from Ron on Rodier
With this development currently at VCAT (22nd & 23rd Nov), it is timely that Ron has released his speech to council. Good luck to all residents with interest in Rodier St specifically and Ballarat Est generally.
RON MARSHALL’S TALK TO COUNCIL MEETING OF 14/11/12
Re 23 RODIER ST DEVELOPMENT
Thankyou for the chance to speak on this matter. I speak in favour of the recommendation from C of B Planning Department (PD) to reject the revised plan
for this Development. I note this is the second such recommendation from the PD; and I trust this makes your decision supporting the rejection of this proposal much easier?
I commend Mr Davison and the PD for the work put into arriving at their conclusions, and now intend to expand on some of the issues important to residents as we see it.
Placing the location of this proposal in context is very important. It abuts the SVC which is part of the Creeks & River Channels Heritage Precinct which lies within the Eureka St Heritage Precinct. The southern boundary of the site lies less than 80 mts from the northern boundary of the Historic Eureka Rebellion Site, which is on the National Register.
Councillors need to consider that the proposal to build this number of dwellings and the nature of their construction, all squashed in on this portion of land is a concern being so close to the iconic Eureka Rebellion site. You must be mindful of this fact when extolling the virtues of Ballarat’s historical past and heritage tradition when trying to attract tourists and indeed more persons to reside permanently in Ballarat. One does not want to appear hypocritical on this point.
The importance of having a buffer zone between the SVC and any construction of a dwelling on the site cannot be underestimated. A buffer zone should be
designated consistent in size, with all the other buffer zones that exist along the SVC until it ends near Main Rd. A buffer zone ties in with the mitigation of flooding risk. Our forefathers clearly thought this to be important.
No doubt you are aware of the risk of flooding to this land. The land is low lying, lush with green grass all year round, and has never been built on in 160 years of European settlement. Our forebears weren’t naïve, nor were they silly enough to build on this site.
Historically the land has flooded; one need only look at the 1990 photos and the write up in The Courier to gain an insight into the potential for inundation. The late Ballarat Courier stalwart reporter Jim Murphy stated in his article of 10/2/90 the following, I quote: “Specimen Vale Creek, between Victoria St and George St was blocked at Chamberlain St and flooded upstream to Stawell and Fussell Sts.”
Your own PD’s recommendation based on the advice of the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) is compelling reason enough to support the rejection of the revised plan. I need only refer you to their comments (p10 & 11 of Council Agenda) and I am sure will be as alarmed as I am, in knowing that the potential to flood over 50% of this property at a height of up to 1.08mts, is a realistic prospect. Indicated at this height on the Pole
Most importantly it is your obligation and duty to make decisions that are consistent with your own Ballarat Planning Scheme. To approve this revised plan
would be a violation of Clause 13.02 of that Scheme: and others I contend. (p5 of Council Agenda)
There now exists many Guidelines and Best Practice examples based on the results of enquiries looking recently into the Qld and Victorian floods – these
need to be seriously factored in to planning decisions of this nature.
Finally, there is considerable evidence from respected organizations like the BoM, the CSIRO and NASA; that says our future weather events such as sudden
rain downpours, will become more intense. With that comes the inherent risk of flash flooding. Combine this to an environment already known to be flood prone magnifies the potential for disaster. Our Councils and Town Planners will not be able to use the excuse that these factors were not known to them.
Residents are concerned with the disruption of this proposed staged development over, who knows how many years? A plan to dismantle a perfectly
good rear fence on one of the adjoining properties that will impact on privacy and security, it a genuine concern that should not be discounted.
We live in the Eureka Heritage Precinct, so named because it has heritage value and is given that title from another C of B document “BALLARAT HERITAGE
PRECINCTS Statement of Significance 2006”. Well worth a read.
There are many references in the Ballarat Planning Scheme which alludes to the importance of neighbourhood character. Clause 32.01 refers to one of the purpose being to: “To encourage residential development that respects the neighbourhood character”
In Clause 56.06-4 Neighbourhood street network objective – the Standard C17 states: “Contribute to the area’s character and identity or Take account of any identified significant features
**Similarly in Clause 54.02-1 Neighbourhood character objective “To ensure that the design respects the existing neighbourhood character or
contributes to a preferred neighbourhood character.
Is this development consistent with these statements – we say not.The like of this development does not exist in the Eureka Heritage Precinct; as such it can
be argued it is a high density development; not a medium density development as the proponents would suggest. Whatever density it is; it is unsuitable for this environs.
The proposal is to build 19 units on blocks the average size of which is 225sq mts. The 10 closest dwellings within this Precinct average 1025sq mts. Therefore five of the Units could fit on the average size existing block! This is allotment size we are talking about – the size of the Units is smaller again!
Do the Units have iron roofs like the houses nearby – No they are proposed as tiled roofs.
Are the Units built of weatherboards like 9 from 10 of the immediate dwellings in this Precinct – No they are of brick construction.
Some builders and Developers do try hard to meet the characteristics of specific areas; it can be done.
I draw your attention to PD’s pertinent comments on neighbourhood character and heritage in their recommendation for Council to reject this revised plan. (p12 & 13 of Council Agenda) This further reinforces our position on this point.
We note the PD raises other grounds for rejection of this proposal; including concerns with shared accessways and parking; waste storage and collection.
I should further mention the following concerns we have that we feel contravene other Clauses of the Planning Scheme: they are;
- a lack of proposed Open Public Space within the development site itself
- the proposal to site the exit/access road at the bottom of the Rodier St hill creating a road safety issue
- we are disappointed by the misrepresentations to portray the neighbourhood character to being different to what it is eg photo of ‘neighbourhood dwellings’ et al; which is contrary to Clause 55.01-1 that states: “The neighbourhood and site description may use a site plan, photographs or other technique and must accurately describe;
- in relation to the neighbourhood
- The pattern of development of the neighbourhood
- The built form, scale and character of surrounding development including front fencing
I have provided detailed information to all Councillors re this Development Proposal. I hope you’ve read it. The invitation to visit and familiarize yourself with
the area remains. I do thank Councillor Coates for meeting on site for 90’ to see for herself the environment. The grass being just cut, gave a better indication and exemplified the lowness of this land. I’d recommend to all Councillors on these issues especially, that in future you do so too if possible.
Councillors the PD is quite correct in their follow up decision to recommend that you reject this revised development plan. It has to be said that there will be some areas of land that should not be built on. That there will be some development plans that come before you which are simply unsuitable to be approved.
Your constituents want you to act in their best interests. Approving this land for development is not in their best interests, nor the best interests of this City. I
trust on behalf of the many concerned ratepayers and residents you reject this Proposal as is recommended by your PD?
Thank you for your attention to me.