This month's e-news includes: Moreland's new residential zones finally approved; work starts - and discussion continues -  on traffic safety measures; special feature on Community Infrastructure; and our communications survey!
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Brunswick Residents Network newsletter, May 2015

Please give us five minutes - take our comunications surveyHoracek1

This week we've lost one source of information and debate, as Fairfax's Melbourne Times Weekly changes its focus to 'lifestyle' rather than local news. We're curious to know where you get information about local events and issues - and how we can improve our contribution. Is the Leader still distributed to your house? Do you have a favourite Brunswick website we should know about?  More Brunswick jokes? - many thanks to local artist Judy Horacek for permission to use this one!

The survey should only take five minutes. Here's the address. (Brunswick residents only, please!)

Discuss local issues with Member for Brunswick Jane Garrett

Brunswick Residents Network has invited our local MP Jane Garrett (now a Minister in the Victorian Government) to meet residents at a public meeting we're organising on Tuesday 16 June. We've asked her in particular to speak about the new residential zones; and about traffic and transport in Brunswick. All welcome - there will be ample time for questions.
  • Brunswick Residents Network public meeting with Jane Garrett
  • Tuesday 16 June, 6.30pm
  • St Ambrose Community Centre, in the church grounds, Sydney Road just north of the Brunswick Town Hall.

New residential zones approved - with unwanted surprises

On 30 April, State Minister for Planning Richard Wynne finally gazetted changes to the Moreland Planning Scheme, to introduce new zones for all residential land in the City of Moreland. Over 60 percent of the municipality will be covered by the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ) under Amendment C153, which has limits on height and the type of re-development.
However, despite years of community consultation and advocacy, there is a sting in the tail: the new neighbourhood zone allows up to four dwellings on a block, without specifying minimum sizes (Moreland Council had proposed a 200 square metre limit required for each dwelling in Brunswick and 250 square metres in Brunswick West - these limits were designed to constrain the number of new units that can be placed on an existing house block, which are generally smaller in Brunswick than in the north of the municipality).
There are three residential zones: NRZ (neighbourhood - the most restrictive); GRZ (general) and RGZ (residental growth -  higher density).

Moreland's NRZ has a mandatory 8 metre height control, providing up to two stories with some flexibility for sloping blocks. However the State government also overrode Council’s proposals for increases to private open space required in each dwelling – this means that people can build closer to property boundaries without the requirement for more open space.
The limits on height and density for the neighbourhood zones do not extend to existing activity centres along Nicholson Street, Lygon Street and Sydney Road. We’ve already seen multi-storey redevelopment projects along Lygon Street. The tram routes along Nicholson Street, Melville Road and Holmes Road will now see significant redevelopment, with a discretionary height of 13.5 metres (not the mandatory heights called for by residents). The new changes include Residential Growth Zones (RGZ) allowing four-storey buildings along much of Nicholson Street (from Stewart Street to Brunswick Road) and on Holmes Street (the northern extention of Lygon Street) as well as smaller areas such as David Street Brunswick, and the area around Grantham/Union Streets in Brunswick West.
General Residential Zones (GRZ1) adjacent to the major activity centres have also been approved along Dawson Street (west of Grantham) and Glenlyon Road; Brunswick Road between Sydney Road and Lygon Street; Centennial Avenue in Brunswick West; Melville Road/Albion Street/Victoria Street in Brunswick West; Staley Street and De Carle Street. The State Government rejected Moreland’s proposed mandatory height controls of 8 metres (2 storeys) in a GRZ, and these zones will now allow the discretionary 9 metre height limit already set under ResCode.
To find out whether your home or business falls into a neighbourhood zone or a growth zone, you can download maps from the Council website (Brunswick, Brunswick East and Brunswick West are covered by maps 13, 14 and 15). The maps include a full explanation of the height levels and the type of businesses allowed in each zone.
Our June 16 public meeting (details in previous item) provides a chance to discuss these changes with our local MP Jane Garrett.

Brunswick Structure Plan
Beyond the zoning changes under amendment C153, Council has also been planning to introduce the Brunswick Structure Plan into the Moreland Planning Scheme through amendment C134.
This planning amendment has been before an independent Planning Panel and their report should be presented to Council in June. An analysis of the planning panel recommendations by Council staff will then go to the Council meeting, probably in July or August. Council will then agree on a final proposal to go to the Minister for Planning.
Stay tuned for further updates, as the adoption of the Brunswick Structure Plan will affect local residents for many years to come.

tramworksTram works close Lygon Street - right now

From today until Monday 18 May, there is a major upgrading happening of the route 1 and 8 tram line along Lygon Street, in the section between Albion Street and Glenlyon Road.
Cars and trams are unable to run along this section of Lygon Street during the week. Pedestrians can still access those shops which are open - although crossing the street is restricted to a couple of points. If you use the East Coburg or Moreland trams, there are replacement busees but it would be simpler to go to Sydney Road or Nicholson Street if you are able to.

Side streets are full of cranky drivers who didn't believe the signs saying the road ahead was closed.

For further details contact Yarra trams on 1800 800 007 or check out information here on their website.
…. and Nicholson Street in June
Public Transport Victoria will also begin the redevelopment of the route 96 tram line along Nicholson Street. Initial works begin on 1 June, but the major track work and reconstruction of tram stops is scheduled to take place between 12 - 20 June.
The terminus for the number 96 tram will be relocated north of Blyth Street, with impacts on local parking. Under the proposed plan, approximately 40 parking spaces will be lost on Nicholson Street between Blyth Street and Stewart Street.
After a meeting with local residents on 25 March, this week’s Council meeting will discuss the creation of a trial parking area and the waiving of permit fees for a period of one year, for residents affected by the new terminus. This arrangement would allow all eligible residents to apply for a parking permit and park in any street within the specified area boundary. The proposed special parking zone will include only area bounded by Stewart Street; Roberts Street;  Lee Street;  Blyth Street;  Bellevue Street;  Hickford Street;  Queen Street; and Queen Street Laneway.

Finally - work starts on taming traffic

As well as tram upgrades, work has begun on at least three projects aiming to make our lives more pleasant and safe.

In Albert and Victoria streets, Brunswick, some speed humps have been upgraded as part of the Council's Brunswick Integrated Transport Strategy. (They've been made a little steeper, and been painted with white "piano keys".) There are more to come, along with "rain gardens" and at-level pedestrian crossings for some intersections.
Albion bike
We've also noticed a new shared bike path and footpath in the process of being marked out along Albion Street (right), with large "LOOK BIKE" signs painted prominently on intersections with cross streets.

Finally, after the Sydney Road accident which resulted in the death of a cyclist, VicRoads fast-tracked a bunch of works already in the pipeline. You may have noticed work on at-level pedestrian crossings, with bluestone to slow traffic, for example at the entry to Hope Street. 

More about local concerns on traffic safety
  • Scroll down for details of a 23 May forum on cycling and traffic safety.
  • A small group of concerned parents have contacted us to say they have formed a Ewing Street Road Safety Campaign "in response to the large number of hazards, accidents and injuries to pedestrians and cyclists on this busy corridor. We are busy lobbying VicRoads and local government to improve traffic control.". Follow the link to find out more, and to "like" their Facebook Page.
  • There's been a lively discussion on our Facebook page after we posted pictures of traffic management works in Albert Street. Local streets identified as hot spots for speeding and unsafe traffic include Hunter St, parts of Albion Street, Rupert Street, Nash Street and streets like Daly Street which link Union and Dawson Streets.


Community infrastructure in Brunswick

n 2013, eight municipalities in the north of Melbourne adopted a joint strategy called “Northern Horizons”, which outlines a 50-year infrastructure strategy for Melbourne’s northern suburbs. This strategy was endorsed by Moreland Council in December 2013 and sets an overarching framework for social infrastructure development.
There is an urgent need for investment in additional social infrastructure - childcare, aged care, libraries, swimming pools, welfare and other services -  to keep pace with Moreland’s growing population, which is predicted to rise to 214,320 by 2036. Between 2011 (the last official Census year) and 2036, more than 60,000 people will have joined our community - a rise of 39 per cent. This week, Moreland Council will discuss a Community Infrastructure Framework report (CIF), aiming to integrate the framework into all Council budget and planning strategies.
This forward planning is especially important for Brunswick, given the proposed increase in population in the south of the municipality.  As the CIF report notes: “During this period Brunswick East will have both the greatest proportional and numerical growth, increasing by 11,428 people or 111 percent. This is followed by Brunswick, which will see growth of 48.5 percent, or 11,176 additional residents during the same period.”
With the peak of population growth for Brunswick, Brunswick West and Brunswick East scheduled between 2017 and 2021, this is a central challenge: the growing population requires better and more social infrastructure, but despite increasing gentrification in the South ward, there is still a significant proportion of working people (often the elderly) who cannot afford increasing rates. There is limited free open space in Brunswick, but many developers are reluctant to include community facilities in their large redevelopment projects (such as the East Brunswick Village, which will add more than 600 new apartments to Brunswick East).
Another problem is that the state government is now discussing rate capping with local government authorities across Victoria. The introduction of rate capping was one of the key election commitments by the ALP. Starting in the 2016-2017 financial year, the Andrews government is proposing to force councils to cap their rates at Consumer Price Index (CPI). To justify any further increases above CPI, a council must appeal to an independent Essential Services Commission (ESC). Currently over 70 percent of Moreland Council’s budget comes from rates, and local services are also affected by Federal government cuts to grants.
Over the last two years, Council has refurbished the Brunswick baths and library, but there are significant needs for other infrastructure. In the medium term, Council plans to develop a “Brunswick Civic and Cultural Precinct” around the intersection of Sydney Road and Dawson Street, upgrading the area that includes the Town Hall, Counihan Gallery, Brunswick library, Brunswick baths and the Mechanics Institute. Council has also been developing plans for a community hub in Saxon Street (behind the library), which would allow the centralisation of the Brunswick Neighbourhood House, which is currently split in two locations in Warr Park and de Carle Street.
In the south of the municipality, there is a desperate shortage of facilities for young people, despite the current construction of a skate park in Clifton Park. According to 2011 census data, the rates of unemployment for young people aged 15 to 24 in Brunswick West (at 15.6 percent) and Brunswick East (14.7 percent) are higher than the Moreland average.
grandstandFleming Park provides the main sporting ground, community facilities and open space in Brunswick East, so Moreland Council has developed a master plan for the park. In the past few weeks, Council has started to demolish the old clubrooms next to the grandstand (pictured), which will be complete in the next few weeks. Council’s 2015-16 budget proposes $100,000 for new landscape work (trees, etc) in Fleming Park. However a lack of funding means that work on the new community pavilion is at least three years away.
Council has released a draft budget for 2015-16, and you can make submissions for changes and additions before Wednesday 27 May. For a copy of the draft budget and a temp late for submissions, go to the Council website.

Inquiry into Brunswick Terminal Station

The State government has launched an inquiry into the planning process which approved the $300 million 66kV facility at the Brunswick Terminal Station (BTS 66). Without any requirement for independent assessment, the BTS 66 development is now underway, after former Planning Minister Matthew Guy amended the Moreland Planning Scheme to rezone the site and removed third party appeal rights.
On 20 March, Minister for Planning Richard Wynne appointed Nick Wimbush and Robin Crocker as an Advisory Committee to consider the approvals process for the BTS upgrade. The Committee will hold a preliminary hearing on Tuesday 19 May at Planning Panels Victoria, with the main hearing scheduled for 16 and 17 June.
The terms of reference are relatively narrow and will not discuss concerns over the placement of the power terminal station near the Merri Creek, or wider issues such as: the unnecessary 'gold-plating' of the electricity grid, the impact on households upstream of BTS66 living under the 220kV transmission lines, health and environmental impacts of the development, and decreasing the demand for electricity due to uptake of solar panels.
The Merri Creek Residents Group (MCRG) is the only community organisation that has been invited to participate in the review, alongside the proponents (Ausnet Services, CitiPower, Australian Energy Market Operators) and three local Councils - Moreland, Darebin and Yarra.
For further information, contact John Langer on 0488 44 5353, or check out the BTS 66 campaign website  and Facebook page

Moreland at War

For last month’s centenary of Anzac Day, Woolworths and other corporations tried to boost their profits on the back of the slaughter at Gallipoli. The fresh food people wanted us to keep the Anzac soldiers “fresh in our memories” and celebrate Anzac Day as “the birth of the Anzac spirit that we now pass on to all young Australians.”
On 23 April, historian and Brunswick resident Professor Stuart McIntyre AO contributed to a more measured understanding of World War I during his presentation “Moreland at War: A Community Divided”, at the Brunswick Library. You can read McIntyre’s presentation in full on our Brunswick Residents Network website.
Next year is the anniversary of the first conscription referendum in 1916, and Brunswick was a hotbed of debate over conscription. The Federal seat of Bourke (the electorate centred on Brunswick and Coburg at the time) was held by Frank Anstey while Frank Brennan served in the neighbouring seat of Batman. As McIntyre explained: “Both saw the war as a fight between rival empires at the expense of workers and the two men were the first Labor parliamentarians to speak for a new organisation, the Australian Peace Alliance, against the war.”
Moreland voted against conscription in 1916, as did the country. McIntyre noted the strong support from the large Irish Catholic community in Brunswick, with Saint Ambrose Church in Sydney Road providing the headquarters for the anti-conscription campaign: “The trade unions opposed conscription and chose as the secretary of their anti-conscription organisation John Curtin, a young union official who lived in Fallon Street, Brunswick.  He and his friend Frank Hyett, another union official, had met in the labour movement, played football for Brunswick, and spearheaded the campaign. Curtin - elected as Prime Minister of Australia during the Second World War - was arrested and briefly imprisoned.” 

Greening Edward Street

For many years, the Friends of Edward Street have been working to green their neighbourhood and develop an ecological corridor along the street. Now their work will be featured at a major planning conference.
We reported on our Facebook Page that “Edward Street’s unique landscaping of gum trees and native grasses was initially planted in the early 1980s by guerrilla gardening raids.” We were quickly corrected by Ricky Ward, who wrote  “the present look of both Edward and King Streets is due to the innovative approach of former [Brunswick] City Engineer John Isherwood who directed the layout with beds, nature strips and planting of native trees and one local tree the Drooping Sheoak - but no grasses.”
Thanks to residents and the former Council, the street is now officially recognised as a ‘nature corridor', and residents have continued landscaping and planting new under-story. The group has also been campaigning to establish a park off Edward Street, lobbying to transform car park spaces at the Sydney Road end into a green space!
A presentation outlining the work of the Friends of Edward Street in greening their neighbourhood will be presented at a major planning conference in Melbourne next Friday, 15 May. Lester Townsend, Lizzie Bickmore and eight-year-old Lekzi Kyriakou will present a co-authored paper at the Planning Institute of Australia Congress, at the Melbourne Convention Centre on Friday this week.
If you’re interested in in finding out how to green your street, the Friends can be found improving Edward Street on the third Sunday of every month (the next working bee will be held next Sunday 17 May).

street artArt out and about in Brunswick

Pictured right: street art off Sydney Road near Albion Street

Out Back laneway exhibition

Out Back is the latest exhibition by local photographer Gary Gross. Gross will mount his photographs on the corrugated fence of his Brunswick property and that of his participating neighbours. It will be in the laneway between Mountford and Howard Streets (off Albion). Gross is showing a series of images from his Fire Sale collection, which depicts burnt car wrecks in the desert. It's also a very pretty laneway!

MoreArt looking for artists
If you’ve cycled or walked along the Upfield path in springtime, you will have noticed lots of art installations created through the annual MoreArt exhibition. MoreArt is a temporary public art event that invites artists to engage with Moreland’s often unexplored urban spaces.
MoreArt 2015 will be held from 25 October to 13 December and expressions of interest from young or established artists are now open! Get your application form from the Moreland Council website: deadline is 29 May.  Contact the Council’s Public Art Officer on 9240 1111 for more information.

Cycling safety forum

Following the death of cyclist Alberto Paulon in a car-dooring accident, there have been a range of proposals to improve cycling infrastructure along Sydney Road and the Upfield shared pedestrian and cycling path.
On Saturday 23 May, from 10 AM to 2 PM, there is opportunity to meet with Council staff and make suggestions to improve cycling and traffic management for both Sydney Road, the Upfield path and neighbouring residential streets. Come along with your suggestions!
Investment in cycling infrastructure has a number of wider benefits, as Raili Simojoki and Alexander Sheko recently argued in The Age on 30 April: “By building a safe, connected bike network, the Victorian government could achieve a 10 per cent cycling mode share by 2030…. About 40 per cent of all car trips are less than five kilometres. To reach its target, the government would only need to shift a quarter of these trips to bicycle. These benefits can be achieved relatively quickly, because bike infrastructure is quicker and cheaper to build than large road and public transport projects.”

 “Just $50 a head will make Melbourne a better city for cyclists”, The Age, 30 April 2015

WHAT: Public forum on cycling and traffic safety
WHEN: Saturday 23 May, 10 am - 2 pm
WHERE: Brunswick Town Hall, 257 Sydney Road

Next Moreland Council meetings

All Council meetings - held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month- and Urban Planning Committee meetings - held on the 4th Wednesday of each month - are now held at: Council Chamber, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg. Council meetings are on:
  •  Wednesday 13 May 2015 - 7 pm
  • Tuesday 9 June 2015 (consideration of budget submissions) - 6 pm
  • Wednesday 10 June 2015 - 7 pm
  • Monday 22 June 2015 (Budget adoption) -  6 pm
Check for all meeting details at the Council website. Council meetings can now be watched online, either live, or later - you can find details here along with the agenda for this week's Council meeting.
  • 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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