Western Distributor, Dons Site update

As your long-standing Strand ward councillors, Mayor Peter Hemphill and I are aware of the issues of greatest concern to you.  

Below is an extract from our latest STRAND WARD NEWSLETTER which we have just distributed:

“Dear Resident,

We thought we would bring you up-to-date on a few issues affecting the Spotswood and South Kingsville area. With the State Government now releasing their so-called “Reference Design” for the Western Distributor project and some big housing developments already in the wind, there is plenty going on which will affect the amenity of this area. Never in our 17 years on the Hobsons Bay City Council has there been so many big issues affecting the immediate vicinity. Please contact us if you need to know more after reading our newsletter. Be sure to copy both of us in if sending an email.

 

WESTERN DISTRIBUTOR

Just in recent weeks, the Government has released its “Reference Design” for the Western Distributor tollway project. It is clearly the Government’s “Preference Design”. We are pleased they went with a long tunnel option but DISAPPOINTED in where they want to put the ramps to Hyde St to service the Spotswood petrochems and provide a safer option for “placarded” loads not able to travel through the new tunnel to the port. In effect, the Reference Design calls for installing ramps either side (north and south) of the Westgate Freeway, but tucked in closer to the freeway and bridge than the original Option 4 proposal.

 

Council supports – and continues to support – Option 2, with some slight modification, which includes both on and off ramps on the north side of the freeway and close to the freeway, plus a flyover over the top of the freeway near Donald McLean Reserve. Option 2 has the least impact on our residents. At its meeting on July 26, Council called for this option being incorporated into the Environmental Effects Statement process. This option means there will be less impact on Donald McLean Reserve sportsground, the Golf Club, local homes and the Emma McLean Kindergarten.

 

Importantly, and this applies to all options, we want the Government to consider designs at the Hyde Street/ Douglas Parade intersections for the on-off ramps which allow seamless flow of traffic. So that means ramps and fly-overs to eliminate traffic lights at these intersections to ensure that traffic flows up and down Douglas Parade are not held up. We only have two roads out of Williamstown and Newport and Spotswood going north:  Melbourne Rd and Douglas Parade. We do not want further quagmires in peak hour for those people who have to use these roads to go north to carry out their business. Melbourne Road is already a bottleneck during the morning peak and we don’t need Douglas Parade clogged up as well.

 

HBCC has been arguing for many years it wants the best quality sound barriers along the freeway and that continues to be our position on the Western Distributor. It also means we want noise amelioration with the flyover over the freeway under Option 2. Whichever option the Government goes for, we will move for truck bans on Hudsons Rd, Blackshaws Rd and other major roads in the municipality to ensure there is no toll avoidance by trucks. The exception, of course, will be local delivery trucks. So that means we want to take big trucks off Hudsons Rd in particular.

 

The Council has made its deep concerns known to the project team and continues to lobby hard to get a design that is in the best interests of Spotswood, Kingsville and Hobsons Bay. Please go to the Council’s website to learn more about the council’s position www.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au/westerndistributor .

 

IS DON. IS GOOD??

 

On Blackshaws Road in Altona North, there is an industrial site known as the Dons Smallgoods site, for which an application has been lodged for a huge residential development. The site is on the north side of Blackshaws Road between Kyle Road and New Street and backs on to the Westgate Freeway. We understand there will be about 3000 housing units in this development, although the developers have not given exact numbers to date. So that probably means about an extra 4000 to 6000 cars coming and going from this site. We think this will cause further blockages on Melbourne Road and Millers Road in peak hour traffic. It also potentially means more cars parking near the Spotswood Station, which is also reaching capacity.

 

Combined with the Western Distributor project, the

Dons Smallgoods housing estate will have a huge impact on traffic flows in the area. The Government has sent the

Metropolitan Planning Authority out to speed up this development. We have told them we want tunnels under the

Westgate Freeway linking Kyle Road and New Street to streets on the north side of the freeway. That will provide some “relief valves” for traffic merely wanting to go north rather than further clogging Melbourne Road or Millers Road. We urge you to support this proposal and let the Government know this needs to be sorted out before the developers submit a detailed plan for the site. Let the MPA know a solution for traffic is needed NOW. The developers will potentially block out this proposal unless action is taken soon.

 

The Council has been arguing for sports fields, such as football ovals, soccer pitches and basketball/netball courts in this development to give kids spaces to be active. For too long, big housing developments ignore these basic needs. A kindergarten and day care centre will also be needed.

 

FORMER CALTEX SITE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

 

Another big housing estate also sits on Blackshaws Road, this time at the Melbourne Road end. Known as the Caltex site, a developer has proposed a housing development comprising about 600 residential units, including an 8-10 storey tower on the northern side overlooking the freight rail line. Heights of two to three storeys were proposed along Blackshaws Road.

 

The Council said the site could only support 420 dwellings and opposed the height of the tower. The planning application went before VCAT and the developer lost the battle. In particular, the tribunal said, among other things, the dwellings on the rail interface should only be three storeys, ranging to five storeys in the centre of the site. The developer has taken the matter to the Supreme Court, which is an extreme course of action. A hearing is expected on August 11.

 

BIG HOUSING  DEVELOPMENT ON McLISTER STREET

 

We seem to be inundated with big housing developments in the area. You will notice the site on the corner of Melbourne Road and McLister Street in Spotswood, just south of the Spotswood Primary School has been physically cleared to make way for a housing/retail development. Plans for an Aldi supermarket, medical centre, specialty shops and 240 dwellings were passed by Council’s Special Planning Committee about three or more years ago. That meant a six storey development.

 

But the developer now wants more housing, resubmitting an application, this time for 350 housing units in a complex ranging in height to about eight storeys. Council is now assessing the information which the developer has now submitted. Most likely, that will come back to Council’s Special Planning Committee if there are more than 10 objections if it goes to advertising. We will keep you informed on that one.

 

Feel free to get in touch with us at aaltair@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au or phemphill@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au.

Angela’s mobile is 0419762267

Peter is on 0419762266.