Thanks everyone for a terrific day last Saturday. The only rain-free day we've had in ages (scorching in fact), three great musical acts, a whole street for kids to run wild on and plenty of good company to while away the afternoon.
To be repeated! Great photos by Dominica Krstic available from the link below:
Well the results are in and everyone seems keen on spending our leftover $$ from the VCAT process on a street party. Given that applications to Council to close a street for an afternoon require a month or two's notice, it seems sensible that we make it around the Christmas season, or maybe a bit earlier.
Since I'm a hopeless events person, interest from party animals in getting this organised very welcome! Just contact me on the admin email address at the top of the page if you're interested and available, or just have some good ideas.
Well the results are in - despite a sterling effort, sadly we didn't gain any further ground at VCAT.
It's worth remembering we are still significantly better off with the latest plans than we were to begin with - I think this development is something we can all live with. Regardless, we gave it a damn good shot, and can take comfort we did everything we possibly could. Our advocate John Glossop really got his hands dirty and presented our case beautifully. Sad it didn't pay off in the end, but we now have some valuable experience under our belt. Unfortunately this will not be the last major development on our doorsteps.
I look forward to future rounds of late night scheming and red wine with you all! Thanks for a very memorable journey.
We're settling up our bills over the next couple of weeks and will be in touch to give a full account of expenses incurred and any remaining funds.
If it's okay with you all, I suggest we continue to use the Merri Community Group as a means for communicating with each other on various matters that affect us all. The Local Area Traffic Management Plan that Councillor Trent McCarthy kicked off with Council will invite our involvement soon, but the first order of business should be organising a get together to mark a welcome end to this particular chapter!
Thanks to everyone who has been able to contribute to our fundraising to take our case to VCAT. I'm pleased to confirm we've successfully raised the amount required and can now instruct our advocate, John Glossop, to proceed with our submission.
As mentioned below, the hearing commences on Wednesday, 23 June at 10:00 am and is scheduled to run for three days. If you have some time around this date, or are working in the city, please put aside some time to come in to view proceedings. It would be great if we could demonstrate to the Tribunal the broad support from residents for our push.
As stated in our emails to the group, our chief remaining concerns for the revised plans are for significant visual bulk presented to properties down the middle of the block between Union and Bridge Streets by the proposed apartment complex, and the major traffic impact on our local streets flowing from doubling our local population. When considered against concurrent traffic developments, such as the redirection of vehicles from High Street down Merri Parade to assign priority to the Bundoora tram, plus the single-lane status of South Park Street, we are looking at a major transformation of our precinct into a frustrating and dangerous tangle of vehicles. Let's keep our streets peaceful, safe and accessible.
A quick update: as you're no doubt aware, Darebin Council have rejected the proposal by Merri Merri Developments, who have now applied directly to VCAT to have the proposal approved, unamended. For all those who submitted objections to the Darebin Council, look out in your letterboxes tonight for a letter explaining the process from here. Email us if you would like further information.