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We need to talk about Planning – Survey of election candidates

Community groups across Victoria have joined together to survey candidates on the conduct and direction of Planning in Victoria.

The Survey was drafted by SOS and a wide range of groups have joined the survey. These include some of our smallest newest residents groups and also long standing state wide groups like Green Wedges, Protectors of Public Lands, Planning Backlash and the Public Transport Users Association.

The Survey asks about local issues and key issues of concern including:

  • The need for VCAT reform and better protection of local amenity
  • Whether we have a failure of independent, long term infrastructure planning
  • Failure to secure the Urban Growth Boundary and Green Wedges
  • Whether the increasing deregulation and privatisation of planning is in Victoria’s interest
  • Whether Victoria has ‘an inappropriate culture of undue influence and political opportunism’
  • Whether candidates support reform of political donations laws

The survey results will published early November and will be used to inform voters, particularly in marginal seats.

Further Inquiry – See survey and media release attached
Ian Wood   (President, Save Our Suburbs) 0424 104 274
Ann Birrell  (Vice-President, Save Our Suburbs)  0419 550 538
info@sos.asn.au

Candidate Survey on Planning issues 10 October 2014

Media Candidate Survey 10 October 2014

Victorian Environment and Planning Community Groups, including:
Green Wedges Coalition
Protectors of Public Lands
Planning Backlash
Public Transport Users Association
Ratepayers Victoria Inc
Save Albert Park
Yarra River keepers Association
Docklands Community Association
Residents Against Inappropriate Development in Doncaster
Fitzroy Residents Association
West of Elgar Residents Association
East Enders
Western Region Environment Centre

Please contact SOS at if you wish to be included as a a supporting organisation info@sos.asn.au.

The Great Population Debate – two very different perspectives on our future

Last Monday, on 13 October, at the Deakin Edge, the Lord Mayor and ALP Kelvin Thompson presented two very different views of Melbourne and the impact of population growth.

Robert Doyle started the debate enthusiastically defending population growth, saying increased population made for a more interesting city and ‘generates prosperity’. He boasted about how well Melbourne City had grown, how proud he was of the number of coffee shops and rate of CBD development and population growth. He defended multiculturalism, suggesting opponents of population growth must be anti multiculturalism. He said we could have clever growth. He drew parallels with the way we reduced water consumption in the late 2000s. He said Melbournians needed to adapt. He said we could put 2.3m people along existing infrastructure hubs, using only 6% of Melbourne’s land. In any event, he said he didn’t know how it could be stopped. He said ‘population growth was inevitable … because this is the way we are’.

Kelvin Thomson had a very different view of Melbourne, a ‘high rise boom dominated by high rise buildings – not only poor design but in the wrong places’ and the CBD as ‘Cold Big and Dysfunctional’. He spoke about more intrusive government, increased inequality and crime, economic impacts and infrastructure failure with higher population. He referred to impending environmental crises – ‘treating the Earth as a state in liquidation … with many species on a short, fast road to extinction’. He said our kids did not have the opportunities we had and faced an ‘axis of … housing shortage, unemployment, education debt and increased depression’. Thomson also had very different ideas of social justice and economic imperatives and referred to success of low growth Scandinavian countries with low currencies, low unemployment, free education and budget surplus. He concluded saying that we faced a ‘world broken by rapid population growth – global warming, poverty and terrorism, made by those who own the world [corporate interests, those promoting growth]’.

After lengthy question time, almost entirely supporting less growth, Mary Drost from Planning Backlash thanked both speakers. She then asked whether they supported a referendum on the population growth policy. Thompson supported the referendum, Doyle reluctantly conceded but seemed to suggest there wasn’t much point to a referendum!

Video of the debate can be found at: www.vimeo.com/109557086

SOS Newsletter 31: Residents Voice 30 September 2014

SOS Newsletter #31:  Members will have recently received a copy by post & now the online version is here : SOS Newsletter Residents Voice 30 September 2014

In this issue:

  • President’s Address: Key Performance
  • Indicators cut from Plan Melbourne
  • STOP PRESS – VCAT fee hike cuts appeals
  • SOS supports challenge to EW Link
  • Implementation of New Residential Zones
  • Help with Rescode for Residents at VCAT
  • Beware s89 appeals!
  • Avoid Dual Occupancy by Stealth
  • Coming Events

SOS Newsletter Residents Voice 30 September 2014

 

SOS eUpdate, 2014 Oct 4

SOS Members Planning Update – 4 October 2014

Read on for these hot topics

(1)The latest from Save Our Suburbs: SOS Candidates’ Survey for Election 2014

(2)Reminder – RACV Board Election - Last-minute call for RACV members to vote before this Tuesday Oct, 7th

(3)Reminder - The Great Population Debate, 5.30 – 7pm, October 13, Deakin Edge, Fed.Square 

(4)Rally – The Future of Public Transport in Victoria, Thurs 16 Oct. 12:45/1 pm start, Parliament steps

(5)East-West Link Updates: From campaigner Andrew Herington

(6)High-rise apartment design standards “coming”:

Continue reading

Spread the word – Transport Forum Your Regional meetings

To SOS members and all members of the public. The First meeting had some very strong  messages from the academics and those in the know…
These regional meetings offer unique opportunities to Q and A your local candidates.
Rarely do we have this opportunity.
Victoria is experiencing unprecedented mass migration with no end in sight!
Planning of infrastructure, housing, and the quality of life as we have known it in the past is on a fast downhill decline. Transport and traffic mayhem is worsening day by day.
Ask  your candidates ‘ Can you demonstrate to us how you would curtail this downhill fate that we are already on?’

Continue reading

SOS support for council legal challenge to EWL planning approval

In mid-July, SOS sent this urgent letter to Moonee Valley and Yarra City Councillors:

Save our Suburbs Inc. strongly opposes the East West Link proposal because of its potential damage to the fabric of inner city life, and because building more freeways attracts more traffic and soon creates more congestion than before. This is confirmed by Melbourne’s own experience with the Monash Freeway, the Westgate Bridge, etc. 

 But building rail links in parallel with freeways attracts commuters back to rail, lowers rail costs/head and frees up arterial roads for those who need to use them – trucks, commercial vehicles and multi-destination vehicles.  This is explained scientifically by the long-established Downs-Thompson Paradox: Continue reading

SOS Planning Update – Community Planning Groups, August 2014

There are several important events coming up that address the democratic planning and liveability of Melbourne. Please let your members and friends know about these coming events:

* “Power to the People  – reclaiming control of electricity in Victoria” - Wednesday, Sept 3, 6.30-9pm Brunswick Town Hall    (see flyer ) Power to the People Flyer-2014-09-03

Energy bills out of control.Power companies standing in the way of renewable energy.

State and Federal Governments doing nothing to lead the climate change or energy debate. 

It’s time for communities to demand reform of the energy sector and governments to take action…… Continue reading

Key performance indicators omitted from Plan Melbourne

The pro-development focus and lack of transparency & accountability of the final version of Plan Melbourne (May 2014) shouldn’t be under-estimated.

 Under Direction 7.5: “Monitor Progress and Outcomes”, a number of important performance indicators previously included in the draft version have been left out of the final document. These were all vital parameters in measuring how well Plan Melbourne might achieve its goals. These missing Performance Measures include: Continue reading

Implementation of the new Residential Zones – some observations

 On July 1, those councils still waiting for their choice of zone allocation to be approved were subjected to a “neutral conversion” – the General Residential Zone was imposed across all of their existing residential zone areas. This involved two dozen councils, including some which had applied as early as late last year for their new zoning amendments to be approved. SOS has heard that some of these 24 councils have since been experiencing a sudden surge in development applications in residential areas that may later come under the more restrictive Neighbourhood RZ once zoning amendments have been approved by the Minister. Strange that draft amendments lodged early by some councils for consideration by the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee still hadn’t been approved by July….. As to the content of the new zones, giving councils a bit more power to vary local controls for better neighborhood protection was appropriate but for these controls to be effective, councils should have been required to specify not only mandatory heights but minimum lot size and the maximum number of dwellings per lot. Specifying both is necessary to maintain reasonable local dwelling density and protect green open space. Some councils have specified subdivisions into multiple lots with a minimum lot size of 250-400 sqm, so an existing 1000 sqm suburban block could be subdivided into 3 or 4 lots. * For background, see: www.actpla.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/13704/Tony_Hall_-_Death_of_the_Australian_Backyard_paper.pdf Since Rescode is a state planning provision which even VCAT agrees should not be treated as a “one size fits all” code, Rescode variations to suit different areas are appropriate and councils should have also been required to include extra locally-appropriate variations in the new zone schedules. These should also have been mandatory – instead, most councils have failed to include any extra variations but even where they have, as discretionary guidelines these just amount to more scope for argument at VCAT and provide only an illusion of protection. * For help in arguing on Rescode and neighbourhood character in your VCAT submission, see: http://www.sos.asn.au/category/help-arguing-rescode-amenity-standards-vcat * For an detailed expose of the implications of the New Zones, see: http://www.sterow.com/?p=4099