In this issue: VICTORIAN ELECTION; CLIFFORD HAYES NOT RE-ELECTED TO LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL; LESSONS FROM THE ELECTION FOR PLANNING DEMOCRACY; SPEECH TO PROTECTORS OF PUBLIC LANDS AGM; SPEECH TO NORTH EAST LINK RALLY; WIN OVER VICSMART CRAZINESS; MIAMI HOTEL WEST MELBOURNE – DEVELOPERS BEHAVING BADLY; RESIDENTS SAY IN PLANNING – MICHAEL BUXTON; RESIDENTS SAY IN PLANNING – CITY OF MELBOURNE CONSULTATION RULES; SAVE WESTERNPORT WOODLANDS; PROTECTING NATIONAL PARKS FROM OVERDEVELOP
My name is Ian Hundley and I very much appreciate the opportunity to say a few words this morning. I campaign against the North East Link principally as a member of the Stop North East Link Alliance. As Greg and Kelvin have highlighted, canopy tree cover in Melbourne is in a critical state. An urban forest with about 30% cover is central to offsetting the effects of climate change. The annualized loss of 1-1.5% in canopy cover that is now occurring is alarming.
The draft Yarra Strategic Plan claims to deliver the first Victorian integrated river corridor strategy and to identify immediate actions for the river corridor, enabling long-term collaborative management between agencies and Traditional Owners. It is intended to guide local planning. We publish here a critical submission to this draft plan. Summary of submission by candobetter editor: Climate Change and human failure to interact safely with the natural world. Plan fails to adequately factor in transport interaction with Yarra. Lack of proper transport interconnectivity. Higher density depends on high quality public transport. Private car still dominates. Forecast population growth and new constructions will inevitably cause major environmental damage. North-East Link Freeway will comport massive land-fill problems, hardly referred to in Draft Plan. Likely potential for destabilisation of groundwater in the Yarra Valley in the Bulleen and Rosanna area as a consequence of the North-East Link Freeway project. Substantial areas of public open space is threatened by the project, together with about 25,000 mature canopy trees. Adverse human health effects of the project would include increased air pollution and heightened road noise. Lack of cycling provision on roads in cities of Boroondara, Banyule, Manningham and Maroondah and the Shires of Nillumbik and Yarra Ranges. Proposal in Plan to increase lanes capacity on the Eastern Freeway to cater for the North East Link project by over 40%, from 802,000 square metres to 1,127,000 square metres. Adverse environmental effects would include increased run-off of polluted stormwater into the Yarra River and elevated ambient temperatures as a consequence of the large increase in concrete and asphalt surfaces. Report of the Commissioner of Sustainability, State of the Yarra and its Parklands (2018), concluded that the status of the Yarra river was poor for 18 of its 25 environmental indicators. This can only deteriorate if planned stressors go ahead.
Submission on the Draft Yarra Strategic Plan
The draft Yarra Strategic Plan rightly identifies climate change as a threat to the Yarra River. In this regard, climate change is neither more or less than a register of the failure of the human species to interact properly with the natural world. COVID - 19 also falls into that category.
Transport and the Yarra
The draft Plan gives too little attention to the relationship between transport and the health of the Yarra. This is a major flaw. The functionality of large cities is decided more than anything else by the dominant modes of mobility deployed in them.
The draft Plan declares (p. 16) that the Department of Transport "plans, builds and operates an integrated, sustainable and safe transport system across Victoria. It does not, actually, as little effort is made to integrate the various modes. Within the public transport sphere in particular, insufficient effort is made to ensure the connectivity of the network.
Even more importantly, the concept of integrated transport and land use planning has pretty much been abandoned by the Victorian government, and has done so since Melbourne 2030, with the concept of the poly-centric city at its core, was all but forgotten.
The idea (p. 12) that higher density residential development should be the sole province of inner areas is flawed. There is significant demand for higher density residential development in locations well removed from inner Melbourne. The central problem is that the government has abandoned the key enabler of this, which is high quality public transport across the whole of Melbourne.
The reality is that the modal mix for personal travel in the City of Melbourne is little different from what it was 50 years ago. The private motor car dominates. And it is very space-inefficient.
The draft Plan anticipates that Melbourne's population will grow to nearly 8 million by the year 2051, and with an extra 140,000 dwellings to be built in the Yarra River corridor by 2041.
There are no grounds, within current policy settings, that these "milestones" would be reached without damaging the environment very seriously. The central issue is that the Victorian government does not have a transport plan for Melbourne.
North East Link
The Victorian government's North East Link freeway project is hardly referred to in the draft Plan. It should be. It was developed in the absence of any consideration by the government of other forms of transport, and especially public transport, which would have a relatively benign effect on the Yarra River corridor.
It is understood that the extensive tunnelling proposed for the project would require the excavation of about 1.5 cubic metres of rock and soil, which would go to landfill (see Timna Jacks and Benjamin Preiss, "Warning over toxic soil from 'big dig,'" Sunday Age, December 1, 2019). It is not known whether any of the material is toxic and there appears to be insufficient landfill capacity to take it.
There appears to be potential for destabilisation of groundwater in the Yarra Valley in the Bulleen and Rosanna area as a consequence of the project.
Substantial areas of public open space is threatened by the project, together with about 25,000 mature canopy trees.
Adverse human health effects of the project would include increased air pollution and heightened road noise.
Paved surface area
One of the dysfunctional elements of the dominance of the motor car is the increase in paved road surface that is required to cater for ever-growing motor vehicle numbers. For instance, it is proposed to increase lanes capacity on the Eastern Freeway to cater for the North East Link project by over 40%, from 802,000 square metres to 1,127,000 square metres. The adverse environmental effects would include increased run-off of polluted stormwater into the Yarra River and elevated ambient temperatures as a consequence of the large increase in concrete and asphalt surfaces.
Local government and transport
It is not only at state government level that we have major policy failure in transport. For instance, if one is to consider the land area of the City of Boroondara, it is comprised of about 6,022 hectares, of which 1279 hectares, over 20%, is comprised of road reservations. About 80% of the land devoted to road reservations is controlled by the City of Boroondara, with the balance controlled by VicRoads. The reservations controlled by Boroondara contain about 560 kilometres of local roads.
Significantly, very few of these roads have been developed to provide for safe cycling traffic. They are designed, with few exceptions, exclusively for motor car traffic. Apart from the City of Yarra, the other councils with a direct interest in this project (the cities of Banyule, Manningham and Maroondah and the Shires of Nillumbik and Yarra Ranges), also appear relatively uninterested in increasing the mode share of space-efficient, and therefore environmentally friendly forms of transport.
The Status Assessment contained in the report of the Commissioner of Sustainability, State of the Yarra and its Parklands (2018), concluded that the status of the river was poor for 18 of its 25 environmental indicators.
These measures will continue to deteriorate unless substantial reforms are made to transport capacity in Melbourne, and especially in the Yarra River corridor, to preference space-efficient and less carbon polluting transport modes.
29 March 2020
Julianne Bell of Protectors of Public Land Victoria will be the speaker at a meeting of concerned citizens "Protecting Heritage and Public Interest in Banyule," Sunday July 6th, 2.00pm for 2.30pm, Seddon St. Community Centre, Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe Civic Precinct Master Plan includes demolition of the current library and privatisation of three lots of civic land. You can attend the meeting and be listed to speak at the start of the meeting.
Ivanhoe Civic Precinct Master Plan includes demolition of the current, iconic, ‘mid-century modernist’ design Library and privatisation of three lots of civic land!
Two of the sites are adjacent to the Civic Precinct. i.e. (1), a well landscaped CAR PARK - west of Upper Heidelberg Rd and off Ivanhoe Parade (west) and (2), Lot 14, Ivanhoe Parade (west) – including both the Ivanhoe Senior Citizens Hall and the Arts Community Space buildings and (3), residential development within the Civic Precinct site.
Currently all three are council/ rate payer-owned land!
What you can do:
You can attend the Banyule Council Meeting Monday July 7th - 7pm for 7.30pm
And be listed to speak at the start of the meeting,
and/or write -
To All Councillors, the CEO, and relevant officers - PO Box 51, Ivanhoe 3079/ [email protected]
You can be added to Councils email list to be updated by contacting Ben Smith 9490 4222: [email protected]
Also see http://www.fairyhillsivanhoe.com
And attend the meeting:
"Protecting Heritage and Public Interest in Banyule"
Sunday July 6th
2.00pm for 2.30pm
Seddon St. Community Centre, Ivanhoe
Our speaker is
Julianne Bell “Protectors of Public Land”
Everyone welcome / Gold coin donation
More Information 0427 949 951/ 0411 154 914
Join us to discuss these important issues of our time.
The first part of the meeting will cover the Proposed Plan for the CIVIC PRECINCT and actions people can take regarding the Plan; the second part will cover the Proposed Council Lease of CHELSWORTH PARK to a private school for 30 years
(Lot No’s and Heritage Overlays in Ivanhoe Parade and the Civic Precinct area of the Ivanhoe Shopping Centre)
Our parklands are under threat! Hundreds of kilometres of new freeways and expanded roads would be built across Melbourne over the next 30 years, under plans revealed in a highly detailed government map obtained by The Age in 2010 . This threat includes the promised $6 billion North-East Link freeway/tunnel through Heidelberg, and a major road from Eltham to Donvale.
According to The Age (27/4) - - rail loses out to road spending. Road building has received four times more federal, state and local government funding over the past decade than new rail projects, the report says.
Only Tasmania spends less on rail, and they have no commuter rail system. The ACF found that Australia’s public transport sector is a poor cousin to roads when it comes to funding. Our government is simply a living relic of a former era, trapped in a 1950s/60s time-warp!
Heidelberg/Banyule parklands worth protecting
Heidelberg/Banyule's heritage includes valuable parklands worth protecting. The Heidelberg area is recognised as originally belonging to the local indigenous people, the Wurundjeri willam. Sacred sites, traditional names and indigenous community contributions are important to our understanding of the region's past, present and future. In 1837 government surveyor Robert Hoddle surveyed the area and created three parishes extending from what is now Fitzroy to beyond Diamond Creek.
With Melbourne's expansion in the early 1900s, many successful farmers, government administrators and entrepreneurs bought blocks of land and small farms in the area, and there are many examples of significant period houses, mansions and “gentlemen farmers”.
An artists' haven
Heidelberg, now included in the area of Banyule, also has a significant European cultural heritage associated with painters of the Heidelberg School, such as Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Charles Condor, Walter Withers, Jane Price, May Vale and Clara Southern, and architects and urban landscapers including Walter Burley Griffin, Ellis Stones and Edna Walling.
John and Sunday Reed purchased the property now known as Heide in 1934, transforming the original Victorian farmhouse into the French provincial-style cottage we see today. The house and property were named Heide, in an affectionate reference to the nearby town of Heidelberg.
Banyule has close links with the birth of the Australian Art Movement and significant Heidelberg school artists such as Albert Tucker, Sydney Nolan and Sunday Reid, who lived and painted in the area during the 1940s and 50s. Sydney Nolan's first art exhibition was held in Burgundy Street, Heidelberg.
Throughout the early 1900s farms in the Heidelberg area gave way to residences, shopping centres sprang up along the main roads, and garden suburbs began to appear, particularly around Ivanhoe, Darebin and Eaglemont.
Banyule is renowned for its open spaces and plentiful parklands, especially along the Yarra and Plenty River valleys. People can enjoy the picturesque area for bike riding, walking, the Heide Museum for Modern Art and great local restaurants and for sporting activities. It is a place where people can see and appreciate wetlands and native fauna and flora.
Little value given to natural heritage
There are few places left in Melbourne where you can find koala's, kangaroos, 115 bird and 4 bat species all in one place. It's no accident that many now well-known artists and architects enjoyed the river views and the pretty landscapes.
River parks such as those of the Banyule Wetlands and within the Yarra Corridor are a vital area for wildlife, rare migratory birds and protected species of flora, with large areas currently under protection by Banyule Council.
However, our natural assets get very little protection in Victoria, and are unlikely to stop the destruction. Peninsula Link went straight through the heritage listed Westerfield property complete with endangered species and hardly a person lifted a finger to help! A gang of mounted police came to assist the bulldozers, and they arrested a few protesting grandmas. Brumby’s road builders bulldozed the area without re-homing any of the animals - just bulldozed them and their homes too!
For the freeway/tunnel/viaduct to proceed, adaptions to our landscape may include:
* Acquisition of Watsonia Barracks land – an important green wedge
* Installation of sound walls along Greensborough Road from the Western Ring Road to Lower Plenty Road
* Possible interference with land at Heide Museum of Modern Art at the tunnel exit points at Manningham Road
* Likely loss of current parkland and damage to the same caused by 'staging areas' for tunnel construction at the entry and exit points of the tunnel
* Interchanges that will have to built at each end to allow entry and exit points from the tunnel/freeway
* Land acquisitions and sound walls along Bulleen Road
* Fly-overs along above ground sections of freeway (Greensborough Road and Bulleen Road)
*Increased noise, pollution, and loss of important biodiversity/parkland areas
(The proposed route of the North East Link - right through Banyule historic parklands!)
There are environmentally and economically viable solutions available without the heavy costs and destruction that would be incurred by this monolithic construction.
Roads assume plentiful petrol, but with peak oil, vehicle use must wind down. Rail must be our future, with transport hubs to finish the distribution for goods and services.
Retro State government
Our State government is still adhering to the retro idea of roads and bridges, simply ignoring peak oil and climate change implications. They are also deeply entrenched in the outdated “populate and perish” – rather than a steady-state economy for survival on diminishing resources and climate change.
More should be spent on rail, the future of public transport, than on petrol-dependent cars and trucks. We should be consolidating our existing city, not forcing its expansion and passing the costs onto the public.
The price of continuing an out-dated freeway/tunnel system for Banyule would be far too high. It would mean a loss of its historical, social significance, and biodiversity green-wedge – all natural wealth that is becoming far too frequently destroyed in the name of “progress”. The tunnel will morph into an above-ground freeway due to lack of funds!
Build more roads and you get more car parks and obesity, pollution and oil consumption. On the contrary, if you invest in active public transport and you gain health, access, mobility and liveability.
Growth outstrips funding
Victoria already absorbs more Federal funding than we should in proportion to what we contribute to Australia's overall GDP. We may take a larger proportion of immigrants, but this does not translate into economic growth, but more spending.
Road investment is the equivalent of Harvey Norman's three years interest free - by the time it's paid for it may no longer be an asset but a monolithic white-elephant!
Where's our government's contingency plan for peak oil? They are burying their heads in the sand, and continuing along the "business as usual" route by focusing on short-term gains! More should be spent on rail, the future of public transport, than on petrol-dependant cars and trucks. We should be consolidating our existing city, not forcing its expansion and passing the costs onto the public.
And they expect us to pay carbon tax? Will they invest in rail, suburban rail?
Alternative solutions exists
North East link offers no solution.
The North East Link freeway will not alleviate the traffic congestion along major roads such as the Greensborogh Road, Rosanna Road, Lower Heidelberg Road and Banksia Street. Studies have shown that the use of these major roads will continue to increase in the years to come. Do we really want our city of Marvellous Melbourne to turn into Los Angeles in a desperate attempt to "solve" our traffic problems? These planners are simply ignoring the reality of peak oil, climate change, and pollution. All these freeways, attempts to secure water for Melbourne, and land developments over green wedges and market gardens is our government's attempt to increase our population!
Our parklands used to be a treasured spot for artists who were inspired by the beauty of the trees, hills, the river, the colours and the tranquility of the area. Our democratic rights, our heritage and amenities should not be up for grabs and be trampled on when there are alternative solutions to the congestion.
Friends of Banyule
Sign the petition
PS: Thanks to Marion Ware of Friends of Banyule for her collaboration with this article, and all their efforts to stop this freeway madness.