Letter template for Ministers

If you would like to use the letter below, or use as a reference for your own letter, please do so.

Addresses for Ministers are:

Hon Lisa Neville,

Level 17, 8 Nicholson Street,

East Melbourne, VIC 3002

email: lisa.neville@parliament.vic.gov.au

Hon Richard Wynne,
Minister for Planning and Member for Richmond
PO Box 1474,
Collingwood, VIC 3066
email :richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au

Dear Mr Wynne,

I would like to express my objection to the developments at 647-649 Victoria Street Abbotsford, and 627 Victoria Street (Fire Brigade Site),  Abbotsford. I believe both these developments are completely unsuitable and immensely destructive for the threatened Yarra River Corridor. The existing permit for 647-9 Victoria Street should not have been approved, and the new application is even more unsuitable. The decision of a previous Planning Minister to exempt 627 Victoria Street from normal Planning processes was peculiar, and should be revisited with a view to redressing the mistakes made, and restoring public trust in government.

There is a widespread public perception of extremely inappropriate and tainted processes in these development applications. Many inappropriate and inexplicable concessions were made to the developer, such as the granting of public land for access to the Fire Brigade site, and the proposed granting of public land for the site at 647-9 Victoria Street. There was certainly a lack of transparency and public information about the process.

Both developments, (in both current and amended forms), cause serious and permanent problems for the environment of the Yarra River Corridor, for the heritage of Abbotsford, and for the economic well-being of the area.

Both developments :

– are far high, too bulky, and too close to the river bank.  The proposed height of 647-9 is double the width of the river. The setback is 26.5 m. The river is only 26 m wide at this point.

– will cause fragmentation of habitat and disruption of the river corridor, with the probable loss of species.

– provide no riparian buffer zone, and in fact remove flora. Removing riparian vegetation increases the erodibility of stream banks, and can also speed the rate of channel migration. It also increases the temperature of water, and of the surrounding area.

– will cause a huge increase in light pollution, with damaging effects for fauna, flora, and humans.

– will destroy the ability of the public to enjoy the quiet and peaceful amenity of a particularly beautiful stretch of the Yarra Corridor

-acquire Crown Land and assets that are in constant public use and make them less usable for the public

-propose a completely unsuitable treatment of that Crown Land, which disadvantages all public users, and removes highly utilised public assets such as the bicycle ramp.

-Contravene the LPPF, which states that developments should: provide safe and convenient pedestrian and bicycle environments.
Fail to  meet either (i) Strategy 30.1   Improve pedestrian and cycling links in association with new development where possible,  or (ii) Strategy 30.2 Minimise vehicle crossovers on street frontages.

– do not meet floodplain control standards that other property owners are required to meet, and completely ignore existing drainage.  Council states that: “the application drawings show a vehicular connecting tunnel that would be constructed across and over the drain. Alarmingly, the drain has not been depicted on any of the drawings.”

– further destroy the heritage of Abbotsford, and block the Skipping Girl Vinegar sign, as well as  overshadow and encroach on the historic Walmer Street Footbridge

– exacerbate traffic problems to an enormous degree with the introduction of 687 car spaces in total.

– do not contribute to diversity of housing. There will aready be more than 7,000 new apartments in the city of Yarra from 2013 -2018, turning Abbotsford into a dormitory suburb.

– add to the excess of large developments which have contributed to the economic downturn of the suburb of Abbotsford, with banks placing Abbotsford on a list of 5 suburbs exhibiting characteristics which may indicate future deterioration in credit risk.

Developers are destroying the environment and amenity which they are seeking to profit from. In twenty years, what will we tell our descendants? We did not stop the destruction of our environment and heritage because we lacked the courage or the will to say no to a few greedy people.

Please make your legacy one of courageous change rather than one of covering up and endorsing the mistakes of the past.

Yours faithfully,