“Consultation” sessions

Plan at bottom of page

Salta representatives conducted two information sessions on Wednesday 13th and Saturday 16th July. These sessions were in no way a “community consultation process”.

Feedback sheets were available, but as many attendees did not know they were there, and as the sheets are to be collated by Salta representatives, they are worse than useless due to the lack of transparency or independent scrutiny. As we pointed out in May, the Minister needs to institute proper, independent community consultations, untainted by the involvement of the developer. Otherwise, Minister Wynne and the Victorian Government risk repeating mistakes made by former Planning Minister Justin Madden, who was responsible for the original Salta deal on the MFB site, and for making it a Priority Development Zone, enabling over development of the Yarra River Corridor, and the design of “Walmer Plaza”.
Many people remember the 2010 “consultations” scandal of former Planning Minister Justin Madden.  On 25 February 2010 the ABC revealed an email mistakenly sent from Mr Madden’s office containing a media strategy document which contained plans for a sham consultation process http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-02-25/government-email-reveals-plans-to-deceive/343430

We need a proper open consultation process this time.

The Meetings
Salta reps stated that their design for “Walmer Plaza” was the best solution, and the minor changes are a generous response to community concern.

When pointed out that there were a number of alternative designs and access routes possible, but which may require the sacrifice of a couple of apartments, Salta reps stated again that their design was the best solution.

When questioned about the fact that the “Walmer Plaza” design focus was purely to provide more space for more apartments in the developments, particularly the development at 647-649, Salta reps stated that their design was the best solution.

When questioned about “Davidson Plaza” (on the other side of the development) Salta reps agreed that it was a “drop off zone” akin to the failed Southbank designs. They again stated that it was the best solution.

When questioned about the dedicated traffic lanes in Victoria St for the developments, Salta reps stated that these met Vic Roads  requirements, and it was the best solution.

All attendees at the sessions could agree on one fact. All Salta’s designs are the best solutions… for Salta’s commercial interests.

The changes that Salta have made are:
1. To put in a bicycle channel on the new steps to make it possible to wheel bikes up these steps.
2.To double the path width to 3.1m, with widened rounded edges to two of the switchbacks.
3. To shorten the length of the mid-level switchback paths (formerly 2x80m distances; no new distances provided on plan). This switchback is the most direct proposed cycle/disabled access to and from the Trail, and is an abrupt 180 degree turn across two way pedestrian traffic. This is a very dangerous major congestion point.

The issues that were not addressed:

  • The “Plaza” is still 2m higher.
  • The new stairs are still there.
  • The current simple and efficient bike ramp  which allows voluntary separation of pedestrians and cyclists is still gone.
  • The switchbacks are still there, with the dangerous one from upper path to middle path still containing the most dangerous shared, two-way, 180 degree switchback.
  • The detour still runs awkwardly under the building, next to the restaurant space. (Plan does not show the building over the path).
  • The paths are still two-way shared use paths, with no data offered on the amount of users expected to compete for space.
  • The car tunnels are still there.
  • The crossings in front of the car tunnels are still dangerous.
  • The “Plaza” still looks exactly like the concrete roof for a carpark, which it is.
  • The space is still not user-friendly, and it is still unwelcoming for all users, but especially for the disabled or elderly.
  • The entire space and the paths are still unfit for the amount of competing users.
  • There will still be difficulties for emergency access/responders.
  • Salta reps stated that there was provision for access to the footbridge for repairs and possible replacement. This is in direct contrast to the concerns expressed by the council about the access issues and inability to move heavy equipment down from the new levels for repair or replacement.

The issues of the height, bulk, environmental impact and the diminution of community amenity which the developments would cause to the Yarra Corridor and the river itself were raised by attendees, but were not responded to by Salta representatives. It was made clear to attendees that the only changes to be considered would be minor cosmetic ones.

Please voice your objections, and demand a transparent process of real community consultation from our Planning Minister (and Member for Richmond) Hon Richard Wynne, and our Premier Hon Daniel Andrews, who can decide to retain public ownership of the Crown Land of Walmer Street; Hon Lisa Neville, Minister for Water; and Hon Lily D’ Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment,Climate Change and Suburban Development.
We urge you to copy in Mr David Davis, Shadow Planning Minister, Mr Matthew Guy, Leader of the Opposition, Mr Brad Battin, Shadow Environment Minister and Mr Greg Barber, Leader of the Greens.
Addresses:
Hon Richard Wynne:   richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au
Twitter  http://twitter.com/rwynnemp
Premier Hon Daniel Andrews:   daniel.andrews@parliament.vic.gov.au  http://www.facebook.com/DanielAndrewsMP          http://www.twitter.com/DanielAndrewsMP
Hon Lisa Neville:   lisa.neville@parliament.vic.gov.au
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/@LisanevilleMP
Hon Lily D’ Ambrosio:     lily.d’ambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au
Twitter http://twitter.com/LilyDAmbrosioMP

Mr David Davis:   david.davis@parliament.vic.gov.au
Mr Matthew Guy:   matthew.guy@parliament.vic.gov.au
Mr Brad Battin:  brad.battin@parliament.vic.gov.au
Mr Greg Barber:   greg.barber@parliament.vic.gov.au
http://www.facebook.com/GregBarberMP    Twitter: http://twitter.com/GregMLC

plaza_salta

^^ Salta’s revised plan shown at meetings. Note, building undercroft over path is not shown, but will still be present, as below:

steps01

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2 thoughts on ““Consultation” sessions

  1. Brilliantly put. You could also have added the fact that Salta’s 3D model is deliberately misleading in that it does not show their development east of Walmer St, thus giving the impression that it is an open space.

    Like

  2. I object to providing my identity details to a property developer to participate in a community consultation. What privacy guarantees are there. This information should be held by the government not private interests.

    Like

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