News

Communities speak out against North East Link

Alarm at the potential impact of North East Link is ramping up.

At a recent forum in Eltham, The Greens MP, Samantha Dunn, stated she believes the four proposed options are “pitting communities against each other”.

Ms Dunn called for communities to unite to oppose the construction of the North East Link in any form.

“It doesn’t matter where it is… it isn’t the right direction for Melbourne, it’s not going to solve the problems that you have it’s going to create enormous impacts in your communities… it doesn’t matter which part of northern Melbourne you live in, if this project goes ahead it is going to impact your area,” Ms Dunn said.

Greens advisor Alex Mark told the forum:

“All of the options lead to a loss of amenity, community facilities, schools and established residences, they carve up greenspace and require the acquisition of parkland, they generate pollution, they generate more traffic on local roads… all of them will further entrench car dependency and urban sprawl.

“What hasn’t been shown by the North East Link Authority (NELA) yet is that they will create land use change so you will see, light residential become commercial, industrial or far higher density residential areas — and that is not something that is reversible,” he said.

Mr Marks then put forward a suite of public transport projects which, combined, would cost less for the toll road, including upgrading rail, bus and tram and freight services to better serve the north east of Melbourne.

Manningham council have sent out a survey to gauge residents’ views on the project.

Manningham Council say they will use the data advocate on behalf of its residents on the preferred route and the design priorities.

The survey is open until 5pm November 17. Councillor Paul McLeish told the Diary he is arguing for improved public transport to be factored in to the plan.

“The North East Link at this point essentially completely fails to address public transport in any meaningful way — there is no inclusion of park and ride facilities, there is no expansion of existing park and ride facilities contemplated in any form there is no apparent consideration of heavy rail.

“If you are trying to plan for Melbourne for 30 years, which is what this infrastructure is about, in 30 years the population will be between 7–8 million people living in the city of Melbourne and you are going to need that outer loop rail just to make the rail network function,“ said Cr McLeish. Meanwhile the recently launched North East Link Forum (NELF) combines residents’ associations of Warrandyte, Park Orchards and Donvale who have come together to respond to issues around Route B and C, which would most likely impact these areas.

“These proposed routes would mean a 3km stretch of six-lane freeway thundering through the valley,” said NELF spokesperson Carli Lange-Boutle.

“We have followed the NE Link Authorities guidelines and have learnt nothing further to help us truly understand the impact on local roads, traffic, environment and residents…we are calling on Warrandytians to actively lobby against the impacts of Route B and C and join us in defending our Village character, our natural Yarra River valley bush land and surrounding Green Wedge buffers,” she said.

To have your say, Manningham Councillor Sophy Galbally has announced she will be holding a No Highway in Green Wedge protest at Stintons Reserve on Sunday, November 26 from 11am–1pm or contact NELF northeastlinkforum@gmail.com for information on how to get involved with their campaign.

Pigeon Bank application batted back to VCAT

THE SUPREME Court has dismissed the 2 Pigeon Bank Road case meaning it will now go to VCAT in January for a full hearing.

As reported in last month’s Diary, the case was originally heard on September 12 but Justice Kevin Bell reserved his decision until November 2.

Costs of the case are to be paid by the applicant, Phillip Mannerheim Holdings Pty Ltd. In a complicated legal case, which hinged on whether an email to Nillumbik Shire Council sent by neighbour Kim Cope was an objection or a submission; the court determined Mr Cope’s “polite” email represented an “expression of opposition” to the grant of the permit, and clarified that as being “a term of description ex post facto not a condition of eligibility a priori” which means Mr Cope’s email met all the requirements of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 for lodging an objection, and that VCAT’s earlier decision to continue with the case was valid.

Mr Cope was in attendance and spoke to the Diary following the decision.

“We are very happy with this judgment which enables us to move forward from here in the knowledge that the previous VCAT decisions were sound”.

Phillip Mannerheim, the applicant, whose planning application had been approved by Nillumbik Shire Council with conditions before the objectors took the case to VCAT, told the Diary “whilst disappointed by the Court’s decision, I will now be preparing for the Tribunal hearing in January next year.

“Council will be supporting my dwelling proposal, which is consistent with what has occurred on all of the surrounding lots (including on lots owned by people who oppose it) but will be more sensitively designed to the landscape and safer in terms of bushfire risks”.

The matter will now return to VCAT for a full hearing commencing on January 22 and set down for four days. If the VCAT hearing goes ahead in January, the Diary will report on the VCAT case in the February edition.

2 Pigeon Bank timeline up to this point

April: Planning application approved by Nillumbik, neighbour Kim Cope lodges a case with VCAT.

May: Original Objector Kim Cope and a collection of neighbours and community groups are allowed to for the coalition of objectors. Communityy groups involved in this coalition are the Warrandyte Community Association, Friends of Nillumbik and the Green Wedge Protection Group

July: After VCAT decide to go to Tribunal after the Practice Day Hearing, planning applicant Phillip Mannerheim takes VCAT’s decision to the Supreme Court (Warrandyte Diary July 2017, page 4)

October: Pigeon Bank has its day in court, the judge reserves his decision (Warrandyte Diary October 2017, page 5)

Community reaction

THE PLANNING application battle over 2 Pigeon Bank Road has attracted support from community groups on both sides of the arguement. In support of Kim Cope, a coalition of objectors approved by VCAT at the practice day hearing earlier in the year which includes the Warrandyte Community Association (WCA).

Not only did the WCA represent the coalition at the Supreme Court hearing but also sought representation for the coalition from not-for-profit environmental justice organisation Environmental Justice Australia (EJA).

Following the decision by Justice Kevin Bell, Nillumbik Pro Active Landowners (PALs) have released a statement in support of Phillip Mannerheim’s application to build on his land and their reaction to the Supreme Court decision.

Below are statements from groups on both sides of the argument.

 

 

Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) and Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) joint statement in reaction to the Supreme Court decision

 

The Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) welcomes the Supreme Court’s confirmation that everyday people can object to inappropriate developments in their community without their objections needing to pass specific legalistic hurdles,” said WCA spokesperson Jonathan Upson.

“Now that the Supreme Court has enabled the VCAT appeal to proceed, the WCA and other parties look forward to the opportunity to argue that clear-felling 740 trees to build one house on a ridgeline with nice views directly contradicts the Nillumbik and State Government planning schemes and requirements.

“The developer’s lawyers made it clear that if we were to fight this case and lose, they would seek an order for their legal costs against us. Therefore, I would like to acknowledge the courage of the three Community Associations – the WCA, Friends of Nillumbik and Green Wedge Protection Group – and several individuals who were parties to this case.

“The WCA, on behalf of the other parties, would like to sincerely thank Environmental Justice Australia for their invaluable assistance in prosecuting the Supreme Court case on our behalf.”

Environmental Justice Australia said the decision affirmed the importance of community participation in planning.

“Justice Bell’s decision represents a victory for common sense and fairness,” said Environmental Justice Australia CEO Brendan Sydes.

“The court’s decision emphasises the importance of minimising technicality and the value of community participation in our planning system.

“EJA is pleased to have been able to support the community in ensuring they can have a say about the important planning and environment issues raised by this permit application.”

 

Nillumbik Pro Active Landowners (PALs) statement in support of Phillip Mannerheim and in reaction to the Supreme Court decision

 

NILLUMBIK PALs welcomes the decision of the Victorian Supreme Court as it provides clarity in relation to the Mannerheim application to Council.

The Supreme Court action was purely related to a legal interpretation of a point of law.

It was not a result that confirmed a person’s right to object.

This was never an action that challenged that basic right. Further, it was not a reference to, or consideration of, the merits of the application. The merits will be determined by VCAT in January 2018.

PALs is conducting an online petition in support of Mr. Mannerheim’s right to build his home. To date this petition has 938 signatures.

This represents an incredible level of local support and as usual, sits in stark contrast to the mere handful that object.

“Objectors” now attached to the application were a result of implanted confected outrage based on highly emotive and misleading information.

Having completed their own buildings, they now oppose Mr. Mannerheim wishing to do the same, the hypocrisy is breathtaking.

PALs strongly support the Mannerheim application and will provide every possible assistance to ensure that this environmentally conscious home can be built delivering a superior end result than the existing vacant site.

Bushfire Management Overlay changes in Nillumbik

 

By end of business today, the owners of 3,777 properties in Nillumbik will have been notified if they are affected by an update to the State Government’s Bushfire Management Overlay(BMO).

The changes to the BMO are a result from the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, a report which was triggered by the terrible bushfires of February 7 2009 — Black Saturday — which killed 173 people.

The BMO is applied to properties where the chance of extreme bushfire is high, the updated overlay will affect any future planning applications.

Nillumbik residents in North Warrandyte may not experience any changes as these areas are already in the existing BMO, but anybody on the borders of major urban areas in the Shire (such as Research and Kangaroo Ground) may now find they are under the updated BMO.

Nillumbik residents with any queries about the updated BMO can call the Council’s dedicated BMO customer service line on 9433 3209 or visit planning.vic.gov.au for further information and maps to check if you are affected.

Open Day season for Warrandyte

THIS OCTOBER is the time for Warrandyte’s institutions to open their doors to the public with a range of open days to learn about some of the town’s special places.

Warrandyte Community Centre

Warrandyte Community Centre in Yarra Street will be holding an Open Day from 10am–3pm on Saturday October 28.

There will be activities for all to enjoy, face painting, magic, music and more. One highlight of the day will be a fantastic free Cartooning Workshop by the Diary’s own Jock Macneish. Budding cartoonist of all ages can come along and learn from the Diary’s master of mirth on how to get inspiration onto paper – get in quick because places will fill up fast. A host of other free activities will be on offer at the Community Centre: Manningham Library will have special story-time; Neighbourhood House will be offering a range of free classes; indigenous history will be on display with a presentation by the Diary’s Indigenous columnist, Jim Poulter; Journalism as Art will bring to life the Diary’s almost 50 years of telling Warrandyte’s news; a special performance by Enchoir; and a treasure hunt to help find how to get the most out of your Community Centre.

Have a coffee or a sausage while enjoying music in the centre’s indigenous garden.

CFA — meet the brigades

North Warrandyte Fire Brigade will be holding an open day from 11am–2pm on Sunday October 22 where kids can get into and look around the fire trucks (with CFA members’ supervision), play on the jumping castle, enjoy the free sausage sizzle, while adults can obtain information on fire behaviour and safety and join a discussion on making a fire plan with the Warrandyte bridge closure in mind.

District 14 Community Education Coordinator, Rohan Thornton said that all residents should look at adapting their plan to account for restricted use of the Warrandyte Bridge.

“The bridgeworks this summer will have a massive effect on how people should plan,” he said.

Warrandyte Fire Brigade also opening their doors on Saturday October 28, offering information on fire awareness and preparedness.

Both fire brigades will also provide information about how you can help the brigade through becoming a fire fighter or joining as an auxiliary member.

Crystal Brook

October also sees Crystal Brook Tourist Park holding open days every Sunday in October, where the park will open its gates to explore their facilities.

Manningham Council to review and develop budget on stormwater drains

THE TOPOGRAPHY of Manningham and the noticeably wetter weather we are experiencing means flooding is becoming a real and regular issue for residents. In a move to combat this, Manningham Council passed a supplementary motion to improve, prioritise and ultimately increase maintenance, development and budget of Manningham’s drainage network at their council meeting on September 26.

Earlier in the proceedings, Council passed a motion to continue to proceed the Land Subject to Inundation Overlay (LSIO) and Special Building Overlay Schedule 1 (SBO1) to Panel but abandon SBO2 and SBO3. LSIO and SBO overlays are already part of Manningham’s planning process but Amendment C109 is designed to “introduce and/or review the application….in relation to 10,300 properties in Manningham” which have been identified by Melbourne Water and Council as at risk of flooding if a 1–in-100-year storm occurs.

The three new SBO schedules are designed to identify who the responsible authority is and if the flooding is likely to be above or below 100mm.

The motion put forward is to continue to take LSIO and SBO1 to Panel, these overlays will be applied to properties which are built on a natural floodplain or who are at risk of flooding due to “Melbourne Water assets”.

SBO2 and SBO3, which have been abandoned for the moment were to be applied to properties which are subject to flooding due to Manningham Council assets and where stormwater is likely to flood above 100mm (SBO2) or up to 100mm (SBO3).

As a result of this alternate motion being passed, Cr Mcleish put forward a supplementary motion which will use the information collected and the current budget allowance of $10.8M to “prepare a plan to increase that investment for the next budget”.

At the meeting, Cr McLeish said: “Our community hasn’t been aware of the moves we have been making because they are lost in the detail of a budget and lost in the details of our planning processes for that budget; that’s what happens when you are running a business that is $120M and you are making subtle changes to improve fundamental investment.”

Ideally, a council decision which allowed for SBO2 and SBO3 to continue to Panel would equip the council and landowners with the information needed to better protect their properties and future developments from flooding, but the supplement motion to use the information the C109 consultation process has gathered to make our drainage system more efficient is, at least, a step towards a drier solution for our community on the Manningham side of the river.