Sunday, 30 September 2012

A busy working bee at South Surrey Park

We had a busy working bee at South Surrey Park today planting behind the fence near the playground in Verdun Street.  Adrian Hotchin from Boroondara Council supplied the plants and the equipment, we supplied morning tea and some helpers


See also: Working bee on Sunday 30 September near Verdun St Playground

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Out and about in Maling Ward

Today I visited some fine local cafes and did some door knocking to meet some residents of Maling Ward.  I visited Mick at Cafe Biscotti next to South Surrey Park, who told me that Council is planning to extend a garden bed on the footpath.  Some drivers have come out of Through Road opposite and mounted the footpath here thinking it is a road.  Mick has suggested a handrail along the kerbside to prevent this.  There is a need for more consultation here.


I next visited Peter at Wilson & Walsh in Maling Road, where you can get the best home made sausage rolls with salad in Melbourne, and great coffee.


A father was helping his young son cycle near the proposed route of the Hawthorn to Box Hill Trail - a family-friendly shared pedestrian and bike path that could connect Surrey Hills to Box Hill and back to Camberwell and Hawthorn.


Some children were cycling on the safety of Canterbury Sportsground off Guildford Road.


The bike lane on Mont Albert Road looks good, but doesn't work well when cars park in it as they frequently do.  I don't think this is safe for children to ride on.


Finally, I had a nice lunch and coffee at the Red Brick Cafe in Mont Albert Road.  Local cafes are very popular with residents for coffee, snacks and meals.



Some residents invited me in for a chat and a coffee.  Most were very supportive of the Hawthorn to Box Hill Trail.   Some raised concerns about Council removing native flowering gums from nearby streets.  Some were concerned about increased rates and noted that property values had decreased recently in the area from the height of the recent boom.  Concerns about inappropriate development and loss of heritage homes was again mentioned by many residents.

I had a nice time, and made it home before the storms came through.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Why I am running for Maling Ward in Boroondara

I am running for Maling Ward for the upcoming postal election for Boroondara.

As a long-term Surrey Hills resident in Maling Ward, I greatly value our tree-lined streets, parks and gardens, recreational facilities, cultural activities and diversity.  You can read more about me here.

If elected I will work to:

Protect and improve our environment
  • Initiatives to increase recycling, save water, promote energy efficiency and reduce our carbon emissions 
  • Retain significant trees during renovations and re-building 
  • Protect and improve our public parks and open spaces 
Surrey Gardens. Photo: Peter Campbell, Wikipedia


Ensure appropriate urban development and protect our local heritage
  • Make our delightful strip shopping centres more pedestrian-friendly and promote our small businesses in Maling Ward 
  • Preserve and re-use iconic buildings 
  • Protect the heritage values and character of our suburbs  [more information]
Improve local transport
Support our community
  • Provide more kindergarten and child care facilities to meet our growing demand 
  • Provide vital services that allow older people to remain at home in comfort 
  • Encourage and support local festivals to build and strengthen our community spirit
  • Provide more activities and events for young people
Maling Road street party. Photo: Peter Campbell

Maling Road street party. Photo: Peter Campbell

If you have any questions or you would like to have a chat, please contact me on 0409 417 504 or malingward@gmail.com

Friday, 7 September 2012

Protecting our local heritage

Protecting our local heritage in Maling Ward and across the City of Boroondara has emerged as a major concern of local residents.  Many residents have contacted me about this issue, citing the demolition of fine period homes to make way of the construction of inappropriate large-scale mansions or multi-occupancy dwellings.

We are losing our architectural heritage and ruining our streetscapes.  Many established trees and gardens are lost too and replaced with buildings and paved areas.

A period home overlooked by a large modern house in Maling Ward. Photo supplied by local resident.

A local example was the demolition of a 1930s Federation brick home at 75 Essex Road and the construction of several densely packed multi storey town houses, each with a different style, in its place.  One tree was retained from the original garden. Many local residents opposed this. The Boroondara Council did too.  However, all too often VCAT will overule our local governments and approve these type of developments.

The developers of course just take their money and run.

75 Essex Road - period home (before)

75 Essex Road townhouses (after)

75 Essex Road townhouses (after) showing remaining tree

Another example was the secret and rapid demolition of the wonderful old Surrey Hills Post Office in Canterbury Road by a developer with Council apparently unaware until it was too late.

I will consult widely with the local community to ensure residents views on this matter are represented to Council and taken into account when planning decisions are made.

I commit to:
  • Opposing inappropriate urban development that destroys or dwarfs heritage homes.
  • Supporting the creation of heritage overlays and planning guidelines by Council to protect our heritage buildings and streetscapes, in close consultation with local residents.
  • Opposing buildings with an awful eclectic mix of modern styles that clash with historical character.
  • Ensuring that any development of the Bradshaws Motors site in Maling Road is in keeping with Maling Road's streetscape and heritage architecture
  • Working with VicTrack and the Victorian government to ensure that any future development around local railway stations such as Chatham, Canterbury and Surrey Hills is appropriate and in line with local residents wishes.  Canterbury station also needs improvements to remedy the "concrete canyon wasteland" underneath it.
  • Using the recently approved Boroondara Neighbourhood Character Plan to protect streetscapes and trees and ensure that the scale of buildings is respectful to our streets.
If we lose our heritage due to bad planning decisions we cannot get it back.

Boroondara Neighbourhood Character Study

Boroondara's heritage will now be afforded some additional protection after council signed off on its long-awaited neighbourhood character study at the 24 September Council meeting.

The study, which has been 18 months in the making, received more than 300 submissions and aims to provide direction for the design of new developments in residential areas.  I put in a submission during the consultation period.

The plan will preserve historic streetscapes, maintain space around homes, protect mature trees, minimise the height of front fences and ensure the scale of buildings is respectful to the street.

For more information on this see:



Thursday, 6 September 2012

My talk on the Hawthorn to Box Hill Trail at the SHNC AGM

I was invited to speak on behalf of the Boroondara Bicycle Users Group about the Hawthorn to Box Hill Trail at the Surrey Hills Neighbourhood Centre (SHNC) Annual General Meeting on 5 September 2011.

The SHNC has three cycling groups that do regular rides around Boroondara, from short social rides up to 70km trips across and out of Melbourne.

The Hawthorn to Box Hill Trail is a proposal for a family friendly safe cycling and pedestrian route that would connect many schools and activity centres through the middle of Boroondara in an east-west direction.



I emphasised that there is a chronic lack of a safe cycling route east-west through Boroondara.   A route that connects the Yarra, West Hawthorn, Glenferrie Road, Auburn Road shopping centre, Camberwell Junction, Maling Road, Union Road shops through to Box Hill could be used for a variety of local trips.

It would also be great for children who are learning to ride, and for families who like to ride on a route free from cars.

Cycling with my daughter Chloe along the Hawthorn to Box Hill Trail Route

There were over 50 people at the AGM, many of who cycle regularly.  All were keen to use sections of this route.

The City of Boroondara has added this route to their Bicycle Strategy, but much of the route following the train line to Box Hills is controlled by the Victorian State Government via VicTrack and VicRoads.  So far, the Victorian Government has been unwilling to develop this route, despite support from Finance Minster and member for Box Hill Robert Clark (for the portion of the route in his electorate).

If elected to Maling Ward, I will advocate to and work with the Victorian Government to realise the fantastic opportunity that this route offers to local residents.

You can also read my submission to the Bicycle Network Victoria survey of candidates here]

More information



Our house won Sustainable Homes Gold Award in Boroondara

The September edition of the Boroondara Bulletin has an article about our Surrey Hills house renovation winning the 2011 Boroondara Sustainable Homes Gold Award.  Lena's Permaculture Garden got a Special Commendation.



It was great to see so many inspiring house and garden projects in Boroondara.  We were very pleased to win the award for our renovation that was completed in 2001. We decided to do everything we could to reduce our "environmental footprint" and

You can download a copy of the Boroondara Bulletin [here] (PDF)

You can find more information about our house and garden here: Surrey Hills house - Greenlivingpedia