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.
The Age recently reported (29 August 2009) of a "huge housing estate to be built just outside Melbourne's proposed new urban boundary". The land, located 50 kilometres north of Melbourne in Mitchell Shire and zoned Mixed Use, is being developed by Australand and named 'Wallara Waters'. According to The Age, there is expected to be 5000 people living in the 186-hectare estate in 15 years, with Australand also "planning" shops, aged and child-care centres, schools and a medical centre.
According to Australand, the estate is located within 1 kilometre of a V-Line train station and within proximity to TAFEs, schooling and various sporting and recreation facilities.
However the proposal undermines the certainty and strategic approach to land supply that the government is aiming to provide with Melbourne 2030. The Age quotes RMIT University associate professor Michael Buxton, who states that "the Government should have stopped the approval of this sub-division in 2006, four years after Melbourne 2030 came out, aiming to prohibit this kind of development," adding that "it reinforces the fact the Government had no implementation plan for Melbourne 2030 and it took its eye off what developers were doing."
Sources: Melbourne 2030: Planning for sustainable growth; The Age, News, 29/08/2009.