and residential streets around the East Brunswick Village project.
  • The working group should develop a timeline for implementation, to begin in 2019, and a budget for these works.
  • Moreland Council should prioritise funding for these activities in the 2019-20 budget, drawing in part on the $40 million Public Resort and Recreation Land Fund (PRRLF). Despite the level of apartment construction underway in the Brunswick Activity Centre and adjoining streets, there is no requirement for Council to spend the developers’ open space contributions in the suburb where they were collected. Major projects like EBV in Brunswick are subsidising open space and sporting grounds in the northern wards.

Over the next 20 years, the number of residential dwellings in Brunswick East is set to grow by 60%, while in Brunswick, it’s 30%. Traffic is already an issue and will only get worse until the shift to public transport and active transport accelerates.  Despite this, the EBV prioritises car movements over other modes of transport. It’s time to sort this out.

 

 

 

 

Walk away from traffic congestion

New research from global consultancy firm Arup has found strong investment in walking could replace 2.4 million car trips each week in Melbourne and Geelong.

The Economic Case for Investment in Walking’, commissioned by Victoria Walks, outlines the benefits of walking, along with the role it plays in transport, recreation and health.  The report then analyses how government investment applies to walking.

The report found that if half of short private vehicle trips (0–0.9 km) were converted to walking, there would be 2.4 million fewer vehicle trips each week, with savings of $165 million each year.

The research found investing in walking infrastructure can provide a higher economic return than other transport projects such as rail and road. Evidence from 20 different studies suggested that the benefit cost ratio of walking interventions is 13:1 – $13 of benefit for every $1 of expenditure.

Bicycle users are well organised to lobby for better cycling infrastructure, but pedestrians are less coordinated to push for safer, well managed footpaths and crossings. Even so, according to the report, 90% of recorded active transport trips in Victoria are walking trips (overall, 1 in 6 trips in Victoria are on foot).

Victoria Walks has also commissioned other research to oppose a push by Bicycle Network to allow all cyclists to ride on footpaths. (Currently you must be 12 or under, or accompanying a child). Rather than colonising the footpath, Victoria Walks wants cyclists concerned about risks on busy roads to keep up the pressure on governments for safe, separated spaces for both cyclists and walkers.

 

 

 

Pricing parking

For people annoyed by the difficulty of parking in the inner city, here’s an interesting pair of articles addressing the dilemma in neighbouring Yarra municipality: how to introduce the pricing of parking without angering residents, so that the demand for parking can be brought back into balance with supply.

The demand for parking can be managed in two ways – queuing or pricing. At the moment we use queuing – the first people to arrive occupy a parking bay and others have to wait for their turn. If all the bays are occupied, then you don’t get one. The alternative is pricing – keep increasing the price until demand reduces to match supply.

The author addresses the added element that some ratepayers are prevented from even joining the queue, because they’ve moved into new apartments without parking permits: “These are members of the new and growing class of ‘have nots’ who are prevented from obtaining parking permits to access public land, our streets.”

Let us know what you think of these ideas at albertstreet2020@gmail.com

 

 

 

VCAT rulings

In another sign that Sydney Road bars are spreading into residential streets to the east of the major thoroughfare, VCAT has approved extended licensing hours for Neon Beatniks, the café/bar at 43 Glenlyon Road, Brunswick (the intersection of Blair Street with Glenlyon Road)

Residents opposed the application from Shukumei Pty Ltd, expressing concern about the impacts of alcohol consumption and the extension of operating hours on neighbouring residential amenity. However VCAT ruled that the café could operate to 7.30pm on Wednesdays to Sunday

VCAT approves construction of a four storey building containing a food and drink premises with dwellings above and a reduction of the standard car parking requirement at 831 Sydney Road, Brunswick, just south of Moreland Road.
VCAT approves construction of two warehouses on toxic land in McBryde Street Fawkner

 

 

 

Council & community

Library strategy open for discussion

When you visit Brunswick library for your summer reading, check out the display of the new draft Library Services Strategy 2019-2023. Council has been working for some time on a 5-year action plan to set future directions for Moreland’s libraries. You can you can have your say on the new strategy until 13 January 2019.

Plans for Siteworks

At their December 2018 meeting, Moreland councillors adopted a proposal for the major renovation of the site works community in Saxon Street, Brunswick (located near Dawson Street not far from the Brunswick library).

After an extensive period of community discussion and the development of concept plans, a proposal has been put forward involving major changes to the site, which includes an old school building and the historic Sherwood house as well as open garden space.

From three options originally proposed, the accepted plan includes increased public open space; major works including multi use and community use facilities and café; and the potential to incorporate the Brunswick Neighbourhood House within the site. The entire school building on Phoenix Street would be demolished, with a new building. Another community use building would be created on the North West corner of the site, with possible space for occasional childcare, multipurpose community rooms, office space and a multi-purpose outdoor roof space.

The biggest problem is the cost: the current estimated project budget is $22-24 million. For this reason, the proposed design includes more floor space for commercial rather than community operations, in order to generate greater income to establish and manage the site (it’s proposed that 2614 out of a total of 7188 square meters be allocated to commercial spaces, to generate an estimated yearly income of $400,000).

Earlier start at Brunswick Baths

Moreland Council has agreed to extended opening hours at the Brunswick Baths indoor and outdoor facility on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer months of January and February 2019.

Council officers proposed a trial of opening the facility (indoor and outdoor aquatics and the gym) earlier on weekends at 7 am instead of the scheduled 8 am, but recommended against extending the closing hours past 8 pm on weekends

Community engagement policy

Moreland Council has developed a Community Engagement and Public Participation Policy which sets out “a definition of community engagement, and commits Council to purposeful, respectful, inclusive, responsive and transparent engagement with the Moreland community.”  Hmmm.

At their 12 December meeting, councillors decided to adopt the plan and Implementation Plan.

Community feedback on the draft highlighted the need for:

  • resourcing to implement the plan and attitudinal change amongst Council staff
  • monitoring, evaluation and review in the Policy;
  • addressing issues of language, accessibility and equity across all community groups;
  • sorting out Council’s abysmal online community engagement tools, including the Council’s website

 

 

 

Culture list

CERES Makers and Flea Market

On Saturdays from now to mid-February, CERES will hold a weekly market selling locally handmade, vintage, up-cycled, pre-loved and eco-friendly goods. (CERES is an award-winning sustainability centre and urban farm located on the Merri Creek.)

You can enjoy coffee, food and live music, shop for organic groceries and gardening needs; check out the energy park, eco house, nature play area and bike shed.

The market takes place every Saturday (except the first 2 Saturdays in January).

WHAT: CERES Makers and Flea Market

WHERE: CERES Environment Park, Corner Roberts and Stewart Streets, Brunswick East

WHEN: From  9 am – 2 pm, Saturdays until 16 February

INFO: Phone: 9389 0100, email: ceresmakersandflea@gmail.com

Friday nights – free music

If you’re lost and lonely on Friday nights, you could head north to the Coburg Night Market (food, music and stalls), or check out the Sparta Place Jazz Nights

Situated at 459 Sydney Road Brunswick, Sparta Place will come to life on Friday evenings in December with Melbourne’s finest musicians performing in an outdoor setting (Support acts will begin at 6.30 pm, main performance at 8 pm).

Free community event but BYO your own rugs and chairs. Boutique shops will be open with wine and cheese

WHAT: Sparta Place Jazz Nights

WHEN: Friday nights in December from 6.30 – 9.30 pm

WHERE: Sparta Place, 459 Sydney Road Brunswick

INFO: Claire Perry Mobile: 0425 739 922 or email: info@sydneyroad.com.au

 

 

 

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. Council’s 2019 meeting calendar is:

  • Wednesday 13 February 2019
  • Wednesday 13 March 2019
  • Wednesday 10 April 2019
  • Monday 15 April 2019 – 6 pm – Propose the 2019/2020 Budget
  • Wednesday 8 May 2019
  • Wednesday 12 June 2019
  • Monday 17 June 2019 – 6 pm – Adopt the 2019/2020 Budget
  • Wednesday 10 July 2019
  • Wednesday 14 August 2019
  • Wednesday 11 September 2019
  • Monday 23 September 2019 – 6 pm – Consider the Draft Annual Report
  • Wednesday 9 October 2019
  • Monday 28 October 2019 – Ceremonial Council Meeting
  • Wednesday 13 November 2019
  • Wednesday 11 December 2019

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 local councillors

Mark Riley (Deputy Mayor)

Mobile: 0499 807044

Email: mriley@moreland.org.au

Lambros Tapinos

Mobile: 0433 419 075

Email: ltapinos@moreland.org.au

Jess Dorney

Mobile: 0419 560 055

Email: jdorney@moreland.org.au

 

 

 

 

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 albertstreet2020@gmail.com. (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.

For meeting details, survey and newsletter archives, go to: https://brunswickresidents.wordpress.com

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 using the links below.

 

 

 

 

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