What is the issue?
»The Minister for Planning (through the Victorian Planning Authority - VPA) was responsible for the preparation of the Berwick Waterways Precinct Structure Plan (Berwick Waterways PSP) in 2014.
»Through the development of the Berwick Waterways PSP and before the public consultation conducted in late July 2014, the VPA evaluated various intersection design alternatives, including a temporary roundabout and traffic signals. Council and VicRoads supported the extension of Ward Road (in the north) to Greaves Road because it would provide an important and safe link for motorists, public transport (buses), cyclists and pedestrians.
»Based on the advice of VicRoads, which would have ultimate responsibility for Greaves Road, the VPA specified a four-legged roundabout with larger diameter with an additional northern leg connection via Ward Road, to the Berwick Waterways PSP. This information was available in the documentation that was part of the public consultation conducted by the VPA. Refer to the diagram below.
»In adopting the Amendment, the Minister for Planning decided to exercise his power under section 20 (4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. This decision was made to exempt himself from all the requirements of sections 17, 18 and 19 of the Act and the regulations in respect of Amendment C188 to the Casey Planning Scheme on the basis that:
»“potentially affected parties have been given the opportunity to express their views regarding the amendment through a comprehensive non-statutory consultation process, their views have been taken into account in the preparation of the amendment, and any further consultation would be unlikely to alter the outcome.”
What’s Council’s role?
»The VPA undertook a public consultation process in late July 2014. Council officers attended a community information session held on 29 July 2014 to support the consultation, as is common practice.
»On 16 September 2014, Council resolved to adopt a submission to the VPA raising a number of concerns with the exhibited version of the Berwick Waterways PSP but supported the PSP and associated amendment, subject to the appropriate resolution of these matters. There was a minimal reference to the roundabout in the submission as Council had no information beyond what was exhibited.
»Council officers understand that negotiations between VicRoads and the VPA on the Greaves Road intersection continued after the public exhibition and were still taking place in October 2014. Council officers had limited involvement in the final discussions that the VPA was holding, as the VPA was finalising the Berwick Waterways PSP and supporting documentation to a tight timeframe. There was no mechanism or opportunity afforded to Council officers for a review of the amended roundabout proposal, nor any formal mechanism for the Council to consider the final Berwick Waterway PSP or the Development Contributions Plan.
What’s Council’s position?
»The VPA timeline for finalising the PSP appears to have been influenced by the impending State Government election held in late November 2014. Documentation for the planning scheme amendment was submitted to the then Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure on 20 October 2014 and the Amendment was adopted by the Minister on 4 November 2014, less than four weeks before the November election.
»Council recognises that Casey is a longstanding, identified growth area under the State Government planning policy. It is necessary that residential growth and development is appropriately facilitated in these areas through appropriate planning and delivery of infrastructure, including arterial road networks.
Berwick Waterways PSP drawing showing the future roundabout