August 31, 2011  |  Member's Statement

Planning: Ivanhoe structure plan

I condemn the Banyule City Council’s Ivanhoe structure plan. Our council has issued a plan that details future commercial and residential development in Ivanhoe, including building heights of up to eight storeys on Upper Heidelberg Road and in surrounding residential areas. I have asked Banyule City Council to do the following: scrap the current Ivanhoe structure plan and establish a residents committee to work with council on a new draft plan, then put this new draft out for public comment. After an outcry from residents, the deadline for public comment was extended to 5 September. Last week, along with more than 300 local residents, I attended a hastily arranged public meeting where concerns were aired about the poor consultation process and the content of council’s plan.

For over 2 hours last Saturday I went on a neighbourhood walk through Ivanhoe with dozens and dozens of residents to hear firsthand accounts of people’s anxiety and alarm about overshadowing and loss of amenity under this plan. Meanwhile our community has set up the Save Ivanhoe group.

Residents are working hard to complete their submissions by the council deadline. The Ivanhoe structure plan might be appropriate for New York or Hong Kong, but it is not for Ivanhoe.

Why should residents have to fight to wind back height limits and overdevelopment in a council plan that would never have seen the light of day if residents had been consulted from the start? Many more local residents should have been involved in the development of the draft Ivanhoe structure plan to ensure that the document better reflected the needs and aspirations of the community. I urge local residents to be vigilant and to get involved, because the future of Ivanhoe is at stake.

An article in today’s Age states:

Residents of Ivanhoe …
have turned unlikely protesters against a council proposal to allow 2 kilometres of office and apartment buildings up to eight storeys high.

Locals feel that the Banyule City Council’s upscaling of dozens of low-rise properties to high-rise properties is not acceptable. We will keep fighting.