Manningham anticipated that the eastern freeway extension to Springvale Road would significantly reduce traffic volumes along Doncaster road. This had provided the opportunity to transform the character of the road from a state highway carrying heavy traffic to a tree lined boulevard. 
Low Rise Building Click to Enlarge

Low Rise Residential Building
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 The 1997  Three Storey River of Life  proposal as part of the State Government’s  Living Suburbs scheme was the last opportunity for Manningham council to control the size of development on Doncaster Hill. Councillors had accepted the the lower height of buildings  but voted against the strategy due to car parking issues. During this period, all councils were required to produce a new format planning scheme which incorporated the new State wide planning provisions. The principles of the State Government’s ‘Living Suburbs’, a Policy for Metropolitan Melbourne into the 21st century for the State Government of Victoria 1995, were to be adopted in ‘The River of Life’.
 This was seen as a godsend for the Council staff, who were getting anxious about the prospect of



The achievement of mode shift is a complex issue, requiring a coordinated, long term approach across State and Local Government, developers and the community. The attractiveness, accessibility, reliability, efficiency and integration of sustainable transport modes such as public transport, cycling and walking are all considered key factors if mode shift is to be achieved. Actions to encourage mass behaviour change also need to be identified and implemented. In addition, the management and supply of parking facilities requires careful control”. Source Doncaster Hill Newsletter in a report 2014

Hepburn Rd High Rise  Five Parking Basements Click to enlarge

Hepburn Rd High Rise
Extra Parking Basements
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The above is the sort of drivel we are getting from our bureaucrats, writes “Chamier”, still buck passing 13 years after they had been warned that public transport to Doncaster would not include a rail service. Presumably the “mode shift” was to include an increase in cycling and walking but we have no safe dedicated bike paths with rideable gradients nor are the steep streets surrounding the centre conducive to easy walking while access to the core of the centre (Westfield and the Bus Interchange) is further hampered by the minimum number of pedestrian crossings available on Williamsons and Doncaster Roads. Some major developments are now providing more parking spaces than the required rates Continue reading MANNINGHAM MODE SHIFT A PIE IN THE SKY PLAN →


The amount of energy used by tall buildings, the energy in their building materials and the mental health and social impacts of living and working in high-rises are being questioned by current research.

Doncaster High- Rise  Click to enlarge

Doncaster High- Rise
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A 2010 Allen Consulting report to the Victorian Building Commission found ‘no conclusive evidence that vertical living was more sustainable than conventional homes. In theory, larger projects have the economies of scale to implement more efficient heating, cooling, hot water, etc.

In theory but not in practice

A study by the Schools of Architecture at Deakin University and the University of Tasmania found that high-rise buildings had 60% more energy embedded per unit GFA in their materials than low to medium-rise buildings. Continue reading PROS & CONS OF HIGH-DENSITY VERTICAL LIVING →


Whilst Manningham council should be supported in its intention to expand the evaluation conducted in the Doncaster Rail Study (DRS) Phase One, it should be noted that the study was completed in full. Further that it was confined by its terms of reference to consider only a heavy rail service, though it did make some recommendations for the short term improvement to existing public transport.

Anticipated Patronage Click to enlarge

Anticipated Patronage
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It would appear that phase two. of the Doncaster Rail Study will not proceed because the current projection of $11 billion for the Doncaster heavy rail, equivalent to the Melbourne Metropolitan Project itself, has already been deemed unviable. Phase one of the Doncaster Rail Study found that there would only be a 2 per cent mode shift from private vehicle to the rail line in the morning peak period in 2031 consistent with previous findings that the vast majority of morning peak traffic on the Eastern Freeway were not travelling into the city. Manningham council, who have confirmed they will pursue an extension of light rail from North Balwyn to Doncaster Hill in any event, should now advocate for light rail, at a fraction of the cost of heavy rail, to branch off Doncaster Road and along the eastern freeway and exploit the existing infrastructure to the city. Track and Signal Magazine have published a compelling report on a light rail service for Doncaster Continue reading HIGH RAIL COSTS COULD STALL PHASE 2 OF STUDY →


Doncaster Hill was to be the key destination of Melbourne’s east, “a place to be”, and a vibrant self contained urban village. Manningham wanted to transform the character of Williamsons/Tram and Doncaster Roads into tree lined, pedestrian and bicycle friendly boulevards but did not allow for the huge volumes of through traffic they carry today or the effect of a poorly designed local street network.

Travel In Any Direction Click to enlarge

Travel In Any Direction Interconnected Street Grid
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Cul-De-Sacs in Doncaster Click to enlarge

Cul-De-Sacs in Doncaster  poor connectivity
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Our traffic problems really began from the 50’s, when we abandoned the densely interconnected street grids that enabled efficient traffic dispersion, where people could get around, then changed our street design to suit the automobile. Road networks now start from an arterial road, then down a main road, onto a collector Road, then into a local street and onto a driveway at the end of a Cul-De-Sac.       “Dead ends in more ways then one”..Patrick Condon    Seven Rules For Sustainable Communities . Manningham Council had recently commissioned Continue reading TRAFFIC LOG JAM FORECAST FOR DONCASTER HILL →


Since the opening of the Westfield shopping centre expansion, Doncaster residents have complained of black soot in their homes – a direct result of the increased traffic pollution.

Exhaust Plume Click to Enlarge

Exhaust Plume
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Due to our poor public transport system, Manningham’s residents are strongly dependent upon car usage. Our reliance on cars, buses and trucks (petrol and diesel)  as the only mode of transportation has had a detrimental impact on air quality and public health, with the significant release of high levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, benzene and the dangerous particle matter pollution. It seems that the more we learn about pollution, the more we realize how much of it we’ve been living with. So-called soot pollution is a good example of this as up until eight years ago we didn’t even have any regulations regarding its ambitions. Fortunately, we are now learning (thanks in part to the EPA) how damaging Continue reading VEHICLE SOOT EMISSIONS A DANGER TO HEALTH →


According to Wikipedia, detailed planning of the long awaited Doncaster rail line, first proposed in 1890, began in 1969 and by 1972 a route from Victoria Park Station to Blackburn Road, East Doncaster was decided. 
Rail Cutting at Vic Park Click to enlarge

Rail Cutting at Vic Park
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Property acquisition for part of the route was completed in 1975 and the excavation of a cutting north of Victoria Park station had already commenced in 1974, only to be filled in two years later. By 1982 plans to build the line were shelved by the state government, and by 1984 land for the line once it left the freeway was sold. In 1991 an independent report investigated constructing the line, recommending against it due to the high cost. The most recent plan to build a railway line along the Eastern Freeway to Doncaster Park and Ride appears likely to meet the same fate as the proposal before it. Melways 1979 maps showing route of proposed railway from Victoria Park station to Blackburn Road is on next page.



The state government funding program for the maintenance of existing rail infrastructure and building the MMP tunnel and its proposed extensions, such as the lines to West Doncaster and Melbourne Airport, “is so fanciful that it may as well have had a dozen tatts lotto tickets attached to it”…analogy by previous transport minister Terrence Mulder
Age Newspaper Article Declining Infrastructure Click to Enlarge

Age  article  on Infrastructure
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The Victorian state government could need Billions to fund overdue maintenance of its existing railway infrastructure without taking into account the $11 Billion required for the construction of the Melbourne Metropolitan Project and the $11 Billion rail line to West Doncaster/ Greythorn Park and Ride. The State government had pledged only $300 Million followed by a further $1.5 Billion to be allocated in this year’s state budget. The Federal government had promised a further $2 Billion towards the MMP but have not indicated when it would be made available except to say that it would be sometime after 2019– one year after the next state election.

Phase One of the $6.5 Million Rail study report given to the Victorian Government in February 2014 estimated the cost of a line from Clifton Hill to the Doncaster Park-And-Ride at Continue reading MELBOURNE’S RAILWAYS IN STATE OF DISREPAIR →


Parents and supporters had gathered at the Manningham offices and on the steps of parliament house, to express their anger at the prospect of losing their primary school for the sake of council’s high rise strategy.
Alternative school site Click to enlarge

Alternative school site
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The Doncaster, Council Street, primary school land looked likely to be the first casualty under the state government’s rationalisation program because it was located smack bang in the centre of the prescribed high rise zone of Manningham’s Doncaster Activity Centre Town Centre Project back in1994. However the document did give an assurance that primary school would be retained somehow and indicated an alternative site further north towards Turana Street. “Although assurances have now been given that the school will remain in its present location in the Doncaster Hill strategy, it will eventually be swamped with traffic generated by much larger developments in the future than what was previously envisaged and might have to be relocated because of child safety issues, the ingress and egress problems and long queues associated with developments in Council Street and beyond” Continue reading PUBLIC BACKLASH AT PRIMARY SCHOOL REMOVAL →


“If a lot has an area less than 1,800m², a townhouse style development proposal only will be considered but should be a maximum of two storeys”

Manningham Council say they will no longer allow three storey apartment developments on land under 1800 sq m. (usually three house sites) . This applies to precincts A & B of the DDO8 (GRZ 1 & 2) but not in activity centres (shopping centres) or along main roads. The new regulations were contained in the C96 amendment, approved on the 13/2/2014.

Three Storey Complex on small block Click to enlarge

3 storey on small block
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The changes were first proposed in 2011- 2012, following the retirement of Paul Molan the previous head of Manningham planning. The new officer in charge of planning had immediately called for an amendment to the DDO8 to remove ambiguity and perceived bias in an attempt to regain public trust. The residential strategy document had been introduced by way of amendment C50 back in 2006 but it contained so much ambiguity, it was allowing developers a free hand. Prior to amendment C96, we had the ridiculous situation where Manningham council were spending a fortune in ratepayers funds on employing  consultants and solicitors to defend the strategy against its own residents who had appealed at VCAT.