In this month's e-news: new residential zones approved for Moreland; safety for cyclists and pedestrians in Brunswick; impacts from East Brunswick Village; Brunswick the song writing capital of Australia
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Brunswick Residents Network newsletter, March 2015

New residential zones approved for Moreland

On 13 March, the State government verbally advised Moreland Council that Minister for Planning Richard Wynne will approve Amendment C153 to introduce new Residential Zones into the Moreland Planning Scheme. However there was no statement about when the Minister will formally gazette the zones, and whether any changes will be made to the version of the zones adopted by Council on 10 December 2014.
The proposed rezoning of residential areas under the Napthine government’s “Plan Melbourne”, which came into force in July 2014, involved lengthy and acrimonious community discussions in 2013. Then Planning Minister Matthew Guy delayed action on Moreland Council’s proposal for rezoning and it’s taken a change of government for Brunswick’s zones to be approved. Council’s original proposal was revised and updated before they were resubmitted to the incoming ALP Minister in December 2014.
There are three different types of zoning, which have different height levels and options for subdivision: Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ), General Residential Zone (GRZ) and Residential Growth Zone (RGZ).
Growth zones were originally proposed along Nicholson, Grantham, Dawson, David streets and Melville Road in Brunswick West, where buildings of up to four storeys would be permitted. The most restrictive Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ) - which should cover over 60 percent of residential areas across Moreland - will limit apartments to two storeys and place a 200 square metre limit required for each dwelling in Brunswick and 250 square metre in Brunswick West (these limits are designed to constrain the number of units that can be placed on an existing house block, which are generally smaller in Brunswick than in the north of the municipality).
The zone schedules and interactive maps available on the Moreland Council planning website have now been updated with the latest versions adopted by Council.
Beyond the delay in the Minister formally gazetting the new zones, there are already large numbers of planning applications in the pipeline that were lodged before the new state-wide planning scheme came into force in July 2014. For Moreland, 1,920 planning applications were submitted in 2014 - a record year for the number of applications. There was a massive spike in permit applications between May and July last year, with developers trying to get in before the new planning scheme came into force. Significant numbers of applications were lodged worth more than $1 million in value of cost works: 17 (May 2014); 29 (June); 27 (July) and 17 again in December.


Safety for cyclists and pedestrians in Brunswick

The tragic death of Alberto Paulon, a cyclist killed on 27 February in a ‘car dooring’ accident on Sydney Road, once again highlights the lack of infrastructure to protect cyclists and pedestrians in Brunswick.
Moreland Council adopted a 10-year Moreland Bicycle Strategy in October 2011 and has already implemented a number of major cycling projects around the municipality. However council’s capacity to deliver the entire capital program is constrained by uncertainty over the level of State Government bicycle infrastructure funding, especially with major State government cuts to funding in 2013-14.
Alberto Paulon’s death prompted widespread community discussion about options to avoid further tragedies. Grassroots Facebook pages proposed actions for safer ways to move around the suburb,  a topic that was also widely debated on the BRN Facebook page. Hundreds of cyclists participated in a community rally on Friday 6 March, riding in solidarity from Park Street to Moreland Road, as reported on ABC news.
Brunswick MP Jane Garrett called an emergency “Safety on Sydney Road” meeting (which was attended by a representative of the Brunswick Residents Network). At the meeting, VicRoads detailed their long-forecast $1.6 million plan for Sydney Road (between Brunswick Road and Albion Street), which will upgrade lighting, signs and ban right turns at a number of intersections (work is scheduled to commence in August).  Some parking will be relocated to improve sightlines and reduce dooring risk, and green surface treatment will be applied to highlight conflict points

VicRoads had already announced these improvements to pedestrian and bike safety in the street. In addition the existing daytime and evening 40 kp/h speed limit will now be extended to 24 hours.
The meeting also discussed further options raised by those present, including the marking of "dooring" zones.
Some Sydney Road traders are concerned that changing parking restrictions will affect their businesses, so local cyclists have begun a Facebook campaign called “Cycle Local, Shop Local” to convince local traders that bicycle lanes are good for business.

BRN believes there is a need to both upgrade the Upfield Shared Path (through better lighting, signage etc), AND improve infrastructure in Sydney Road. Despite the need for investment in separate bike paths and shared pathways, there are still reasons for cyclists and pedestrians to access and cross main arterial routes:
  • many Brunswick locals use shops, cafes, libraries and doctors on Sydney Road and Lygon Street, and need to move along them by bike or on foot
  • pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and public transport users are all taxpayers and all have rights to use public roads – the solution is not to ban one group from using a public asset, but to use planning laws, new technologies, education campaigns and infrastructure investment to protect all road users - especially the most vulnerable to injury.
  • under Plan Melbourne, the Upfield rail corridor is slated as an urban growth zone for massive redevelopment, with new apartment complexes between Sydney Road and the train line: therefore we need infrastructure NOW to protect cyclists, pedestrians and other road users on both the shared Upfield pathways and the main arterial routes
  • the Upfield shared path and Merri Creek shared path are already busy at peak hour, so there is a need for strategic investment before population increases along this corridor. 
In 2014, over 400 households completed BRN’s Brunswick Traffic Survey. Three quarters of those surveyed (75.1 percent) reported that traffic in our streets was affecting their quality of life. Over 88 percent had witnessed dangerous driving in local streets, with even higher rates shown in residential streets like Albert Street (95 percent of people surveyed had witnessed dangerous driving in this east-west street, which is supposed to be a safe cycling route).
Beyond TAC and VicRoads education campaigns to alert people to the hazards of car dooring, we call on all levels of government (local, state and federal) to invest in appropriate transport infrastructure and more public transport – extending services to the outer suburbs but investing in better traffic management in the inner city, an area where the roads are generally narrow but more and more people are transiting along and across our streets.
Moreland Council has only allocated $250,000 a year to implement the Brunswick Integrated Transport Strategy (BITS). Last year, Brunswick Residents Network wrote to Council seeking an increase in this funding, given the population of Brunswick East is due to double by 2030! Moreland Councillors refused to increase the funding in 2014-15, so we urge you to write again to councillors as they prepare the 2015-16 budget. Please call for greater investment in transport infrastructure in the south of the municipality.
Council should also be calling for greater developer contributions from major project like East Brunswick Village on Nicholson Street (600 apartments, 24 hour Coles supermarket, lots of shops, thousands of vehicle movements in and out each day) . With major projects, there should be a responsibility to contribute more to traffic management in surrounding residential streets.
Council should also be acting on recommendations from the 2014 Brunswick Traffic Survey to implement measures to protect vulnerable road users in residential streets (for example, why has Council not persuaded VicRoads to implement 40kph speed restrictions in residential streets south of Glenlyon Road?).
As well as improving facilities for cyclists, state and local government need to ensure that pedestrians of all ages and abilities can move safely and easily on footpaths in Brunswick. Pedestrians are also vulnerable crossing busy streets and there is a need to improve footpath maintenance across the suburb. We call on Council to allocate more funds to increase infrastructure and services (such as “walking buses” for schoolchildren), improve the number and quality pedestrian and zebra crossings, mid-street refuges and safety zones so children and the elderly can safely walk around the suburb.
There are countless T-intersections in Brunswick that have either no signage or unsafe signage, intersections that are dangerous for people simply trying to move safely around the streets where they live. Already petitions and lobbying by local residents is having an impact, such as this response for better signage at the intersection of La Rose Street and Tinning Street, Brunswick
At its March meeting, Council resolved to organise a public meeting for the cycling community within the next two months to discuss measures to improve cycling safety on Sydney Road and the Upfield Bike path. We’ll let you know the details as soon as they’re available.
Brunswick Residents Network sends its condolences to the family and friends of Alberto Paulon. A  “ghost bike” memorial marks the site of the accident on Sydney Road. We need to act now to ensure there are no more memorials like this in our suburb.

Reporting accidents

The death of cyclist Alberto Paulon has received widespread attention, but drivers and cyclists in Brunswick are aware of many other smaller accidents and incidents that go unreported to police (nothing worse than coming out in the morning to find a passing motorist has smashed your side mirror - with no culprit in sight, most people don’t bother reporting the incident).
During our 2011 and 2014 traffic surveys in Brunswick, many people complained that Victoria police were not keeping track of accidents that did not involve death or serious injury. Brunswick Residents' Network proposed to Council that they should record ALL crash stats, to build a realistic map of incidents, show the real costs, and help determine where traffic management is most needed.
This scheme has been implemented by Moreland Council: if you are involved or see an accident - major or minor - take a photo if possible, and record the details on this Council website.
Through this system, residents are able to report property damage and minor crashes not recorded by Victoria Police, with details like date of the crash and weather conditions (if any personal injury occurred as part of the crash, by law Victoria Police must be notified).
Thanks to the Victoria Street residents who initiated this - and to Cr Samantha Ratnam and her Council colleagues for following through.

East Brunswick Village proposal

This week, Moreland Council will discuss the proposed "East Brunswick Village" project, a massive re-development for the old Tontine factory and surrounding properties in Brunswick East. The area for the “village” is bounded by Nicholson Street, Albert Street, John Street and Glenlyon Road.
The project involves three 5-storey buildings and four 6-storey buildings with at least 600 apartments, a 24-hour-a-day Coles supermarket and office and shopping complexes, together with two levels of underground car parking. Future development in this area could add hundreds more apartments, as the developers are buying out adjacent industrial sites such as the South Pacific Laundry on Nicholson Street. The present proposal includes 241 one-bedroom apartments; 360 two-bedroom apartments; but only 2 three-bedroom apartments (it appears there will be no large families allowed in this village!)
Local residents in John Street have been campaigning for years around the project, raising questions about open space, traffic management, noise and the environmental impacts of this massive complex. Now the developer East Brunswick Village Pty Ltd, has submitted revised plans for the site, after a permit was originally approved in 2012 (EBV Pty Ltd is a member of the Banco group of companies, which purchased the site from the original developers Bridgehead Properties Pty Ltd. in November 2010).
One problem for this project is that a development overlay on the site removes the right for notification, appeal and review for local residents, so people living adjacent to the site can’t go to VCAT seeking amendment of the proposal (in contrast, the developers applied to VCAT in 2012 to override Moreland Council policies on affordable housing, developer contributions and traffic management:
East Brunswick Village Pty Ltd v Moreland  CC [2012] VCAT 1307 (3 September 2012)
For this reason we thank Councillor Samantha Ratnam for calling a residents meeting on 17 March, which allowed people living near the site to comment on the proposal and give general feedback on the recent flurry of building activity going on around Brunswick East.
A number of speakers suggested that there was an amenity crisis looming in the area, due to the lack of investment in open space and community infrastructure. Feedback included: trams passing through Brunswick at peak hour are impossible to get on, unless you go north to get a seat before travelling south again; footpaths and bike paths are a mess from construction work; Council's traffic engineers refuse to take into account of the cumulative levels of vehicle and pedestrian traffic from existing and proposed developments; there has been a noticeable stress on public transport due to the number of students in the ‘one-bedders’, which make up the majority of new apartments.
While areas right across Moreland are facing redevelopment, there is nothing of the size and scale of change in Brunswick East, which is supposed to double in population by 2031. The East Brunswick Village project is just one of 10 major redevelopments within a kilometre of each other, in the area bounded by Nicholson Street and Lygon Street. The cumulative impact of all the new developments in that precinct is raising concern for local residents, who argue that Council needs to provide a proper traffic and open space reports for this area (for example, residents at the 17 March meeting called on Council to release modelling of the new car movements likely for John, Albert, Glenlyon, Hutcheson and Nicholson streets).
People living in John Street, which borders the old Tontine site, raised concern about a variety of potential impacts, including: noise and dust during the removal of contaminated soil from the site to construct an underground car park, the failure of the developer and Council to allocate sufficient funding for proper traffic management and potential impacts during construction.
The Brunswick bicycle shimmy runs through Fleming Park and along John Street, so the movement of hundreds of new vehicles a day along John Street will have a direct impact on cyclists who use this important north-south bike path (Despite this, there is no discussion of the impact on cyclists and pedestrians in the report by Council officers to Urban Planning Committee – an astounding omission from Council that prides itself on being bike-friendly). With up to 10,000 vehicle movements a day in and out of the site, especially through Nicholson Street, residents called for separated paths for pedestrians, bikes and cars to address this volume of new traffic.
Residents also raised concern about the timing of construction of the East Brunswick Village at the same time that Public Transport Victoria is redeveloping route 96 tram line along Nicholson Street. A number of questions were raised: Will PTV provide more services on the 96 tram route to cater for the increased resident numbers? Has PTV decided to move the planned tram stop from outside the EBV to south of Glenlyon Rd? Will construction vehicles involved in the EBV construction only be allowed to enter/exit via Nicholson Street? If not, what is the plan?
A clear message was that Council and the developers need to be proactive to pre-empt local infrastructure needs, not just react after construction is underway and people start to move in.

Jewell Station redevelopment

(Why is it that developers want to present their multi-story towers as a “village”?)
The property developers Neo Metro have presented a revised design for the Jewell Station Precinct between Sydney Road and the Upfield railway line. They describe the new concept as “a high-quality urban village, bringing together commercial uses, community activities and social enterprises”, which will “create a benchmark urban renewal project that will enhance the vibrancy of Brunswick.” The centrepiece of this new “village” however is two 8-storey apartment towers (even taller than the buildings in the East Brunswick “Village”)!
There are a number of positive elements in the redesign of the plaza around the entrance to Jewell Station. We’d encourage you to look closely at the plans, however, to see whether the designers have solved the central challenge of the shared Upfield bike path (at peak hour, a queue of cyclists heads south towards the city, at the same time commuters are rushing west across the bike path to Jewell Station to catch the train!)
Neo Metro’s revised designs will be lodged with Moreland Council in April, so check out the new design and give your feedback to councillors soon.

Heritage building to be transformed?Coppin Hall

Last month’s newsletter reported on the proposed re-development of Coppin Masonic Lodge (a 19th century heritage building next to the Tip Top apartments in Weston Street, Brunswick). On 11 March, Council staff and representatives of the developers met with local residents to discuss the proposal. In a sign of things to come, however, the residents were not allowed into the building and had to conduct the consultation on the footpath!
Resident Terry Pyke notes: “The invitation was for the meeting at 4.30 pm to be on site. So, our expectation was to have a look at the Lodge inside and the bluestone Methodist church at the back. The owner said we could not enter the building because the Freemasons were still tenants, though I know the Freemasons have had no interest in the building for some years. So, the meeting was held in the chilly weather on the footpath! A few of other people who live in the street passed by and didn’t know anything about the development. None of the ward Councillors were at the meeting as the regular Council meeting was held that night (The Planning Department seem to be good at organising a meeting that is very awkward for Councillors to attend).”
Neighbours expressed concern that the building was being demolished by punching through the roof and building more apartments in a building that has been used as a meeting place for over 160 years. The owner said that it was being done “sensitively” with some of the exterior walls of the old church being incorporated into the structure. The current heritage overlay only protects the Freemasons' façade, which is comparatively recent compared with the bluestone structure at the rear of the site which was built around 1850 (The church building is actually older than the Wesleyan Methodist Church on Sydney Road).
At the meeting, residents raised concern about amenity issues (noise, parking and overlooking) and the effect on a large old fig tree near the rear boundary.
Terry notes: “I guess my concern is that the project is knocking down a perfectly good community asset that is time tested and still structurally sound after over 160 years. The building can accommodate nearly 300 people in its Hall, yet we are just adding more apartments for Brunswick, built from materials that will probably not last as long.”
Local residents are seeking an urgent review of heritage overlays and their maintenance in Brunswick. For further information contact Terry Pyke on 0432 181 977 or email:

Changes likely for Brunswick tram routes

As well as plans we reported last month to upgrade the route 96 tram line along Nicholson Street, it looks like there will be changes to the Moreland (route 8) and East Coburg (route 1) trams that pass through Brunswick along Lygon Street. An article in The Age reports that Public Transport Victoria is considering mid-year changes to these services, some of the most overcrowded tram routes in Melbourne.
According to the draft plans leaked to Fairfax, route 8 to Moreland will be discontinued and other services changed:
  • Tram route 6, which currently runs from Glen Iris to Melbourne University, will be extended to East Coburg.
  • Tram route 1, which runs from South Melbourne Beach to East Coburg, will instead turn to run along Moreland Road.
Other Brunswick tram services will also be changed.
  • Tram route 55, which runs along Melville Road from West Coburg through Brunswick West to the Domain Interchange on St Kilda Road, will be extended through to Toorak.
  • Tram route 19 along Sydney Road will see less frequent trams but more high-capacity low-floor trams. 
Changes down the line for Melbourne's tram routes, The Age, 12 March 2015

MCAT changes name and objectives

After mobilising Moreland residents for the successful campaign to halt construction of the East West link, the Moreland Community against the East West Tunnel (MCAT) is changing its name - but not its acronym -  and updating its objectives. While there is still a need to monitor developments around the East West tunnel project, Moreland transport activists are now looking at the broader picture.
The newMCAT, as Moreland Community for Action on Transport, will advocate for a long term vision to “promote public and active transport options over cars, to protect our climate and to help us live healthier lives in a more attractive environment.”
In coming weeks, MCAT will be finalising new objectives and strategies, with ongoing campaigns to protect Royal Park, lobby for improvements to the Upfield rail line, trams and buses and campaigning for better public transport to the northern suburbs. Please come along to the next MCAT meeting on Thursday 9 April.
WHAT: planning meeting for Moreland Community for Action on Transport (MCAT)
WHEN: Thursday 9 April, 6.30pm
WHERE: Seniors Centre in Temple Park adjacent to Gray Street, Brunswick West

Our Brunswick playgrounds

Last month, we reported on the review of Brunswick playgrounds currently underway by Moreland Council, looking at potential investment to improve facilities for children. Local resident Mel Yuan is attending the community consultation meetings – drop her a line if you have comments or questions you want raised with Council (phone 0408 783 622 or email )


We’ve just been enjoying the annual Brunswick Music Festival and in case you missed this story, it’s worth noting that our suburb is the song-writing capital of Australia! Don’t take our word for it – have a look at the national and state rankings prepared by the Australasian Performing Right Association Limited (APRA) and the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society Limited (AMCOS):
In the last year, Brunswick has taken Northcote’s number one national spot, which our north-eastern neighbour held for the last decade: from 2003 to 2013, Brunswick rose from number three to number one. Melbourne’s inner north now takes five of the top ten spots (including the top three national spots). Bad luck for people south of the river: St Kilda has fallen from fourth place to tenth over the decade.
Around the country, Brunswick tops the list for song writing in pop/rock, folk, blues and roots, alternative and classical. We rank as number 3 for heavy metal, number 4 for jazz and number 9 for children’s songs. Our suburb makes the top 10 for every other style, with only one exception: Gospel! Come on, all you Brunswick atheists – broaden your repertoire!

This week's meetings

East Brunswick Kindergarten Market
On Saturday 28 March, the parents and friends of the East Brunswick Kindergarten and Childcare Centre will host over 20 stalls to showcase handcrafts, small businesses and sell second hand children and adult clothes, children toys and books.
WHAT: East Brunswick Kindergarten market
WHEN: Saturday 28 March 2015, 11 am - 1 pm
WHERE: 2 Noel Street, Brunswick East  
Moreland Bicycle Users Group (BUG)
The next meeting of the Moreland Bicycle Users Group (BUG) will be held at a new venue, this Thursday 26 March from 7:00 to 9:00pm. Everyone is welcome to attend to join the next BUG meeting at “My Handlebar” (581 Sydney Road, Brunswick – in the upstairs room).
For further information, please contact Ross Millward, Deputy Convenor, Moreland Bicycle User Group on 0407 321 803
Moving and shaping Melbourne
This Thursday 26 March, there will be a public meeting on “Communities, roads, public transport and development “, to look at how people are moving around our growing city.
Panellists include Jennifer Cunich (Property Council of Australia), Paul Donegan (Cities Program, Grattan Institute), William McDougall (Transport planner, engineer and economist), David Shelton (VicRoads) and Professor John Stone (Lecturer, Transport Planning in Urban Planning Program, University of Melbourne)
This event is sponsored by VicRoads and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
WHEN: Thursday 26 March 2015, 6pm to 7.30pm (doors open 5.30pm)
WHERE: Deakin Edge, Federation Square
Free. Book online at Moving and shaping Melbourne, or call 9658 9965 during business hours.

Next Moreland Council meetings

All Council meetings, on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, and Urban Planning Committee meetings, on the 4th Wednesday of each month, will now be held at: Council Chamber, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg. Council meetings are on:
Wednesday 8 April 2015 - 7 pm
Monday 27 April 2015 (to consider the proposed budget) - 6 pm
  • Check for updates at the Council website
  • Hint: If you go to an evening meeting at 90 Bell Street and find the doors locked, you can probably get in through the back door via Urquhart Street


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