Court blocks Catherine Hill and Gwandalan plans

A NSW Government decision to approve a 600 dwelling development in Catherine Hill has been ruled invalid by the Land and Environment Court today.  The decision also applies to a project application for another 187 dwelling development at nearby Gwandalan.

Approval was given by the former Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor, to allow Rose Group to build 600 dwellings at Catherine Hill Bay and 187 dwellings at Gwandalan.

Under a deal with the NSW Government, Rose Group had agreed to hand over approximately 300 hectares of land for a national park in return for development rights on 60 hectares.

Proposed Reforms to Moderninse Victoria's Planning Act

[Victorian Government Media Release]

THE Brumby Labor Government today released five response papers that set out proposed reforms to improve and modernise the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Planning Minister Justin Madden said the proposed reforms were prepared in response to 150 submissions to the discussion paper Modernising Victoria's Planning Act released in March 2009.

"The Brumby Labor Government is taking action to cut-red tape and improve the efficiency of the Planning and Environment Act 1987," Mr Madden said.

"Submissions were received from a variety of community organisations, government agencies, professional bodies as well as the planning and development industry, metropolitan and rural councils, and the general public.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

What happens on the other side of the UGB?


ACCORDING to the Victorian Government, the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) indicates the "limits of urban development and where non-urban values and land uses should prevail in metropolitan Melbourne" in order to provide "certainty" to decision makers and presumably, provide tangible guidelines and rules to developers, investors and speculators about where development can and cannot take place.

The main principle underlying UGB is that it "prevents unnecessary extension of community infrastructure and helps preserve the important qualities of rural areas".

Whilst the principles and theories supporting the use of urban growth boundaries are sound, the implementation and enforcement of the UGB boundary in Melbourne seems anything but certain.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

New Draft Plan to Guide Coastal Development in Far North Qld

[Queensland Government Media Release]

A new draft planning instrument for Queensland's coastline will have particular relevance for new coastal development in Far North Queensland when finalised, Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones said today.

Releasing the Draft Queensland Coastal Plan in Cairns, Ms Jones said the document would be available for public comment this Friday (28 August [2009]).

"Far North Queensland residents can help shape the future management and protection of the coastline by providing comments on the draft plan," she said.

"The new draft plan factors in a predicted sea level rise of 80 centimetres by 2100.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Queensland

$77,000 Boost for Werribee Riverbend Precinct

[Victorian Government Media Release]

WYNDHAM residents and visitors will benefit from $77,000 in Brumby Labor Government funding Planning Minister Justin Madden announced today.

Mr Madden said the funding would be used to investigate development concepts for the Riverbend Precinct in Werribee's City Centre.

"The Brumby Labor Government is taking action to rejuvenate Melbourne’s suburbs and maintain our liveability," Mr Madden said.

"We have provided $77,000 through the Expert Assistance Program (EAP) to Wyndham City Council for preliminary planning of the Riverbend Precinct in the Werribee City Centre.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Woolies hardware plan will 'devastate' independents: Xenophon

INDEPENDENT Senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon says the proposed takeover of hardware supply company Danks Holdings by Woolworths and Lowe’s will destroy competition and drive independent hardware stores out of the market.

Contrary to the claims of Woolworths that the acquisition will allow them to continue to support and grow the independent retailers, Senator Xenophon states that it "will allow Woolworths access to information about more than 1500 independent stores around the country" and that "Woolworths will know which stores are doing well, which stores are worth taking over and which stores can be put out of business."

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Australia

Western councils join union push for three rail lines (SMH)

LOCAL councils representing 1.6 million western Sydney residents have backed a union plan to build three rail lines in western and southern Sydney.

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils says a blueprint prepared by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union would reach into the corners of south-western and north-western Sydney that are poorly served by public transport... [Read more at Sydney Morning Herald].

Woolworths enters Bunnings' space

GROCERY giant Woolworths Limited has announced its plans to move into the $24 billion hardware sector through acquisition of Danks Holdings Limited (Danks), a joint venture with Lowe's and ambitions to secure 150 sites for large format hardware stores within five years.

Founded in 1946 and based in North Carolina, USA, Lowe's has grown to be the second largest home improvement retailer worldwide and the 7th largest retailer in the U.S.

According to Woolworths, Danks is Australia's second largest hardware distributor supplying 583 Home Timber & Hardware (205), Thrifty-Link Hardware (312) and Plants Plus Garden Centre (66) stores plus 939 independent hardware stores. The Danks Board has unanimously recommended that its shareholders accept the Woolworths/Lowe's offer.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Australia

Melbourne public transport patronage continues to grow

PATRONAGE on Melbourne's public transport continues to grow, with 2008/09 public transport usage up 9% compared to the previous 2007/08 period.

Tram trips rose 12.5 per cent, bus trips rose 9 per cent and train trips increased by more than 6 per cent amounting to a record number of 490 million trips for the year.

The figures arrive ahead of December, when the operators of Melbourne's tram and train network, Yarra Trams and Connex respectively, are replaced by new contracts with Keolis Downer EDI and Metro Trains Melbourne.

It is the first time in three years that train patronage growth was under 10% but comes as the first of 38 new trains was delivered overnight.  The train, similar to the Alstom X'Trapolis trains that already run in Melbourne, will undergo fit-outs and extensive testing, before beginning normal operation later this year.  The entire fleet of the 38 trains will not be in operation until 2014.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

A metro is good... but what about now?

THE Sydney Morning Herald reports today that public transport experts are urging the NSW Government to "postpone the Metro rail plan and invest in some quick fixes to get commuters moving quickly".

Peter Moore, the director of the International Union of Public Transport Australia-New Zealand believes the Government should focus on improvements that will be complete within the next five to 10 years by extending heavy rail, building rapid transit-ways for buses in the outer suburbs and building light rail within the inner city.

Backing the metro through the CBD as a "30-year plan", Moore states that population density in Sydney is sufficient for public transport and increased usage can be achieved through regular bus and train timetables. [Read more at Sydney Morning Herald].

Vote of confidence in public transport

[NSW Government Media Release]

PREMIER Nathan Rees today welcomed the latest public transport figures which saw a rise of more than 10.5 million journeys by passengers on our trains, buses and ferries, over the last financial year.

"This is a vote of confidence in our public transport system," said Mr Rees.

"We already have the biggest transport network in the country and we have seen patronage continue to rise steadily.

"During these tough times, it's even more important to have affordable and reliable public transport.

"These increases result in less congested roads and environmental benefits by reducing pollution.

Melbourne City Council to sell CBD laneways

MELBOURNE City Council plans to make almost $1.4 million by selling CBD laneways.  The Age reports that the council will sell the laneways to make way for the the new Emporium Melbourne shopping centre development.  This comes days after the controversial refusal to protect the historic art deco Lonsdale House building on the site.

According to The Age newspaper, documents reveal that the council plans to make $616,000 selling part of Lynch Place, $686,000 from Arcade Alley, $148,000 selling a section of the air space of Little Bourke Street and $6000 from basement area, and $21,000 for air space above Caledonian Lane.

The Emporium Melbourne development, including 240 new shops and a makeover of Myer's CBD store, is due to be completed before Christmas 2012.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Cities battle for NBN central (The Australian)

THE government may have just appointed an executive chairman to lead its ambitious plan to build and operate a $43 billion national broadband network but it is not clear which city the NBN company will call home.

NSW, Victoria and Queensland have all sought to claim the NBN headquarters, but so far only the two southern states have shown the conviction to make real bids... [Read more at The Australian].

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Australia

Vic Government Commits to South Morang Rail Extension

ORIGINALLY promised by Labor in 1999, the Victorian Government has announced that the 2009 budget (to be released Tuesday 5 May) will allocate $562.3 million to the extension of the Epping train line to South Morang.

The extension, named the South Morang Rail Extension Project, involves the duplication of a single track between Keon Park and Epping and the construction of 3.5 kilometres of new double track from Epping to South Morang. The new South Morang station will have parking for 500 cars, taxi rank, safe drop off area and feature integration with local bus routes.

Whilst the South Morang Rail Alliance believes the train line should "immediately" be extended further to Mernda, the Public Transport Users Association welcomed the announcement, but called for further line extension once the South Morang train station is open.

Tenders for the project are to be called later this year and construction would start in 2010, with an expected completion date of 2013.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Victoria - Review of the Planning and Environment Act

"MODERNISING Victoria's Planning Act - A discussion paper on opportunities to improve the Planning and Environment Act 1987" has been released and public submissions can be made until 1 May 2009.

The document can be found at the Department of Planning and Community Development website.

The DPCD states that the review is an "opportunity to modernise the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and enhance the operation of Victoria's planning system".

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

NSW – "Draft Centres Policy - Planning for Retail and Commercial Development" on exhibition

THE Department of Planning states that the Draft Centres Policy "provides a planning framework for the development of new and existing retail and commercial centres in NSW".

As outlined in the document, the policy is based on six planning principles:

  • Retail and commercial activity should be located in centres to ensure the most efficient use of transport and other infrastructure, proximity to labour markets, and to improve the amenity and liveability of those centres.
  • The planning system should be flexible enough to enable centres to grow, and new centres to form.
  • The market is best placed to determine the need for retail and commercial development. The role of the planning system is to regulate the location and scale of development to accommodate market demand.
  • The planning system should ensure that the supply of available floorspace always accommodates the market demand, to help facilitate new entrants into the market and promote competition.

New residential zones proposed for Victoria

THREE new residential zones are proposed to replace the existing Residential 1 Zone, Residential 2 Zone and Residential 3 Zone in Victoria. They are:

  • The Substantial Change Zone provides for housing growth by a mix of housing types that includes medium to higher density housing in appropriate locations.
  • The Incremental Change Zone allows for a variety of housing types including medium density housing provided that it respects the character of the neighbourhood.
  • The Limited Change Zone enables specific characteristics of the neighbourhood to be protected through greater control over new housing development.

Submissions can be made to the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) online, via email or mail and must be received by Thursday, 9 April 2009.

More information at Department of Planning and Community Development website.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

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