Archive for category Planning
The redevelopment saga of Glen Waverley’s central car park has attracted another community option for best value consideration by Monash Council. This new community option, called People’s Park, was developed as a result of consulting local residents, traders, local school parents and other Monash ratepayers and residents and conducting due diligent business case research. The proposal is a substantiated and viable alternative for redeveloping the central car park, in addition to Cr Lake’s option.
This People’s Park option proposes partnership with Apple to build an underground technology retail and multimedia library center with two additional levels of underground car parks.
It recommends more and viable funding choices than Cr Lake’s option, which only pursues to sell the car park to fund a new library and a small public space, and allow high density developments that will threaten the feng shui of Glen Waverley and increase local population without providing local and green open space in close proximity. The sale of the central car park will also mean the loss of GW’s most prized land that can potentially provide the local community and shoppers scarce green open space amenities and services.
March’s meeting documentation has revealed continuing preference for Cr Lake’s option to progress into Request for Tender. Quality due diligent information to substantiate Cr Lake’s option against the John Monash Multicultural Square (JMMS) proposal (put in by another community group) was lacking, as there was the absence of evidence based business case information and a best value evaluation framework, resulting in the GW subcommittee (lead by Cr Lake) and council staff making subjective recommendations to reject the JMMS proposition. In the three public community consultation sessions (attended by more than 150 people) that Council has organized to discuss the fate of the central car park, MRI representatives who attended all 4 meetings, including the JMMS one, had witnessed over 95% of participants did not want the new library and high rise developments and prefer the central car park remain an open space. This strong non support for Cr lake’s library was never documented clearly in council’s public records. However, the March meeting documentation continues to misrepresent the strong Monash community’s non support for Cr Lake’s option during the community consultations and instead presented information that says otherwise.
Like the selling of Monash and Elizabeth Gardens aged care facilities in 2013 and the deliberate and the long standing deficit financial management of the Euvena carpark, Cr Lake is once again leading and strengthening group-think decision making towards selling the central car park to fund and build a state of the art new library in the Glen Waverley central car park, a personal obsession that he willed on his constituents since the 2012 election, despite the community’s strong non support for his obsession.
Party politics stricken Councillors representing their own interests first is the growing new black in Monash, a proven fact also recently supported by the Waverley Leader, reporting the lateness and poor governance of council meeting in March and their growing failure to represent the community’s views.
The mature trees along Strada Crescent also hold historical sentiments for the City of Monash and have been classified as such by a review undertaken by the State Government and a part of a living local history would be lost if the education department authorised their removal in the closed secondary school site in Brandon Park.
For more than 5 years, Brandon Park residents have no idea whether Council or the State Government will honor this review’s recommendation. Although residents have approached their Councillors, the past Mulgrave Councillors did not action further advocacy to secure the fate of these trees. Consequently, residents escalated the matter to their local MPs, of whom one MP, Michael Gidley, followed up matters to this day. Finally the Victorian Education Department sent a letter to secure the fate of the legacy Strada Crescent trees. Monash Council will need to take note of this letter and check compliance in future planning applications.
Time Mitchell from the Waverley Leader, January 30 reports:
MONASH councillors last night questioned residents’ hysteria regarding the Muslim faith as they approved a mosque in a Clayton street.
Several councillors said they were disappointed a proposal for a one-storey mosque in Beddoe Ave, Clayton, had been drawn into the public eye.
The plans were brought before the council by Mulgrave ward Cr Robert Davies, who said the mosque would be built in an inappropriate location and impact adversely on residents.
But the city’s other ten councillors disagreed, voting to approve the plans in front of a packed council chambers.
What do you think of the decision? Tell us below.
Glen Waverley ward Cr Geoff Lake said anyone who shared Cr Davies’ view that the mosque was inappropriate were “20 years too late”.
He said those with the view the mosque should be refused on religious grounds were “misinformed, prejudicial and un-Australian”.
Cr Stephen Dimopoulos said the council’s decision had been based on planning policy, rather than religion.
‘It’s not only 100 per cent correct in planning terms, but it’s 100 per cent correct in humanitarian terms,” Cr Dimopoulos said.
It came after a member of the public, Elizabeth Kendal, used public question time to ask the council and Monash University to monitor the mosque’s activities if the proposal was approved.
She said she was concerned the building could become a teaching place for “radical fundamentalist Islam”.
Cr Lake said councillors were disgusted with emails and phone calls they had received from residents disapproving the proposal.
“Probably 98 per cent of the community share the views of the councillors,” Cr Lake said.
Mulgrave ward Cr Paul Klisaris said people needed to realise “Islam is not an evil religion” and said those who did not support the proposal failed to understand the faith.
The mosque will replace a weatherboard house, which has been used as a place of prayer since 1994.
The mosque will be accessed through Monash University, which will provide parking on its grounds.
It will have space for 185 people.
Residents and members of the Muslim community were so desperate to hear the verdict, some sat on the floor of the council chambers and the crowd spilled outside.
The approval came after Cr Lake changed a section of the motion to allow the mosque to open for morning prayers at 5.30am.
In a fiery meeting, Cr Davies twice accused Cr Lake of code of conduct violations, only to be told to be quiet by Mayor Micaela Drieberg.
One resident lashed the council after the decision was handed down, questioning why he had not been able to speak to the motion.
Monash Weekly News – The Case Development
A MOSQUE will be built in Clayton’s Beddoe Avenue after Monash University received the nod at last night’s Monash council meeting to proceed with plans to upgrade its existing prayer room.
The approval was followed by a loud expletive from a member of the crowd, who stormed out of the chamber when refused the opportunity to address the council.
In an at-times fiery debate that lasted almost an hour, the council approved the plans for the mosque and moved to extend its opening time from 7.30am to 5.30am so that Muslims could take part in morning prayers.
Cr Robert Davies was twice rebuked for speaking out of turn and was involved in heated exchanges with the mayor, Micaela Drieberg. Cr Davies was the only councillor to oppose the mosque.
In his comments to the council, Cr Geoff Lake called on his colleagues to consider planning laws but also the Victorian Charter of Human Rights. ‘‘I think it’s required that we have a level of respect and cultural understanding.’’
‘‘For a mosque to be functional and fit for purpose, it must be able to receive prayer in the morning period,’’ said Cr Lake, who moved the motion. ‘‘I’m convinced there will be negligible or no impact on residents.’’
Residents in Beddoe Avenue, where the mosque will be located, are worried about traffic congestion and increased noise from calls to prayer five times a day.
But representatives from the mosque said the call to prayer would only occur inside the mosque and parking would be provided on the university grounds where the entrance to the building will be.
WHEN Caroline Paterson learned that the nearby Uniting Church objected to a mosque in Beddoe Avenue, Clayton North, for fear it would foster extremism, she wanted to set the record straight and distance residents from the comments.
She and her husband Ian had lodged an objection, as have several neighbours, but she stressed that the issue was definitely not racially motivated.
‘‘We’re not intolerant of any race or any religion,’’ she said. ‘‘We would have the same objection to any building which enables large numbers of people to congregate in a meeting place in a residential street.’’
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Should the mosque go ahead in Beddoe Avenue, or should it be housed on Monash University grounds? Post a comment below.
Monash councillor Geoff Lake wants the resignations of the two senior Uniting Church figures who linked the proposed mosque to extremism.
Cr Lake wrote to the general secretary of the Victoria-Tasmania Synod of the Uniting Church, Reverend Mark Lawrence, to condemn the ‘‘anti-Muslim sentiment’’ of Monash Uniting Church chairman Richard Farrell and Reverend Hoon You and said they were unfit to hold office.
The views were ‘‘totally unacceptable, out of place in 21st century Australia’’ and created and promoted ‘‘division within our community’’.
But Dr Lawrence said the pair would not be dismissed. ‘‘These are not sacking offences so to speak but they are very much opportunities to work together to understand the Uniting Church’s stated positions about seeking to be in respectful relationships with all religions.’’
Mrs Paterson, who has lived with her family in Beddoe Avenue for 15 years, was concerned with the mosque’s location.
‘‘It’s just not appropriate for a street with houses on it,’’ she said.
‘‘We’re concerned about the parking. Monash Uni says ‘we’ll provide parking’, but it’s paid parking. No one wants to pay. I expect them to use Beddoe Avenue again.’’
The Monash University property, at 16 Beddoe Avenue, is used as an Islamic prayer room. Neighbours say that until they asked the council to intervene, their street was often blocked with cars belonging to prayer room patrons.
Long-term resident Paul Walker voiced similar concerns.
‘‘The parking permits around here stop at 6pm,’’ he said. ‘‘If they don’t want to use the ticket machine in the uni to pay for parking, there’s more likelihood they’re going to use this street.’’
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said ‘‘the traffic around here is bad enough’’.
By 2050, Melbourne’s population will hit 6.4million. With services and infrastructure already lacking, how liveable will the city be then?
Jason Dowling and Miki Perkins
Jason Dowling and Miki Perkins from The Age, 22 Nov 2012, report:
WHEN Cara Horner moved to a new housing estate in Epping North, she was drawn by its environmental credentials, the lower land prices and the chance to build an affordable family home.
Yes, her family would be moving away from a well-established suburb but Horner was reassured by VicUrban, the government’s development agency now named Places Victoria, that the estate would soon have the transport links and community services needed to ensure a good quality of life.
Five years later, she is stunned by how many of those promises turned out to be hollow. “We have bus stops here that don’t have buses running to them because the Victorian government won’t put any funding into the route extension,” she says.
Every home on the estate was meant to be within 400 metres of bus stop. Residents were also promised a train, an “Epping North spur line” that would peel off from Lalor station, and an interchange on the nearby Hume highway.
“When we were buying our land we were told the train line would be five or 10 years, then it was 20 and now we’re hearing it won’t happen,” says Horner, who is a member of the Aurora Community Association.
Like Horner, many Melburnians will soon be living on former farmland on the city’s fringes that was recently rezoned residential.
By 2050, Melbourne’s population is forecast to hit up to 6.4 million — an additional 2.3 million people in less than four decades.
This influx is sobering when you consider the amount of infrastructure required to support that many new residents.
The population trigger used by planners to figure out when to build a new primary school, kindergarten or childcare centre is 9000 residents. A new police station is 40,000 residents and a new hospital is 50,000.
And this does not factor in train stations, which are determined by the government, as Horner has discovered.
Delivering the new schools and hospitals will not be easy for the cash-strapped state government. Perhaps it’s not surprising so many people want to move to Melbourne – it holds the much-vaunted title of the “world’s most liveable city”, as rated by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
But a recent United Nations report, which lists Melbourne as one of the world’s top 10 most prosperous cities, found its weakest performance was in “equity and social inclusion”. As Melbourne’s phenomenal growth continues, both in population and geographic size, one thing seems clear: some people are more equal than others when it comes to access to taxpayer-funded services and infrastructure.
Last month Planning Minister Matthew Guy released a discussion paper on planning for Melbourne’s development for the next 40 years. It was the first insight into the government’s metropolitan strategy, which will replace Labor’s Melbourne 2030 plan.
At the same time as this strategy is being developed, Guy is changing zoning rules that determine what can be built and where and, in his words, transforming planning from an academic into an “economic” portfolio.
Some big questions remain unanswered. Will the eventual strategy match what is being proposed in the discussion paper?
And why change the fundamentals of the system before you know in which direction you are heading?
When he approved towering apartment blocks in the CBD recently, Guy said the government would continue to “provide confidence to the development industry” and there would be “continuing reform of our planning system to increase opportunity and productivity”.
But in the rush to create construction jobs, has planning a liveable, enjoyable city with decent transport services and infrastructure taken a back seat to economic activity? Many on Melbourne’s fringes and in existing infill suburbs say new housing might have mushroomed but there is little in the way of new services.
Guy recently highlighted the challenge of maintaining Melbourne’s “liveability” as a city of 6 million, with only two of the top 10 cities in the Economist’s liveability survey having more residents than Melbourne: Sydney and Toronto (the greater Toronto area).
Indeed, he said “the larger the city becomes, the harder it is to maintain an international standard of liveability”.
“How we plan for that growth is the key to ensuring our city remains one of the most diverse, distinctive and liveable cities in world.”
One of the ideas that emerges from the government’s planning discussion paper is a “20-minute city”, where people “live local” and work, eat and play close to home.
But not everyone in Melbourne will be equal in the 20-minute city, the report notes. For some it will be a 20-minute walk, others will need to drive.
“Whether the 20-minute travel distance is by walking, cycling, bus or car will depend on the area and the habits of its residents,” the report says.
But the “habits” of many in Melbourne are determined by their access to quality public transport, walking and cycling paths and nearby services. David Turnbull, chief executive of the City of Whittlesea, has been working in growth areas for decades and cannot remember a time when there was more pressure to deliver new services.
“I would describe the situation at the moment as the most perilous it has been in 34 years,” he says.
Four years ago, following a rezoning, the number of residents moving to the council’s area jumped from about 2500 a year to up to 9500. On Epping Road and Plenty Road, the main roads that link to the Epping North and Mernda growth corridors, it can take 40 minutes “just to leave your suburb”, Turnbull says. There are about 60 births a week in the municipality and the Northern Hospital is struggling to cope with demand, he says.
But infrastructure funding in growth areas is slow in coming. In Caroline Springs, in Melbourne’s outer west, a road to a paddock is the only sign of the site where a train station has been promised.
“The rural and regional areas have a dedicated growth fund of $1 billion in state funding – the growth areas have no such funding,” Turnbull says.
He believes it is time the government appointed a minister for growth areas, to take responsibility for the proper funding of Melbourne’s newest communities.
Toronto ranks fourth in the liveability stakes and has reached a number of conclusions when it comes to planning: urban sprawl must end and building new freeways will not solve a city’s transportation needs.
“We only have infill development in the city . . . the question is how do we do that infill?” says Toronto’s chief planner, Jennifer Keesmaat.
About 15 years ago, Toronto and the regional government realised urban sprawl was destroying natural habitat and threatening the city’s water supply, so it was halted.
Ending sprawl involved significant negotiation with the development industry because a lot of developers had purchased farmland on the assumption they would be able to continue to develop ad nauseam, Keesmaat says.
Once the boundary was made clear it shifted the market and drove a significant amount of development into infill sites. Keesmaat says it was a “huge problem” if developers could lobby the government to move the urban boundary.
Melbourne’s boundary has expanded almost 100,000 hectares in a decade, with developers and planning ministers interpreting the urban “boundary” as a point of negotiation.
Keesmaat says the fundamental issue all cities must address when planning for growth is having “a very clear structure of where growth won’t go”, and limiting urban sprawl is part of that.
“It’s about identifying hubs where there is a very strong nexus of public transportation and an opportunity to accommodate mixed-use growth,” she says.
Toronto has a population of 2.48 million people, or 5.5 million in the greater Toronto area, and much of its development had been directed to the heart of the city. “We have built 177,000 units over the past 10 years and most of them have been in the core of the city, within two kilometres of the centre of the city,” Keesmaat says.
And while the Baillieu government pushes for a new freeway connecting the Eastern Freeway and City Link, Keesmaat says Toronto has moved beyond arguments about freeways and is instead debating whether to build more light rail or more expensive subways.
“That is the transportation of the future,” she says. “Creating environments where people can live and work and play all within walking distance . . . the ticket here is ensuring people can live where they work and the most ideal scenario is a quick transit [public transport] ride, or they can walk, or they can cycle.”
Walking to a childcare centre from her house in the government-planned and developed Aurora estate is not an option for Cara Horner, who is angered by a planning model that allows developers to walk away after carving up paddocks for housing.
“I have to drive to childcare in Epping because there’s not a childcare centre here yet,” she says.
“Those guys are coming out here, buying land at such a cheap rate, making such a profit off it, it seems like they’re the only people who are winning out of this.”
Developers are obliged to contribute only a fraction of the cost of delivering new infrastructure. Since a growth area infrastructure tax was introduced in 2010, Melbourne developers have contributed $33.4 million.
The 3.5-kilometre South Morang rail extension alone, which included new stations and line upgrades, cost $562 million.
The state government’s 20-minute city proposal is “a complete pipedream”, says Carolyn Whitzman, associate professor in urban planning at Melbourne University.
“Whether Melbourne has 4 million or 6 million people, we’re not travelling in a particularly equitable direction,” she says. “I don’t necessarily see population growth as a bad thing, it just has to be managed properly. Currently, we live in a socially divided and environmentally unsustainable city.”
Ruth Spielman, National Growth Areas Alliance executive officer, says growth areas across the country share common problems and the concept of a “tale of two cities” applies in terms of poorer outcomes in education, access to jobs, unemployment and housing stress.
Horner says there is a wider story to Melbourne’s crown as the world’s most liveable city.
“Melbourne is liveable for people who can afford it, or those who are lucky enough to grow up in an area that has all that transport,” she says. “For people on the fringes who have taken out 95 per cent mortgages, plus paying for petrol, it’s killing them.
“It shouldn’t be a ‘them and us’ thing in our city. We should all have equitable access; we all pay taxes and there should be better planning for that to occur.”