Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Day at VCAT for No 71 Kathryn and 72 Anne Road.

Yesterday David and Valerie Chaney, Iren Fullarton, Joyce Ward and Ian and Maree Simpson attended a VCAT hearing for No 61 Kathryn and 72 Anne Road, opposite the shops. Council was represented by a private Consultant Town Planner.

We presented our arguments exceedingly well, covering removal of vegetation, traffic congestion especially with three driveways opposite the shops, the overdevelopment of the proposal, the damaging effect on Knoxfield’s wildlife, safety aspects for children walking to school and parents to the kinder establishment and sustainability of the development.

It was really interesting to learn that the Knox City Traffic Department, didn’t oppose the development as a traffic or parking concern. Neither did the Knox Council oppose the removal of the vegetation from the site, but preferred an Onset Agreement to replace existing trees lost by this development. How do we get them to understand that the wildlife of Knoxfield cannot wait another 15 years for these trees to grow? What about the effect on our environment in a time of climate change when up to 16, 100 year old trees are removed. Where do the parrots find new hollows to nest in? The questions flood to mind, but it seems that no one cares. We all thought and felt proud that Knox was committed to keeping our suburb, leafy green and a welcome place for our wildlife. The way things are going there will not be any old urban forest canopy trees left in Knoxfield. I wonder what the council’s report into the unique character of Knoxfield’s trees will report. Sorry we couldn’t find any trees.

The council didn’t find need to oppose the removal of vegetation, or concern with traffic problems but the developer was so concerned that he employed three expert witnesses to counter our arguments. Valerie and David Chaney researched and refuted the claims of the expert witness for traffic. His claims of available parking, dangers for local traffic with the development were counted expertly, but after lunch he arrived late with new counts of parking spaces available and traffic measures to permit traffic access to the site. Irene Fullarton and Ian Simpson tackled the vegetation removal and landscape problems so well, the expert witnesses were sometimes finding it difficult to counter the arguments presented. Joyce Ward in her excellent style, presented arguments to demonstrate this development was not child friendly and created dangers for children living onsite and those passing to school. Joyce also mentioned that the current infrastructure was hardly coping with the current population. David Chaney in his usual professional style brought the attention of the tribunal to lack of adherence to the Rescodes, especially to set backs on Kathryn Road.

The tribunal Chairperson is to make a site visit and we will learn of her decision in the near future.

On the 30th March at 10.00am we return for the hearing on No 40 Kathryn Road. This is we must win to prevent double storey townhouses lining Kathryn Road all the way to the Knoxfield shops and 60 double storey townhouses on the six acre blocks. Please try to make it to VCAT we need people at the hearing. Yesterday 6 objectors attending out of 114 initial objections did not look good at the tribunal and certainly wouldn’t have pressured the chairperson to favour our arguments, especially when the council didn’t support them.

Ian Simpson

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