Tag Archives: Warrandyte Historical Association

What is 21st Century Warrandyte

RECENT DISCUSSION in the pages of the Diary has focused attention on the question: What do we want Warrandyte to be?
That is, what do we want the physical character of Warrandyte to be?
Do we want to keep it as a low-density bushland suburb, semi-rural in parts, centred on the environment, the Yarra River, and its heritage connection to the gold rush days and local rock construction?
Or is this concept of Warrandyte one we should leave behind and face up to ever-spreading suburbia: growing population with more subdivision; grander houses; less open space; sacrificing the trees for more buildings; more concrete footpaths, curb and channel guttering – in other words, is it inevitable that Warrandyte should become more like a typical Melbourne suburb?
Or is there something in the middle?
What is your view of the future of Warrandyte?
The question isn’t just an abstract one.
It comes up when Council starts to address drainage, pedestrian safety, and road treatments.
It comes up when Council considers planning permits involving vegetation removal or what constitutes acceptable outbuildings associated with a dwelling.
It comes up in discussions about traffic flows and whether roads should be widened to accommodate more traffic to reduce traffic jams.
It comes up when landowners want to clear their block.

Recent example: Taroona Avenue

The proposal to build a shared pedestrian and bike path down Taroona Avenue sparked a strong reaction from residents over how tree removal, kerb and channel, removal of gravel shoulder used for parking and extensive underground drainage would impact the area’s visual amenity.
Council listened to community views, and we believe a less intrusive option that will still meet the needs of pedestrians and cyclists is under consideration.

Recent example: planning in North Warrandyte

As other suburbs become concrete jungles with hard surfaces covering every square metre with almost no vegetation, keeping Warrandyte as a bush and garden suburb requires a constant effort to maintain the planning regulations.
For example, a recent application in North Warrandyte’s low-density residential zone sought to expand the outbuildings and hard surfaces well beyond that which could reasonably be associated with domestic housing.
This application sought the removal of significant amounts of vegetation along with commercial-sized shedding on top of an existing double garage and large shed, which was also proposed to be expanded.
Applications like this are really commercial in scale, masquerading as domestic.
The more this type of development is allowed, the more the residential neighbourhood character is progressively destroyed.

Infrastructure core principles for Warrandyte

In discussions with Manningham Council officers, the Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) has floated a number of proposals around the question of how infrastructure works should be approached in Warrandyte.
Proposals have covered topics such as: What core principles should govern infrastructure works in Warrandyte?
How can Council engage in community consultation at the earliest possible design development stage instead of at the end of the process?
Can Council adopt a process of context-sensitive design for infrastructure works and adopt design guidelines and design treatments sensitive to neighbourhood character, environmental concerns, and historical features?
Local conservation stonemason James Charlwood and bushland expert Glenn Jameson have proposed several core principles that could be considered foundational for infrastructure works around our town.
To summarise and inspire, WCA believe new infrastructure projects in Warrandyte should: recognise, protect, and emulate Warrandyte’s historic character protect indigenous vegetation, and new planting should attempt to emulate the natural ecology, recognise that Warrandyte is the premier riverfront township and should enhance water quality, protect the banks of the river and its tributaries, and support the principle that slow water is good water, facilitate pedestrian safety and enjoyment, reduce fire risk by managing moisture and vegetation to reduce fuel load and hazard, foster storm abatement by slowing and retaining water to reduce storm impact and, foster sustainability by using natural materials instead of concrete wherever possible.
Concrete is one of the main contributors to global warming. It damages topsoil, the most fertile layer of the earth, and it creates hard surfaces, leading to runoff that can cause soil erosion, water pollution and flooding.
Natural materials reduce our carbon footprint and are reusable.
James has researched replacement stone suitable for high-stress applications such as kerbs and gutters, which is geologically and visually compatible with local Warrandyte stone.
He has a deep understanding of design and specification for the use of stone in civic applications.
Other local professionals such as retired civil engineers Maurice Burley and Doug Seymour have developed ideas around a context-sensitive design process and infrastructure treatments that are alternatives to the standard “concrete everything approach” typical of suburban infrastructure.
These will be explored in future articles.
We will also cover issues related to the health of the Yarra and how drainage treatments impact the river, creeks, and the natural environment.

We are all in this together

Warrandyte is a connected community, and if we are going to lobby government at all levels to create a 21st Century Warrandyte that genuinely represents its community, then the people that make up that community need to share their views.
The ideas presented in this opening article are just one set of ideas; whether you agree or disagree or have an alternative concept for Warrandyte, you need to tell us – so that, as the Environment League did in the 70s and 80s, the community is bound by a set of ideals that say “this is my home”.
Please get in touch with WCA via their website and send your thoughts and ideas to: editor@warrandytediary.com.au.

Will Placemaking destroy Warrandyte’s spirit of place?

By SANDI MILLER
MANNINGHAM Council has been busy around Warrandyte.
Council appears to be busily adapting our environment to a new modern aesthetic.
They call it “Placemaking”.
A new park and playground at the bridge, a newly landscaped garden behind the community centre, a new barbeque area at Warrandyte Reserve, and they proudly claim that we now have every road paved and seem to be working towards having every footpath concreted.
Wonderful, you might say.
But did they ask us?
As part of the Manningham 2040 Strategy, the council did in fact ask, and the feedback it received, and has recently endorsed, was “the key priorities/concerns for Warrandyte Village were about maintaining Warrandyte’s character, keeping it green and improving connection to the Yarra River and along Yarra Street.”
Instead, Council has rolled out infrastructure “upgrades” and “masterplans” with breathtaking regularity, sometimes giving consultation short shrift.
Even before the community consultation is completed on the Taroona Avenue shared path, they have excavated a new spoon drain installed a culvert beside the small oval, and installed a concrete barbeque area on what was once a green lawn.
At the Community Centre, at least one established eucalypt tree has been removed above and beyond the masterplan.
The footpath at the bottom of Webb Street was meant to be just that, a paved path – however, they seem to have cheekily taken the opportunity to install curb and channel gutters alongside the new path – and have conveniently forgotten to apply the promised colour treatment that was meant to allow it to blend into the surrounding landscape.
Since the last edition of the Diary went to print, the cement trucks have rolled in across the township, and there have been massive concrete pours at the Community Centre, Warrandyte Reserve, Stiggants Reserve, and wonguim wilam.
As we discuss what we want Warrandyte to be in this edition, it seems “what we are” has already been changed.
The Wurundjeri speak of tika lara, Spirit of Place.
Warrandyte has always had a strong tika lara, but Manningham Council has come in with Placemaking as if we don’t already have one. We HAVE a place – we ARE a place.
Placemaking could be the word of 2022, a high-concept bureaucratic buzzword born out of the depressing realisation – during lockdown – that Melbourne’s inner-city suburbs did not have a sense of place – or a place to be.
But does that make it a good fit for us, and is it justification to tame our Wild Warrandyte?

For additional coverage of this issue, see pages 3-7 of the August 2022 Warrandyte Diary

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