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
Double Click to Enlarge

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.



Recognising Objections Bill 2015, now before state parliament, is so weak and watery it may have the opposite effect and limit resident objections. 
!0 storey next to  town house style  zoned area
10 storey next to a 2 storey zone

The number of objections will only to be considered appropriate when the determining authority deems the proposed use or development may have a “significant social effect” but does not provide any guidance on its meaning.  It is further weakened by an explanatory note which indicates that if objections are not relevant to the permission sought, they may not be considered.

Recognising Objectors Bill     Explanatory Memo

Would the Bill allow objections based on a “significant social effect” to prevent this absurd planning decision by the Manningham council approving a ten storey apartment tower adjacent to a land size where only a two storey town house style development is permitted?

Mary Drost AOM

Mary Drost 

Mary Drost AOM,  Convenor of Planning Backlash, wrote;  “We thank the Planning Minister Richard Wynne for at least honoring an election promise by bringing this Bill to Parliament. However it contains too many subjective words. It seems that whoever wrote this Bill has used many words in it that can be argued in either direction.  We call these words weasel words.  This weakens the whole Bill so that it becomes meaningless at VCAT.  So as it is,  it will not change anything.  For example it says  ‘where appropriate’  Who decides when it is appropriate? Continue reading PLANNING BILL GETS COMMUNITY THUMBS DOWN →


There has been a very small increase of 0.8 degrees celsius in average global temperatures, in the period since they were first recorded one hundred and thirty five years ago. So is it really so far out of the ordinary or anything that the world should be alarmed about?

Can we be sure that an increase in carbon dioxide, a trace atmospheric gas, is the sole reason for the small increase in global temperatures or could it be that the earth warms and cools naturally just as it does throughout the seasons and there is nothing that man can do to stop this cycle?

Al Gore author of The Inconvenient Truth Click to enlarge

Al Gore 

The work of global warming scientists were seriously undermined with claims by Al Gore (Nobel Prize Winner 2007) author of the The Inconvenient Truth, who predicted that the North Pole could be completely liquidated by 2014 due to the impending threat of global warming. Subsequent reports have found that his wild prediction has resulted in the opposite with a dramatic increase in the amount of ice covering the pole.


Tim Flannery

Tim Flannery

Tim Flannery (Australian of the Year 2007), representing the Australian climate commission preached that global warming would cause permanent drought in Australia “so even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and river systems” ..Since that statement we have had record floods and our cities dams are back to normal..some overflowing.

Top scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who once predicted a temperature rise of 0.2 degrees per decade are now baffled by the fact our planet’s temperature has not increased for almost two decades. There was also an amount of cooling between 1945-1975 and recently between 1997-2015 even though CO2, the alleged cause of G W, had increased Continue reading COOLER WISER HEADS NEEDED IN CO2 DEBATE →


 The higher yield from approving small apartments means more ratepayers for Council and higher profits for developers.

98/1 Bedrooms  602 Doncaster Road Click to enlarge

98/1 Bedroom apts
602 Doncaster Road
Click to enlarge photos

The majority of the Manningham permit application reports indicate that council is allowing at least 40% of the total number of apartments in major high rise buildings to have only one bedroom. These buildings appear to be targeting the lower end of the market by the provision of very small one bedders ranging in size from a minimum of 43 sq m to an average maximum of 50 sq m. One building had 75 one bedroom apartments no larger than 44 sq m.

According to research, the proportion of one bedroom apartments was once only 10%. It is now Continue reading RATE INCOME BOOST – APARTMENTS GET SMALLER →