The Doncaster Hill Vision, “The Jewel In The Crown” of the failed 2030 program, originally hailed as a futuristic 21st century urban precinct with local investors expected to flock to it, is now being bailed out by foreign developers using their overseas intermediaries to sell small apartments.
The following propaganda article published in 2009 by the Manningham Council, was to portray how a resident, living and working in Doncaster Hill, would describe their improved quality of daily life: “I wake up in the morning to views across metropolitan Melbourne, pleased with my contribution to the long term sustainability of this City because I live in
a 6 star Green Star rated apartment with natural ventilation and daylight, made from materials with low embodied energy, high efficiency lighting and appliances and a sense of community among my neighbours as we monitor our own energy usage through smart meters installed inside the front door of our apartments.
I love the fact we don’t need air conditioning and we can log onto the internet and see how our building and precinct is performing in the Doncaster Hill sustainable housing rewards program. As I leave for work I marvel at how attractive the outside of my building looks, much like apartment buildings outside Doncaster Hill, yet it is the workhorse for powering our building.
The integrated solar photovoltaic panels form part of the glazing and wall cladding, capturing energy from the sun and converting it to electricity.
On occasion we need to draw 100 per cent Green Power from the grid, but generally all our power comes from our solar panels, or better still we sell our excess power back to the electricity company with the proceeds going towards resident barbecues or our recent roof top garden improvements.
Today I’m walking to work because the weather is pleasant. However, I’m glad I live in Doncaster Hill, home to Melbourne’s largest bus transport interchange, and I can easily catch the bus to work, the city and across town via the orbital bus route to Dandenong, Greensborough, Footscray, Ringwood and Frankston (to name a few) with the seamless transition between bus, train, tram and cycling networks. I ditched my car years ago!
Heading down Doncaster Road I check the Doncaster Hill community energy meter which shows how much energy is being generated by the distributed energy facilities in Doncaster Hill, including: the mini wind turbines on light poles, solar array on top of the offices, residential apartment buildings and the local shopping centre, and pneumatic sensors installed underneath the roads of Doncaster Hill.
It also shows the amount of energy being consumed with Doncaster Hill compared to the rest of metropolitan Melbourne. I’m excited about the fact I’m living amongst the action. We at Doncaster Hill are achieving new things, having been given the flexibility by the state and federal governments to test and pilot the latest technology, and with new legislation allowing Melbourne to make the necessary transition to a sustainable city.
As I pass the Sustainability Power House (SPH), Council’s Doncaster Hill Smart Energy Zone – Action Plan Page 7 sustainability information centre, I notice Council’s biomass plant, which converts waste into electricity, is performing at full capacity and the water storage levels from the recycling stormwater program have boosted our water supply so we can again water our sports ovals and parks.
Having green grass and big street trees has meant walking to work is generally a daily pleasure, rain, hail or shine. The SPH has been instrumental in helping people like me understand sustainability and open our eyes to the possibilities available by thinking about the appliances we put in our home, the type of housing we live in, how we get to work and how I can even help reduce the carbon footprint of my workplace.
Local schools are also heavily involved in demonstration projects with Council, residents and businesses, helping build projects, plant trees and promote sustainable living.
I’ve met new people and feel more like I’m a part of something bigger. Just past the SPH I come to the business precinct where I find people to help put a roof top garden on our apartment building (complete with vegie patch!). The architect for our building is here, as is the ‘green’ plumber and the solar electric bicycle store.
Doncaster Hill may not look much different to other places in Melbourne but we are quietly doing our bit to live more sustainably and teach others about it. And we enjoy the cost savings, along with the health and well being benefits that come with the Doncaster Hill lifestyle.