Bushfires have occupied our thoughts since February 7th especially when friends or relatives live in fire prone areas. Many people would know of someone who has suffered loss or injury and then the tragedy really hits home. Sadly the environmental movement in Victoria has lost a valued member with the death at Steele’s Creek of Jenny Barnett and her husband John .
Brad Jessup was welcomed to the Feb meeting. Brad, formerly with Freehills during the 2004 EES Panel Hearing into the Channel Deepening project, is now at the ANU researching whether an evolved concept of environmental justice can be transferred into environmental laws. One of his case studies is the Port Phillip Bay channel deepening project. Interviewing those of us who attended both the EES 2004 and the SEES 2007 hearings was the reason for the interview. Brad stayed for the meeting and listened to views of members who had issues with VCAT decisions and local government’s community ‘consultation’ process!.~
Grenda Bus Facility
Greenda Bus Facility in Springvale Road and in the Green Wedge went to VCAT 5th February. No decision as yet. Following on the discussion above concerning environmental justice it has been suggested that expert witnesses should be selected by VCAT rather than by the proponent who usually has a stable of well paid consultants who will deliver ‘expert advice’ ensuring a favourable decision but disadvantaging the self funded community members.
Crown Land Review
It was suggested that all public land should be included in the State Government’s review of Crown land in metropolitan Melbourne e.g. school grounds, land abutting rail lines, creek frontages etc. Rail land in excess of requirements at Edgars creek, Coburg is likely to be sold for $10 million while the community seek to retain the land for sorely needed open space. The Final report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council on Public Land Development provides some alarming examples of the State Government’s practice of selling Crown land as a means of revenue –raising including public land. The Committee notes the specific function of the Land and Property Group within the Department of Treasury and Finance to manage the sale of surplus Crown land to meet Government revenue targets . (p.60)
Cr West planned to raise the completion of the Kingston section of the bike track along the verge of Beach Road at the forthcoming Council Planning day. Coincidentally the Bayside Council discussed their section of the bike track at a Council meeting 17th February.
Rod asked your secretary to be one of nine three minute speakers in favour of a continuation of the back of kerb route from Cromer Road, Beaumaris to Charman Road ,Mentone. To the surprise and delight of the contingent Bayside Council have agreed to defer a decision and continue to lobby VicRoads for approval to use the existing verge as part of the track. VicRoads want to increase this section of Beach Road to four lanes. Why?
George Woods Reserve
Council officer Munir Vahanvati reported that development of a master plan for the reserve is uncertain – dependent on when council can appoint an external consultant. “With the development of a Master Plan there will be some level of community consultation.” Thanks, Munir!
Friends of Kingston Heath Reserve
Members have investigated the baseball pitching area and are unhappy with its location on the western part of the reserve and request that it be moved for the following reasons: There has been no permit issued for the construction of the pitching area therefore it is an illegal structure; it encroaches on the passive recreation area, which according to the Kingston Heath Reserve Master plan must remain the status quo; it is very close to a newly constructed pathway and is therefore a danger to other park users. They are concerned about Council’s policy of this type of illegal construction on pubic land.
Gunower, Koondrook Perricoota
Story telling info was sent out by Verity McLucas now working with Environment Victoria.Unfortunately it’s too late to enter but there are workshops in Bendigo for anyone interested in participating.
New Residential Zones for Victoria
The Dept of Planning & Community Development have kindly delivered a box of 10 copies of the document and are calling for subs. Here is your opportunity to object if you don’t want to find three storeys (or more) developments in your suburban limited or incremental change zones, or four storey’s (or more) in substantial change zones.
Related to the issue above why not purchase a copy of the book by Mark O’Connor and William Lines and suggest to the Dept of Planning that if we had a lower rate of population growth they would not need to wreck the neighbourhood by cramming high density development into low rise suburbs – and increasing CO2 emissions and water and energy problems while they are about it.
When Brad left our meeting he offered to have a look at our brochure and redesign it. So lets hear what you think of the presentation and possible changes.
Mordialloc Creek Wetlands Development at Aspendale Gardens
Appears to be some concern amongst AGRA members with the closeness of factories on the industrial land to Mordialloc Creek and proposed wetland.”It appears that the long term community needs have been ignored.For example the factories will be built on fill which will raise the height of buildings 1.5 metres presenting an eyesore to the Aspendale Gardens community” Meetings have been held between Melbourne Water and Jonathon Guttman to discuss these matters.