News from the beyond the UGB!
IN recent news, the owners of the discount ‘hardware’ store, Bunnings, have announced that they are placing one of their mall style Warehouses on the outskirts of Warragul. This sorts of development is concerning for several reasons;
Firstly, Warragul’s shopping precinct is accessible without needing to use a car. Most shops and such can be accessed by foot. By placing the Bunnings Warehouse on the outskirts, this will force Warragul residents to use the car. From an environmental point of view, this is quite bad. From a transport planning point of view, unless the developers of the Warehouse decide that the single lane road into Warragul needs to be widened, there will be considerable traffic problems caused by the patrons of the Warehouse.
Secondly, the development sets a precedent for more development outside the generally agreed Warragul city limits. If Bunnings can put in a big warehouse, why can’t Delfin whack down some cookie cutter houses around it? And so on and so forth. Warragul has always been a town has grown around two main areas; the main transportation hubs (the station and main road) and the schools. With this Bunnings Warehouse, this breaks the pattern of Warragul’s previous development and is more akin to development around the dreaded Fountain Gate, of Kath and Kim fame (this is a serious is-soo). But I digress, the main point I’m trying to make is that the out-of-centre development that this Bunnings Warehouse represents breaks the historical pattern of growth in Warragul, and sets a precedent for more aggressive development further out.
Finally, and this could just be rumour (LIES! ALL LIES! Ahem…), but word on the proverbial grapevine is that the Westfield group, the people responsible for Chadstone, Fountain Gate et al are planning to build something along the lines of the aforementioned shopping centres around the Warragul Bunnings Warehouse. Of course, this would have dire consequences for the retailers in Warragul’s CBD. Well, if not dire, than marginally disruptive…of course, this could all be damned hearsay. Good old gossip.
Anyhoo, there’s just some thoughts on what’s happening in the country!
Oh, some links too:
Baw Baw Planning Scheme Online
The Baw Baw Planning Scheme map.: The area in question is at the middle of the Rural Zone.
31st March, 2004 00:04:55
Once again I'm in agreement
Yes Tom I feel your pain regarding out of centre development. This may be a stupid question, but does Melbourne 2030 have any influence over regional areas? Do you know if they have any activity centre or out of centre development policies? It would be very interesting to know.
Maybe we should all take the view much the same as Bill Heslop from Muriel's Wedding, "You can't stop progress".
Anthony 31st March, 2004 01:00:23
You'd think that, wouldn't you...
No, I don't think that M2030 has any powers over regoinal councils. Hell, it doesn't seem like it has many powers over the city councils either!
Tom 31st March, 2004 09:43:18
I wouldn't necessarily say that
It depends who you ask about M2030. The councils say it is destroying their local areas, over-riding local democracy - the State government says that the councils are ignoring it and shame on them.
There are provisions in M2030 for regional areas, of which Warragul misses out on a mention - despite being one of those areas people commute from. In most places - Portland for instance - where UGBs exist you get thriving satellite towns on the edge of the boundaries jurisdiction (it can't go forever after all). In Melbourne's case this is the beginning of the regional councils - ie. Longwarry, Drouin and Warragul. So, there are things that talk about that, even if they aren't relevant o this issue.
This is essentially a 'big-box' development. The developer will tell the council he can't find suitable land to build a large store - for large products - in the existing 'CBD' and wants to build on a good transport route. It is quite common - the Harvey Norman in Traralgon is a good example.
Whether it is a good idea or not is another matter, In a place like Nunawading it ended up pretty crap (an aside, isn't that a major activity centre now?). Warragul is growing pretty fast - very fast actually - and needs to expand its retail area so the council needs to work out how to do that. Do they build another CBD type area in that part of town - somewhat like Traralgon West, but less crap? A mixed use urban village? A shopping centre or strip for big box development - ala Mid Valley Morwell? There are lots of reasons why the second option would be good and lots of reasons why they'll do the terrible last option.
Russ 31st March, 2004 21:33:54
I just came across this forum and am amazed that RMIT students are actually critical of Melbourne 2030. I thought your planning department had you all totally brainwashed.
Tell me, is there any REAL opposition to endless population growth to drive endless expansion there? Do the lecturers ever express despair at what is happening to our water and to our urban bushland?
Sheila N 4th October, 2004 07:17:23
M2030 Influence on Regional Areas
We are Quark & Neutrino Productions and we make films - documentaries - about the destruction of urban bushland and undemocratic development that takes from incumbent local citizens to finance borrowings for developer/shire/State encouraged housing developments that rely on the importation of inhabitants on a grand scale from elsewhere. We note particularly, for the country and outer regional areas, something that looks like unofficial guarantees of quasi franchises for 'activity centre' commercial ammenities, notably indoor pools/sports areas through the closure of established outdoor and indoor pools in regional town centres. Local citizens are absolutely traumatised by these apparent manoevres and fear as well that they have been forced to take on massive debts. Packenham is a case in point.
Yes, there is real opposition.
On Saturday 2nd October, I ran a meeting of a number of groups which included Victorian Ratepaper groups, including Protectors of Public Land Victoria, Kew Cottages association, Sustainable Population Australia, Green Wedges Coalition, Cram, SOS, and several others that I actually didn't manage to note down.
Responding to the speakers, people were able to confirm trends on the unnecesscary closure of swimming pools for projected new commercial centres, vast debts entered into, some specific development brands implicated, a club of CEOs overseeing these trends, the pressure from the State, the absolute waste of time of VCAT and the incompetence of VCAT members (including the non-lawyer- members' obsequious and ignorant respect for silks ... I could go on and on and on.
I did my MA by Research in Population Policy and Land-Use planning and Housing systems, mostly comparing France & Australia, from 1945-2000 with projections to 2050. If anyone is interested, it is at www.alphalink.com.au/~smnaesp/populationspeculation.htm
I identified a structural system privileging land speculation and inflation of land prices by artificially accelerating population growth from the 1890s and I named names for similar trends in the late 1990s and onwards, noting the involvement of the Murdoch & Fairfax Press through their property dot coms in the globalisation of the Australian property market, the winding down of protection of Australian land from wholesale exploitation by owners of more valuable foreign currencies from 1979 onwards. I compared our system (which is common to all the English speaking Western Countries and comes from the UK originally) to the continental West European system, which is quite different and which defeated population growth and expansion after the first oil shock due to its inherent feedback to the State of the costs associated with infrastructure expansion (which we in Australia call 'profits', although they are driving massive debts and condemning Australians to needless water impoverishment ...
I have since then developed hypotheses on land-use planning systems which take into account genetic determinants of population spacing in other species and in our own. I have so far been able to identify features of land-use planning and inheritance systems which mimic these, if anyone is interested.
Sheila Newman email@example.com
Sheila N 5th October, 2004 08:41:54
In reply to your first point...
Your cynicism doesn't wash with me. If you had been keeping an eye on recent planning articles, both in the PIA publication and various journals, hell, even The Age, then you'd quickly realise that RMIT lecturers have given 2030 plenty of rational thought. Several papers have been published by several lecturers on several facets of 2030, thus providing a springboard for intelligent discussion. These papers are critical on 2030 and as a result, reflect the teaching methods that we have at RMIT.
Next time, give RMIT planners a bit of credit where it is due. We're not mindless peons feeding on our lecturers' views without a moment's notice nor are our lecturers government stooges.
Now, about your question pertaining to 'endless growth'.
Obviously, we are rather critical of 2030's guidelines on urban consolidation and protection of green wedge land. The problem of the green wedges being built out has been addressed somewhat by the provision in ALL planning schemes incorporating green wedge land thereby protecting the land under statutory laws. This has gone some way to stifling urban development on the fringe of the city.
Urban sprawl is a bit more difficult. We certainly don't support unfetted growth at RMIT, but by that same token, we are also quite hesitant to go full ball for the whole ' 5 storey flat development on Lygon St' sort of thing.
Naturally, my views here do not mirror those of the uni, these are just observations I've picked up over the years.
Tom 6th October, 2004 00:46:05