Correspondence re Walmer Plaza (August)

Letter from Council to Minister Richard Wynne ( 11/08/16) and letter from Minister Richard Wynne to Council (21/08/16) below.

Council expresses their serious concerns with Walmer Plaza, including ease of access, level changes and switchbacks, interactions with vehicle traffic, and the fact that the usage of Walmer Street has changed, and will only continue to increase.

Minister Wynne’s very brief letter seems to suggest that the only solution possible would be to alter the level of the bridge, at enormous cost and disruption, in order to mitigate the single issue of the steps/one ramp, and allow Salta to proceed with what seem to be virtually unchanged plans.

It is to be hoped that this is not, in fact, the only idea that is to be considered, as this does not appear to address any of the many issues that concern the community, such as the shared narrow paths, switchbacks, car tunnels and pedestrian and cyclist interaction with vehicles, the ugly and unwelcoming space unfit for competing users, the development height, bulk, impact on the environment, and cost, both economic and social, to the community.

Minister Wynne, the community is becoming extremely tired of our interests being considered a distant second to the interests of developers. Why are community views disregarded?

 

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wynne letter plaza

News for “Walmer Plaza”

City of Yarra Council Minutes from 19th July Meeting regarding “Walmer Plaza” (excerpt below).

Minutes Page 29
Yarra City Council – Ordinary Meeting of Council Minutes – Tuesday 19 July 2016
13. Urgent Business
13.1 Note and Stamp Printing Branch

COUNCIL RESOLUTION
Moved: Councillor Stone Seconded: Councillor Barbour
1. That Council note:
(a) the approval by the Minister for Planning as the responsible authority in
2008 (PL 03/0675) of a planning permit for the land at 602 to 607
Victoria Street;
(b) that this approval included two car ramps in Walmer St for entry and exit
to underground car parking as well as nominal proposal for the
remainder of Walmer Street to be designated a “plaza” for pedestrians
and cyclists;
(c) the Council resolution of 21st October 2008:
“32. That Council is of the opinion that it considers that Walmer Street
is not required for public traffic is an unused road.
33. That Council advise Department of Sustainability and Environment
that it consents to the road closure and confirms Walmer Street
as ‘unused’ under section 400 (1) of the Land Act 1958 and
provides the Governor in Council with its concurrence in writing
with the closure of the unused road pursuant to section 349 (1)
Land Act 1958 subject to the following conditions:
(a) the surface level of Walmer Street except for the ramp areas
and any approved encroachments, to remain as public
space with unfettered public access;
(b) the designation of Walmer Street is altered from a road to a
place for public purpose with Council being the committee of
management;

Minutes Page 30
Yarra City Council – Ordinary Meeting of Council Minutes – Tuesday 19 July 2016
(c) a detailed section 173 agreement be entered into between
Salta, Council and DSE indemnifying Council of any defects
to the basement levels (and associated works) and
maintenance of the plaza level to the satisfaction of the
Responsible Authority;
(d) Salta to provide a bank guarantee of $50,000 to Council in
the event of any works being required to be undertaken
urgently to the plaza level; and
(e) the preparation of a ‘heads of agreement’ to achieve the
above outcomes signed by the Chief Executive Officer of the
City of Yarra”;
(d) the concerns expressed separately at that time by Council of the
difficulty in making this arrangement “work” for all parties;
(e) the fact that due to delays and changes in plans by the developer, the
above resolution has not been enacted;
(f) the fact that in the 9 years since this planning approval, use of Walmer
Street by cyclists and pedestrians has significantly increased and could
be seen to be incompatible with the presence of 2 car ramps in the
same space; and
(g) the proposed “redesign” of access to Walmer Street bridge from Walmer
Street by the developer which has attracted significant community
concern and criticism due to not accommodating current and future
volumes of cycling traffic nor pedestrians.
2. That the Mayor write to the Minister for Planning, the Hon Richard Wynne,
expressing council’s view that the use of Walmer Street has changed in the 9
years since the planning permit was granted, that the current design for a
“Walmer Street Plaza” is not optimal for current or future numbers of cyclists
or pedestrians, and requesting the Minister to facilitate a resolution of this
issue which allows unfettered, easy access by cyclists and pedestrians to the
Walmer Street bridge and plaza from both north and south, without complex
level changes and switchbacks and without interacting with vehicle traffic.
CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY