Why The Doncaster Sewage Plant Was So Wrong

If you were unsure about the facts, or had only heard the Councils’ side of the story, read on, it paints a pretty damning storey on the validity of any justification in the present day or future.   This is another magnificent piece of well researched information from Ming. Keep up the good work.   It is the speech that Ming presented to the Council and attendees, at the submitters meeting the night before the council vote. Download a copy here (30K). Council_Submitteers_Talk_Ming_final-forWeb

Dear Councillors, my fellow residents and all:

Obviously I am not here to debate how we should not to go politicking on community good will around water conservation. I am talking about a critical council planning recommendation requiring the application of qualified and relevant expertise’s, bounded by ethical & professional codes of conduct. When we discharge responsibility in this context, facts are no longer optional, nor selective.

This council report “proposed to support the application” of a planning permit for a sewerage plant, on the balance, brings no benefits but negativities to our community. We must challenge and ask why.  The origin of work that led to this planning application is the Memorandum of Understanding signed almost 4 years ago (21 Oct. 2008).  The objective is to (quote) “produce an integrated urban water management strategy for Doncaster Hill area..”, supported with 20 Guiding Principles include (quote) “recognising existing natural systems”, “choosing options that have minimal greenhouse gas emissions”, “considering total community cost”, “select options that will have a high level of community acceptance” and “improve community amenity”.  This YVW scheme failed on each of these.

There are many errors and issues in this report I want to talk about but giving limited time, tonight I can only focus on aspects of water saving and community benefits.

Back in 2008, we were in the middle of a server drought. In the wider world, better use of nature resource like rainwater was also becoming integral of sustainable living & building design.  We recognise & support Council’s desire to make Manningham a sustainable community.  To embrace “Beyond Compliance” and the leadership, Council have been strongly advocating & implementing the use of rainwater and stormwater.  Continue reading Why The Doncaster Sewage Plant Was So Wrong →

Sewage Plant Squashed.

At last nights council meeting there was a lot of debate about the Sewage treatment plant, the uprising of residents, and potential backlash from developers who have built around the third pipe rules.

Well in the end – the plant was defeated, even though the Manningham Planning dept had recommended it go ahead. One for the residents.

What a great decision in common sense when Councillors Reid, Downie, Yang and MacMillan voted down the planning application for the sewage treatment plant. It is reassuring to know that the councillors are listening to the residents and have great concern for the amenity, safety and health of those that would have been affected by this proposal.

Anticipating the risk of a VCAT appeal, Councillor Reid added the extra clause last night, saying that Council would not sell or lease its land for a Sewage or Water Treatment plant in Koonung. This effectively stops YVW from building at all, regardless of EPA or VCAT. Their only option would be compulsory acquisition of land, which we very much doubt they would do.

Councilor Reids motion was passed, and now the Council has No place to build treatment plants – the developers can still do water saving on thier own sites and use that for thier third pipe, or YVW could buy land for the purpose.

So further thanks to our ward councillor Reid  for providing us with this extra protection.

However, we still need to attend the EPA conference Thursday night to make sure we have everything covered and complete the process. Hopefully this is the last thing we have to do, we need to see it through now.

Please attend: EPA Conference Thursday 30th August 6:30pm-9pm Manningham Council Offices

We have to congratulate each and every one of you for all the objections, letters to the councillors, letters to the paper, protest attendance, photo opportunities, attendance at the submitters and council meeting. It has been a great effort and we are glad that we have been able to pull together as a community and keep Doncaster a great place to live.

More details to follow…


Reject YVW Sewage Plant Proposed for Tram Road Reserve: Respond to Council Planning Offier’s Reply

Another well researched article from Ming, It’s amazing how many flaws there are in the justification of the Tram Road sewer plant…

This email was addressed to the council officers;  Natasha Swan ( Manager Statutory Planning Dept, )  and Leigh Harrison ( Acting CEO.) They are the officers in control of the proposal review report,  the team requested a meeting with the planning dept before they release their report for councilors to vote upon, however they did anyway with out meeting the residents team and addressing the issues in detail…
Dear Natasha (and Leigh):

I have carefully read the reply to some of my questions. To be honest, I feel like (I was) reading something from YVW rather than from the council. I would think council planning department is not working for YVW, but working with YVW for the community?

When you talk about “beyond compliance” for sustainability measures, I would like to point out the fact that YVW’s proposal is based on a lowest 3-star toilet use and no rainwater allowed. Have you calculated how much water Continue reading Reject YVW Sewage Plant Proposed for Tram Road Reserve: Respond to Council Planning Offier’s Reply →

How safe – sewage spills twice this year

This submission shows just how “safe” rather risky a sewage plant is, even when it meets all the guidelines, and scores 97% on it’s compliance audits…

Would you feel safe  having one 25 meters from your home, as proposed in Doncaster ?

Continue reading How safe – sewage spills twice this year →

Desalination Order for 2012 is Zero

They took our Money for the water ahead of time,

Now the plant won’t be ready on time,

And we have officially told them we don’t need any water this coming season.

Media release:  The Hon Peter Walsh MP, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Minister for Water

Visit www.premier.vic.gov.au for more news

Monday 2 April 2012

“It would cost an extra $25 million to purchase 50 GL from the plant, while an order of 150 gigalitres would cost $109 million,” Mr Walsh said.
“Given we don’t need the water and we are already contractually obliged to pay for water produced during commissioning, we believe the most responsible course of action is to save this money.”



EPA Clarification – No support given for sewage plant

Long Trail of events below, but the Crux is that the Manningham Councilors are being asked to vote on the Proposed Sewage treatment Plant:

1. Two days BEFORE the EPA submit thier report to Council.

2. The Councilors & Public have been told the EPA previously Endorsed the plan – which is now confirmed as incorrect.

3. The plants capabilities and need has been superseded.

4. It is within 25 meters of existing residences – when the EPA says it should be 200 meters away.

From Ming to Leigh Harrison, acting CEO Manningham Council 2012-08-16

Dear Leigh:

In response to possible misinterpretation of EPA position on the matter of YVW planning permit application assessment by the Council, I made an enquiry to EPA regarding its processes and the context of its letter to Council dated 18 May. I received an official call from EPA at at 17:31pm, Tuesday, 14 August  giving me a very detail explanation of the status of EPA process of Works Approvals Application from YVW and expressing EPA’s great concern the possible misuse or misinterpretation of its above mentioned letter to council on a planning permit application matter. At At 11:19am, Wednsday, 15 August, the following clarifications were sent and confirmed. Continue reading EPA Clarification – No support given for sewage plant →

Project to make Doncaster Hill water-friendly

More on Councils’ earlier plans for treatment plants in Doncaster.

Attached Interesting article in leader 5/8/10

Manningham planning and environment director Paul Molan said the golf club was the most logical location for the system.

“Development at the Eastern Golf Course is expected to create significant additional demand for water, and this provides additional opportunities for water management within the golf course and on the hill,”


Remember – none of the existing homes near the Proposed Tram Rd Site will actually use the recycled water, as only new buildings will be designed with the third street pipe connection…


Project to make Doncaster Hill water-friendly



DONCASTER Hill will be the first established area in Melbourne where every new resident will use recycled water pumped from a centrally located treatment plant.

Yarra Valley Water and Manningham Council have committed to developing the innovative water project, which will give the 4000 residents expected to live on the hill by 2020 access to Class A recycled water from a local treatment plant.

t will be the first time a system and treatment plant have been introduced into an established urban setting, and the project will put Doncaster Hill at the forefront of sustainable water solutions.

The council and Yarra Valley Water are looking at the Eastern Golf Club property, which is presently for sale, as a potential site for the treatment plant.

Manningham planning and environment director Paul Molan said the golf club was the most logical location for the system.

“Development at the Eastern Golf Course is expected to create significant additional demand for water, and this provides additional opportunities for water management within the golf course and on the hill,” Mr Molan said.

Yarra Valley Water will make it mandatory for all new residential developments on Doncaster Hill to connect to the system, which will provide recycled water to use in toilets, laundries and gardens.

A council report into the project indicates that connecting to the “third pipe scheme” was expected to cost around $300 a dwelling.

Developers of The Pinnacle apartment development on Doncaster Rd have already agreed to install the third pipe to carry recycled water into that building.

Urgent Questions – Tram Road Reserve Sewerage Treatment – Council Minutes 27 July 2010

This from Steve O’Brien,  regardless of how you think the Golf course will be developed, it does beg the questions;

How many plans for a sewage treatment plant have be made,  what deals have been struck, and why is the current location the only one being considered?

It has been stated that the decision is due the proximity of the existing high capacity sewer main, but how does that outbalance the likely capacity of the new developments, and their ability to directly use their own product?


Attn: Leigh Harrison,  A/CEO, Manningham City Council

Dear Leigh

Please see the attached Council minutes of the 27th July 2010 wherein Council categorically states council minutes 27 july 2010-(page 2992):-

Eastern Golf Course Opportunity

1.27. While not located within Doncaster Hill, the potential development of the Eastern Golf course provides an excellent opportunity to leverage the

Doncaster Hill example.

 1.28. The 47 hectare Eastern Golf Course is located immediately to the east and downstream of Doncaster Hill. Its potential redevelopment provides a number of opportunities to support an integrated water management approach, both within the Eastern Golf Course redevelopment and on Doncaster Hill, for a range of reasons, including:

 · Development at the golf course is expected to create significant additional demand for water.

· Development at the golf course is likely to increase the potential for stormwater flows from within the site. There is already a recognised flooding and capacity issue within the downstream Melbourne Water stormwater system, which needs to be addressed.

· Under the provisions of the Victorian Planning Scheme, development will be required to comply with Clause 56 of the Planning Scheme, including

the attainment of stormwater management standards and consideration of opportunities for integrated water management.

· Development of the golf course will provide an opportunity to negotiate with a developer around the provision of land for a potential water treatment plant, and achievement of some broader sustainability principles across the Eastern Golf Course development.

My question is this: Why wasn’t this opportunity that was identified by your Council Officers rigorously pursued and what agreements (if any) were made with Mirvac Group to relocate the Sewerage Treatment Plant to its present location?

I look forward to your urgent response.

Stephen O’Brien

Town Planner

Candidate for Koonung Ward (Manningham City Council)

Phone 044 8147 238

“Because the residents of Koonung Ward deserve much better”

Green Wedge & “Accomodation”

Rosa Miot & I went to Parliament house last Thursday to hear about “Planning Reforms” from the Planning Minister Brian Tee, and RMIT Professor Michael Buxton.

There were several topics covered in some detail, and a lot of enthralling reading handed out – I hope to have the soft copies on this site soon.

As previously discussed, a number of types of development will no longer require scrutiny, nor will you be able to object to them, they will pass as a right of Act.

Although all areas are affected by the new rule soon to be rules, some of the most obvious ones affect the current green wedge protected areas….Dramatically.

You can still submit opinions on these changes and others in VICSMART / CODE-ASSESS until Sept 21st 2012.

Green Wedge : Beware of new definitions of permit allowed activities in the Green wedge – referred to as “Accommodation”

Sewage Time is Tight

There’s a lot of debate going around on the Doncaster Sewage plant  right now, here’s a quick update from Fiona.

One crazy thing is the Manningham council are proposing to vote on it days BEFORE the EPA report is available… stay tuned..

I have been informed by Manningham Planning Officers that their report will be ready for the August Council Meeting and therefore at this stage, the proposal will be going to vote at this meeting (Tuesday 28th of August 7pm). We need you to attend the two following events:

1.     Protest coinciding with the Submitters Meeting Monday 27th of August Manningham Council Offices 6pm

The submitters meeting is held the night before the council meeting, Monday 27th of August, which is where we need to show our presence and present our case. The organizing group will be requesting to present our case on behalf of the opposing residents. Please be there to support us!!! The councilors need to see opposition to the proposal. We need everyone who attended the protest plus a lot more to come along. Bring the  banners used at the protest. If you are really keen it would be good to see some faces at the council meeting on the 28th of August.

2.     Protest coinciding with the EPA Conference Thursday 30th August 6:30pm-9pm Manningham Council Offices

The EPA are holding a conference to discuss the process so far and to hear our concerns. They have not finalised their report yet and are seeking feedback from residents. Again we need as many people as possible to attend. Even if the councillors don’t listen to us – the sewerage plant cannot go ahead without the approval of EPA.

It is time to really get involved now!! A big ask to spend two nights in one week at the council offices but if we can stop it now then we can sit back and enjoy our park!!