Koonda Lat Pipe Bridge Crossing Merri Creek

Koonda Lat Pipe Bridge Crossing Merri Creek

Monday, October 26, 2009

Northcote Leader Article

Hi all,

Thanks to everyone who could make time to come pose for a photo to accompany the Northcote Leader's article a couple of weeks ago. Sadly the photo didn't make the printed edition, but it's available online for us to admire...

Posted here for convenience:

Units Project Fears by Suzanne Robson

A PLAN to build almost 100 dwellings on a Northcote factory site overlooking Merri Creek has alarmed scores of Darebin residents.

More than 70 residents have objected to the planned Merri Pde development featuring a five-storey apartment block with 83 units and 16 townhouses.

Melbourne developer Jack Haber said the “appropriate” development would be a “vast improvement” on the graffiti-laden factory warehouse on the Northcote site. Two townhouses would be apartments on the corner of Bridge St and Merri Pde. But residents said the “scale and density” of the development on a site about 3800sq m would have a “severe impact on the character and amenity of a neighbourhood made up of mainly one-storey heritage houses.”

Bridge St resident Mike Flattley, who lives next to the site, said future residents of the new five-storey apartments would be able to look into private backyards in Bridge and Union streets.

The planned development also wasn’t “appropriately aligned” to Merri Creek and didn’t effectively address the impact on traffic and waste management.

“If it was open to the parkland that would respond and complement (it),” he said.

“Development of the site is something we want to see but we want it to be appropriate development that responds to the character of the neighbourhood.”

Mr Haber rejected claims made by a Melbourne daily paper that he would buy ready-made apartments from China for the project.

Modular apartments were one option being considered, but he had not yet made a decision.

“It is an innovation that many people are considering,” he said.

“The Government is encouraging more housing and high-density development, particularly on main roads close to transport.”

Each town house would have car parks and the block of apartments would have a basement car park with 51 parking spots.

“We have designed the building so from all vantage points around the site the fifth-storey is barely visible,” he said.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Our Prefabricated Development

Hello everyone,

Looks like the development is likely to be constructed from modules built in and imported from China. Details in the following article from the Age: http://www.theage.com.au/national/on-the-takeaway-menu-soon-highrise-flats-20091005-gjed.html


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Council Planning Consultation Meeting Announced

12 noon Saturday 5 September
@ Bridge Street opposite Albion Charles Hotel

Dear Neighbours,

You are invited to attend a brief meeting (approx. 15 minutes) to discuss the pending Planning Consultation Meeting regarding the proposed development of 38 Merri Parade.

The purpose of the get together is to brief you as to how the Wednesday night meeting will run and what you can do to help. Wednesday 9 September is the date for the Consultation Meeting, at the Shire Hall, 286 Gower Street Preston, from 6:30 to 7:30pm.

If you are unable to attend our Saturday meeting, the main points that we will be discussing are:
  • What to expect at the Planning Consultation Meeting;
  • Our need to have as many residents as possible to attend the Planning Consultation Meeting;
  • How to present ourselves as a unified, rational group;
  • Our intention to win the support of Council;
  • Finding agreement on someone to speak on our collective behalves, with scope for hearing from individual objectors, due to the very limited timeframe of the meeting.
Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Merri Community's Position on 38 Merri Parade

Hello everyone,

Sorry for the delay in getting these notes to you all - the following reflects feedback we've received from everyone on chief likes and dislikes for the new development at 38 Merri Parade, which was further refined through a meeting held outside the site on Bridge Street on Sunday, 26 July. To be clear: these are the themes that were the most frequently raised in your feedback to us - it does not represent the particular views of the organising group, although of course we agree entirely!

We have kept the themes broad to best capture the general sweep of opinion, but the following represents the five dominant points on which our community feels it should not/cannot compromise:

Do Not Like

1. Too great a scale and density - security, number of people and seclusion of site/street will impact security, street culture, increased traffic and reduced safety
2. low no. on-site car parks will impact resident parking on Bridge and Union streets.
3. too high - imposing, dominates the streetscape
4. unsympathetic architecture - detracts from neighbourhood character, fails to optimise position
5. adverse impact on amenity eg: noise, overlooking, privacy

Height and density are obviously the big ones - reducing these would have a positive impact on all the other elements, as the development as it stands would at least double the population of the two streets it spans.

The following will represent the elements we would most like the developer to bring to the development, bearing in mind that our list of dislikes, above, will take precedence in discussions:

Would Like

1. Decreased scale and density
2. min. 1+ car park/dwelling and 1 bike park/dwelling with access off Merri Parade
3. High quality architecture to give a diversity of low-cost and high-end dwellings - 1+2+3 bedroom (less 1 bed/studios) - built to 5 star energy rating, with a sustainable and liveable design using outlook to city and creek to great advantage
4. Safe streets, personal safety, small traffic increase
5. preserve privacy of existing residents

In terms of what we all would like, it's interesting to note there wasn't a consistent inverse correlation to our dislikes, which many of us had expected. We note the sustainable design of the development is particularly important to many of us, and we will certainly expect the plans to adhere to regulations governing the required energy ratings in design and construction.

We will provide further updates as they become available. As always, feel free to let me know if you have any outstanding concerns or questions, or would like to be more closely involved.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Community Meeting @ 11.00am this Sunday, 26 July

Hello everyone,

Thanks to all those who have got their lists and letters in to me already. For those who are yet (and are willing) to do so, please get back to me as soon as you can.

Our small convening Group will be meeting tomorrow night to look at the list results thus far and try to organise people's likes/dislikes into a coherent community position. Our aim is to come up with at least a few scenarios to share with the wider group. If you would like to contribute to this process, please let me know.

Following on, we propose that all of us meet again, briefly, on Sunday morning at 11.00am, where we can share the results of our efforts on Friday night. Weather permitting, this will be outside the factory shell on Bridge Street once again. If it's raining, however, we can ajourn to my (covered) back patio at 4 Bridge Street - there's a little gate off the side alleyway (or proposed two-lane road, your choice!).

Aggregating the various letters into summary form will take a bit longer to prepare, but we hope to have something to share with you all within the next week or so.

In the meantime, hope to see you all on Sunday morning at 11.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Get your objections in!

Hello all,

Don't worry if you haven't had time to submit an objection yet - if you can get even a completed form to Council by the end of this week, it is likely to be considered.


PROPERTY: 38 Merri Parade, NORTHCOTE, VIC 3070
Developer: Merri Merri Developments

Feel free to email me if you need any assistance.



Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Merri Stationeers - Working Bee Sunday 12 July

Merri Stationeers

Working Bee

Sunday 12th July, 10.00 am till 2.00 pm

Dear neighbours, the Merri Stationeers have been successful in obtaining a grant @ $6,000 from Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria, plus a license from VicTrack to revegetate two small parcels of land west of the Merri Station (see attachment with the areas blacked in)

This means that after last year’s mulching and the more recent clean-up, we can now embark on the first stage of planting!

We will have to do some more mulching before we put in the plants and trees and need all the help we can get. So come along and bring your neighbours.

Wear sturdy shoes and bring your gardening gloves. We also need extra wheel barrows, spades, mattocks, pitch forks and brooms.

All welcome - Join the crew
Afternoon tea provided

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Summary of Saturday meeting attended by Cr Trent McCarthy and the Hon Fiona Richardson

12-1 pm, 4th July: Bridge Street.

Street meeting attended by around 40 residents.

Cr Trent McCarthy spoke first - key points;
  • Trent is the only Councillor representing Rucker Ward on council's 5 member planning committee. The two other Rucker Councillors are Cr Steven Tsitas and Cr Diana Asmar, who is also the Mayor.
  • The other planning committee members are the 3 from Preston (Vince Fontana, Nick Katsis, Ben Morgan) and 1 from La Trobe (Tim Laurence).
  • Spoke about Northcote Bowl development (96 apartments) that was called in by the Planning Minister Justin Madden MP before Council had a chance to vote on it.
  • Note how council makes its decisions. Relies on planning staff to meticulously review the planning application, including all the objections and present a case to council either recommending the development be approved as is or (more likely) subject to the recommended amendments from the planning officer.
  • If a council refuses a planning permit application, the proponent can take their case to VCAT.
  • VCAT may or may not suggest amendments to the application.
  • Review past minutes of the Darebin Planning Committee.
  • Important to object on different points for example, if everyone objects on the basis of increased traffic, this counts as one point. So need to look at numerous reasons for the objection.

His key tips were:
  • Look at what you can object to - stick to facts and the impacts on you. Do not comment who is going to live there.
  • Beware of coming across as a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), an accusation often directed to the residents in the South end of Darebin. Emphasise that we genuinely welcome the development of the site, which was the unanimous position expressed by all those present at the meeting.
  • There will be a planning consultant's meeting to which the developer and the objectors will be invited. You should attend this meeting and ensure the developer understands your concerns. If you have strong representation at this meeting a clear message is sent to the developer that this community is concerned about the proposal and wants a good outcome for this neighbourhood.

The Hon Fiona Richardson MLA, Member for Northcote in the Victorian Legislative Assembly, spoke on planning from a State perspective:
  • If a planning application is called in by the Minister, the decision is taken out of council hands. In the case of the Northcote Bowl development Fiona took a delegation of residents in to see Minister Madden. At that meeting the Minister was persuaded that the Darebin community was able to make a decision and returned the application to Council.
  • If a planning application is called in a panel is established and residents can present their concerns directly to this decision panel. This is not a VCAT panel.
  • The State views Darebin as having a good reputation in planning.
  • Understand the difference between your ambit claim and your bottom line (this is what you are willing to accept).
  • Important to form a sub-committee through which all residents can work and present a united voice.
  • Fiona can facilitate a meeting between residents and the Minister if it comes to that.
  • Fiona advised that Minister Madden is an architect and does have a good sense of what makes a good development.
  • Should try and keep decision making local.
Last points:
  • People can send their objections directly to the other members of the Darebin planning committee.

Minutes: Anne-Marie Tenni

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Welcome to the Merri Community Group site

Hello all,

Welcome to our site, where we will be sharing information and posting updates on developments and activities in our local neighbourhood, including the proposed development at 38 Merri Parade, Northcote. If you are interested in joining with the group of affected residents in the area defined by Merri Parade, Charles Street and the Epping Train Line, please feel free to post a comment and we will be in touch.