Category Archives: SOS

New SOS president after November AGM

At the Association’s AGM on November 30, a new committee for 2009 was elected. Community planning consultant and former vice-president Ian Wood is the new president of SOS, replacing Ian Quick who has stepped down to have more time for private interests but who is still on the committee. Other office bearers are Cheryl Forge (secretary) and Gary van Prooyen (treasurer). Ian Quick stood for Yarra Council as an independent last November but was unsuccessful, due mainly to the string of dummy candidates supported by the ALP in his ward. Ironically, they were too successful – one of them drew ahead of Ian and was thus elected with his preferences, knocking out the ALP’s preferred second candidate, an "independent" former mayor. Our thanks go to retiring committee members Marilyn Canet (a tireless Brimbank planning activist) and ex-treasurer Amanda Stone, who also stood for Yarra Council in the November elections and is now mayor. New SOS president Ian Wood is looking forward to networking more this year with progressive local councillors. Early last year, Planning Minister Madden unilaterally abolished the M2030 Implementation Reference Group, the only official communication link on planning issues between the Government and community representatives. In the same vein, the Government has signalled its intention to take undemocratic short-cuts this year to speed up the planning permit process (like the new "go-go" residential zones, unelected development assessment committees and ministerial call-ins). In this fraught atmosphere, and with a state election less than two years away, local councillors will need to be the backbone of the community’s democratic defence against further inappropriate development, draconian changes to planning rules and fast-tracking of major development projects being "held up" at VCAT.

SOS AGM – Nov 30th, 2008

SOS Notice of 2008 Annual General Meeting Nov 30th 2008 Save Our Suburbs (Vic) (SOS) will hold its 2008 AGM on 30th November 2008, at 3pm at the Elsternwick Club, 19 Sandham St, Elsternwick. At this meeting SOS will

  1. Confirm the minutes of the last preceding annual general meeting and of any general meeting held since that meeting;
  2. Receive from the Committee reports upon the transactions of the Association during the last preceding financial year;
  3. Elect officers of the Association and the ordinary members of the Committee #; and
  4. Receive and consider the statement submitted by the Association in accordance with section 30(3) of the Act.

The room will be opened by 2.30pm if you would like to come and talk to candidates informally before the meeting, and proxies will also be available to be inspected. At this AGM the election will be for President, Treasurer, and five of the ordinary committee members. Proxies: If you are unable to attend the AGM and wish for another member to act on your behalf at the meeting, please fill in the Proxy form and return it to the Secretary at the address below by 3pm, Nov 27th, 2008. Nominations for the committee must:

  1. be made in writing, signed by two members of the Association and accompanied by the written consent of the candidate (which may be endorsed on the form of nomination); and
  2. be delivered to the Secretary of the Association not less than seven days before the date fixed for the holding of the annual general meeting (ie before the 23nd of November, 2008).

You can use this nomination form, however as long as it contains the required information you can use any format. If candidates would like to write a statement in support of their election, it will be posted (unedited) on the SOS web site. Candidates should send their nominations to The Secretary Save our Suburbs PO Box 739 Richmond 3121 On a personal note, I won’t be re standing for the presidents position at the AGM. Ian Quick

SOS Eddington Submission

Eddington tunnel – a fait accompli?

The secretary of the Victorian Labor Party’s transport policy committee has resigned in disgust because of the committee’s support for more freeways ("The Age" October 11). The committee reportedly endorsed all the Eddington Report’s recommendations, including a controversial road tunnel linking the city’s east and west. The proposed East-West Tunnel may improve short-term traffic congestion for many people in the west but it will further entrench their car dependence and lead to more greenhouse gas emissions from transport in Melbourne. Community consultation on the Eddington Report has been minimal, with critics barred from recent government forums that were "by invitation only" to "selected" residents’ groups! Eddington also suggested tolls on presently toll-free roads and The Age reported in August that a review of Melbourne’s transport system had also called for a congestion tax and tolls on public roads. To raise more money for MORE freeways? When will Spring Street realise that there’s no point making life difficult for motorists unless you provide a swift, safe, efficient, cheap alternative – that is, a greatly upgraded public transport system! The solution is for upgraded public transport corridors running efficiently in parallel with freeways to provide a viable alternative for the bulk of peak hour commuters, thus freeing up the road system for those who have to use it – trucks and commercial vehicles, etc. For more detail on how SOS believes infrastructure in the City of Melbourne could be upgraded to reduce greenhouse gas emission and prepare us better for the impact of climate change, read our submission to the Eddington review: You can download the SOS Submission.

Weakening the Residential Zones – SOS Submission

Here is the summary we have attached to our submission –

SOS Submission on New Local Residential Zones

The proposed new zones are completely unacceptable, for the following reasons –

  1. No new zone should compulsorily replace the existing Residential 1 Zone. If a new zone is required, it should be made available to Councils to use at their discretion.
  2. All of the proposed zones weaken the system of planning controls by allowing an unspecified ‘fast track’ for permit approval. This will be open to abuse and it is unacceptable that residents’ rights to appeal a decision, and to get notice of an application, are being removed! The fast track process should be reversed, ie there should be a fast track refusal process for applications that do not meeting a minimum set of ResCode standards.
  3. Notice and Review rights can not be limited to the adjoining and opposite properties, or not all! Many developments impact the surrounding area for a considerable distance.
  4. Non residential uses, such as the listed medical centre, child care centre and supermarket, should always require a permit in a residential zone ie not be exempt from requiring a permit!
  5. The reduction of block size from 500m2 to 300m2 for requiring a planning permit for a single dwelling will mean most single dwellings will not require a permit, even in the inner city. This is the opposite of what should be done.
  6. Notification of these proposed zone changes has been appalling. Given the impact that they will have on Melbourne, there should have been wide spread publicity – many people normally not interested in planning WOULD be interested if they knew their Residential 1 zone was to become a fast tracked development zone!
  7. The suggested zones – aimed at increasing density and making it easy to get a permit, while also reducing residents’ rights – do not address any of the fundamental problems with the current planning system, and it’s only developers who will be happy with them. The current problem is not that higher density isn’t allowed, the problem is not being able to stop excessive inappropriate higher density development!
  8. If the point of the new zones is to ‘streamline’ the planning system, there are much better ways of achieving this, as we have documented in many other submissions.

In short, the new zones should be completely abandoned in their current form. While some of the purposes appear acceptable, their actual implementation – from the details that are available – indicate that they will not achieve the purpose described.

Ian Quick

President Save Our Suburbs (Vic), 18/April/2008