Monthly Archives: July 2015

Warrandyte residents petition Manningham council to oppose petrol station at VCAT

WARRANDYTE residents turned out in force to petition Manningham City Council in opposition to the construction of the proposed petrol station near the roundabout in Yarra Street.

The submitters meeting at council offices was attended by the three Mullum Mullum ward councillors, mayor Cr Paul McLeish, Cr Meg Downie and Cr Sophie Galbally, and Cr Dot Haynes.

Dick Davies presented on behalf of the WCA, and Grant Waldram and Maurice Burley on behalf of the Warrandyte Character Protection Group. Several residents also presented a case against what they believe to be “inappropriate development”.

davies

WCA president Mr Davies

Residents made a case suggesting the development would be a first in what is supposed to be a Neighbourhood Residential Zone, that it would completely marr the ‘Gateway to Warrandyte’ aspect at the roundabout, that it could not be considered part of the West End complex, that disturbance as a result of all night access would be a problem, that bushfire and water contamination risks were exacerbated and many other concerns. WCA called on council to strongly oppose the appeal to VCAT with legal counsel and expert witnesses.

The developer declined to attend the submitters meeting and has appealed directly to VCAT.

The VCAT hearing is on October 19 and will last five days. At the request of the WCA, VCAT has ordered the proponent to produce new plans by August 14 allowing all parties two months to review the new plans before the hearing.

The WCA submission reads:

WCA Submission to the MCC submitters hearing

Officers report on 1,3,5 yarra street (pl13/023819)

The Warrandyte Community Association has a mandate from its membership to:

  • Promote all aspects of community life in Warrandyte
  • Defend the character and heritage of the Township, and
  • Protect the environment and encourage restoration and regeneration of native flora and fauna.

Our feedback over the years is that any new development should preserve this character and feel of Warrandyte.

Consequently, WCA has adopted the view that any large development, such as a fuel outlet, must blend in with the heritage character and environmental aspects of the Township. It is our view that the current proposal for a petrol station at 1,3,5 Yarra Street does not meet these criteria. While some might want a service station in Warrandyte, it is impossible to drive more than 10 minutes without finding one – some of which operate 7 x 24.

The WCA is one of 68 local objectors to this proposal. We oppose the current plan on the grounds of Traffic management, Visual amenity, Heritage streetscape, Loss of roadside vegetation and Environmental concerns.

Specifically these are:

  • As detailed in the Council Officers’ report, the proposal is inconsistent with Council’s planning scheme and neighbourhood character provisions. The scale and intensity of the proposal is an overdevelopment of the site from many perspectives.
  • By any reasonable judgement, the proposal fails to satisfy Clause 52.15 of the planning scheme, which states that: “The amenity of the locality must not be adversely affected by activity on site, the appearance of any building, works, or materials, emissions from the premises or in any other way.” There is no way that the proposal can come close to meeting this criterion.
  • Neighbourhood Residential Zone is the most restrictive of the Government’s three residential zones. There are no service stations in other NRZ. This would be the first , making a mockery of the purpose of the NRZ, which is —“to manage and ensure that development respects identified neighbourhood character, heritage, environmental or landscape characteristics”.
  • The Design and Development Overlay 3 (DDO3) adds another layer to the NRZ. The proposal appears to be in direct contravention of the objectives of the overlay.

(which seeks to ensure that:

  1. development responds to the area’s environmental characteristics;
  2. development recognises the existing infrastructure capacities and does not generate demand for extensive upgrades of infrastructure, including the standard of roads and drainage;
  3. development responds to the area’s environmental characteristics, including topography, soils and vegetation;
  4. development is sympathetic to the existing built form and style and retains the predominance of single detached housing and discourages other forms of works.)
  • No other businesses operate 24 x 7 in Warrandyte. The lights, traffic noise and disturbance would be unreasonable in a residential zone. The presence of a 7 x 24 convenience store (that could easily morph into a fast food outlet) would significantly change the character and ‘Country Town’ feel.
  • Furthermore, there is the potential for contamination in the flood zone.
  • Also there will be additional traffic impacts on an area already suffering significant congestion.
  • Removal of six large mature yellow box gumtrees contradicts the objectives and guidelines in the planning scheme for this area.

We note that the applicant has decided to bypass appropriate Council procedures with a direct appeal to VCAT, with changes that may appeal to the referral authorities, rather than amend the application to address the issues raised by Council Officers. At the request of the WCA, VCAT has ordered the proponent to produce new plans by August 14th allowing two months to review the new plans before the hearing.

We support the Manningham Council Officers Report (PL 13/023819) which proposes that Council oppose the application to VCAT. We urge Council to vigorously oppose this application and dedicate significant resources to fight it, including, but not limited to:

  • An experienced planning lawyer with a track record of defeating inappropriate developments at VCAT, and
  • Expert witnesses as recommended by the planning solicitor.

If this proposal were to be built, the character of Warrandyte, a resource not just for the residents but all of Melbourne, would be significantly and detrimentally affected.

We thank you for your time in consideration of this matter.

Dick Davies, President, Warrandyte Community Association Inc.

 

VIDEO: Striking a chord

The Diary embarked upon a musical mission to get a taste of what Warrandyte and surrounds has to offer.  We had a chat to local bands The Scrimshaw Four, Sunborne, The Teskey Brothers and Selling Time to gauge their thoughts on the music scene in the eastern suburbs, as well as their own musical endeavours. Check it out below!

Bridge too far?

SHOULD we be careful what we wish for? The Manningham Leader carried a story last month under the heading One Bridge Not Enough saying hundreds of “squeaky wheels” were “demanding VicRoads build a second crossing of the Yarra River in Warrandyte”.

The impetus behind this demand is a petition launched by local resident, Jan Freeman, which is receiving much attention on social media. Long traffic queues at peak times and concern about outcomes in the event of a major bushfire have fuelled support for the petition.

Historically, the problem has arisen because Warrandyte has one of only three bridges that span the Yarra River in the north east of Melbourne. The others are Fitzsimons Lane at Templestowe (also very busy at peak times) and Vasey Houghton Bridge at Yarra Glen. With population growth and greater vehicle numbers, traffic through the township has increased over the years leading to the long queues at peak times.

This severely impacts Warrandyte residents, particularly those who live north of the river, in both the morning and afternoon peak periods and there is naturally a desire to see improvements. But more bridges mean more roads, a wider bridge means widened roads and, no matter what, better traffic conditions leads to more, not less, traffic as improved travel times attract more drivers from other congested routes.

There is anecdotal evidence that the failure so far to link the Metropolitan Ring Road to the Eastern Freeway and Eastlink has led to traffic finding alternative routes and river crossings through the north-eastern suburbs. Despite calls to complete the so-called “missing link”, through the Banyule Flats and Yarra River area which would entail another river bridge, no action appears forthcoming.

That is despite calls as recently as April this year when the RACV identified the “missing link’’ as its No.1 priority and called on the state government to fund it. However, the Banyule plan is actively opposed by local groups seeking to protect their area’s environmental values.

There is no doubt that Warrandyte’s topography, environmental sensitivity and history also presents many challenges for road and traffic planners seeking to improve traffic flow and the river crossing. The question must be asked, how much is the Warrandyte community prepared to compromise to achieve a better traffic outcome at peak periods?

Many solutions have been suggested in the past, ranging from a proposed Yarra Street widening and realignment in the 1980s (vehemently opposed by the com- munity) to a bridge from Bradleys Lane to Everard Drive more recently (discounted by authorities). Dick Davies, president of the Warrandyte Community Association (WCA), said recently that up until now everybody had a solution to Warrandyte’s traffic problems but nobody had data, so a VicRoads traffic report on the bridge road network, due in August, will be most welcome and should assist in identifying problems and solutions.

In addition, $140,000 has been budgeted to investigate ways to improve the bridge’s traffic capacity during an emergency, including widening and strengthening the bridge. An emergency situation is the greatest impetus for change. The current bridge has served our community well for nearly 60 years. No doubt the community will wish to be involved in any plans for change in order to protect the amenity and historical connections particularly if change leads to modifications to Yarra Street or the historic streetscape.

To return to the original question do we need to be careful what we wish for?

While much attention has been focused on the bridge do we want to see it vastly altered, especially if it leads to major road changes as a result?

While much attention has been focused on the traffic line in Yarra Street at peak periods which so infuriates motorists, what changes can we hope for given this type of congestion happens at most major river crossings (even those on major arterial roads such as Fitzsimons Lane or Banksia Street)?

Can we accept that traffic congestion has the effect of deterring some traffic and that increasing capacity will attract more, not less, traffic as has been experienced elsewhere? Should we be more focused on the broader area solutions such as the Northern Arterial extension from Reynolds Road to the Maroondah Highway?

One thing is for sure – the debate, petitions and lobbying will persist as long as the line of traffic continues to snake along the township’s roads.

 

Bloods fall in thriller

WARRANDYTE suffered an upset one-point loss to Kilsyth at Pinks Reserve on the weekend, in one of the most captivating games of the Eastern Football League Division 4 season.

Despite holding a slender lead into the final change, Kilsyth surged late in a frantic last quarter to topple the Bloods, who
were without key player Arthur Lamaris. Warrandyte was the victim of a couple of questionable umpiring decisions late in the final term, which shifted momentum and allowed Kilsyth to see the game out.

The loss means Warrandyte holds top position on the ladder over Forest Hill only by percentage, with both sides recording 10 wins and two losses so far this season.

Both sides started slowly out of the blocks in icy conditions and shots on goal were at a premium. A lack of talk in the middle between Warrandyte players was evident, as poor communication resulted in turnovers and errors as the Bloods tried to break the lines.

Poor kicking for goal cost the Bloods dearly in the opening term, registering four behinds after kicking their opener.

Warrandyte was playing the game in their half of the ground, but star Kilsyth forward Jay Sherlock kicked true after a strong constested mark to give the home team a three-point lead going into the first change.

The second term began much in the same vein as the first. Luke Dunn managed to boot an early goal to give the Bloods the lead back, but again Kilsyth respond- ed.

A lack of presence at ground level in the forward line for Warrandyte meant Kilsyth was able to mop up when the ball hit the deck and rebound effectively before the Bloods could set up.

Another classy Sherlock goal at the end of the term gave Kilsyth a nine-point lead at half-time.

Often known as the premiership quarter, Warrandyte showed
an increased level of desire at the beginning of the third term. Chad Gauci, who had the ball on a string throughout the first half, kicked a terrific goal to start the Bloods surge.

Suddenly, Warrandyte’s tall for- ward line was firing on all cylinders and three quick goals to Lee Evans had the Bloods fans in full voice approaching the final term.

The six-goal period saw Warrandyte start the fourth quarter with a 17-point lead. What followed was a terrific display in running end-to-end football, with both sides using the corridor at breakneck speed. Kilsyth kicked the opening major to cut the lead down to 10, but Luke Dunn replied just seconds later for Warrandyte.

However, Kilsyth’s big names stood up when it counted. Sherlock and Ben Mullett began to win the footy in dangerous areas and Mullett put through a big goal to give Kilsyth a seven-point lead just minutes from time.

Warrandyte scrambled one through late to bring the deficit to just one point, but the siren sounded to deny the Bloods victory. The final score: 13.5.83 to 12.10 82.

The defeat ends a run of three consecutive victories for the Bloods, including a 120-point crushing of Surrey Park and wins over Ferntree Gully and Glen Waverley. Ashley Froud was particularly dominant, booting 19 majors in the three games to cement his place on top of the goalkicking table.

With six games left of the regular season, the Bloods are in prime position to secure a top two position heading into finals and with key players Luke Dunn and Lee Evans returning to fitness and key onballer Lamaris to come back, the side will only get stronger.

The Reserves have also continued their good form, defeating Kilsyth in a scrappy affair. Dominant 100-plus point victories against Surrey Park and Glen Waverley book-ended a convincing victory over Ferntree Gully.

Gareth Hitchman’s goalkicking has been spectacular in recent weeks, backing up an 11-goal performance against Surrey Park with eight majors against Ferntree Gully.

Hitchman now has 60 goals for the year in just 11 games and a couple more large hauls could bring the century within reach.

Sitting second on the ladder with 11 wins behind the unbeaten Forest Hill, the Reserves will aim to chase down the division leaders throughout the back half of the season.

The Under 19s have moved into third place on the ladder after
a routine win against Kilsyth, restricting their opposition to just one goal. A close loss to Surrey Park and a defeat at the hands of Ferntree Gully saw the U19s slipping slightly, but a big win over Forest Hill steadied the ship ahead of the Kilsyth fixture.

The Bloods face off against Forest Hill away this week, in a big clash which could decide who tops the EFL ladder come the end of the season.