Long term Aussie Residents, including many who have constructed their own park cabins, and are exemplary for living a sustainable lifestyle on limited means, now face the full onslaught of Chinese demographic and economic imperialism acquiesced to by Liberal, Labor and Green politicians.
Estonian House, West Brunswick, 24th February
I went to the one [meeting] at Pascoe Vale neighbourhood Community Hall. People were hostile. They [Council staff] said they were seeking community input for their submission. One resident said;
Moreland residents are presently being treated to a new round of ‘consultations’ throughout the municipality, and being indoctrinated by Council staff on the assumed benefits of residential rezoning (radically increased residential densities) and of neighbourhood activity centres as a central feature of the ’20-minute city’.
Last year I did research into, and gave speeches about, the public health benefits of public open space. [See also, "Kelvin Thomson: Too few trees make high-density Coburg and Glenroy risky during heat waves"] My view about the importance of this is reinforced by recent statements in the Moreland Leader by University of Sydney Associate Professor Tonia Gray that research shows that neighbourhoods with more green spaces are much healthier and socially cohesive. She says, "Nature has a calming effect, it recalibrates your body. Australian kids spend an average of 52 hours a week in front of a screen but an average of 40 minutes outside". (Originally published at http://kelvinthomson.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/melbourne-heat-island-effect.html)
As was the case in 2007 when the previous Census Report revealed that Canada led all G8 countries in population growth, the results of this latest Census Report for 2006-2011 were greeted by media commentators and politicians alike with glee. It is as if we had won a trophy for achievement.
Mark O'Connor (famous co-author of Overloading Australia) asks, should environmentalists resist Big Australia - and the densification of Melbourne? "In the long run, unless we can stop the endless growth of population and consumption, all environmental battles will be lost.
Jason Dowling and Clay Lucas' article in The Age (17/7/2009) 'Suburban sprawl costs billions more', presents the problems of population growth as creating urban sprawl that will cost $40 billion. It then highlighting as a "solution", the idea that the density of the existing suburbs should be increased so Victoria can save itself $40 billion. At no point is current population policy questioned or examined. It is simply accepted that population growth will be unstoppable. The article purpose appears to justify the need for increasing density as a "cheaper" solution for Melbourne's growth crisis, without of course calculating the cost, both direct economic cost and the loss of amenity for people already living in Melbourne.
A series of academics are quoted bemoaning the cost of building new suburbs, all of them universally recommending to
"Redirect development from Melbourne's fringe into established suburbs."
As usual the Property Council wants it both ways. In one part of the article it says:
"[The Government] doesn't want to take on the outer-urban property industry."
Once again Property Council - a band of property speculators - accorded guru status by press
Presumably the academic means the Property Council. It then quotes the chief executive of the Property Council Jennifer Cunich
"Anecdotal evidence to us tells that infill development is quite difficult to achieve."
Which I take to mean that it is cheaper for the Property Council members to develop new suburbs, then Cunich says:
"While Melbourne's urban growth boundary should be expanded to accommodate the city's booming population, development in existing suburbs should also be made easier."
So the Property councils wants more growth beyond Melbourne's urban growth boundary and reducing of restrictions for development in existing suburbs, what a surprise!
A sad state of affairs when the only 'serious' newspaper ...
It's a sad state of affairs when the only serious broadsheet newspaper in Victoria is unable to examine such a significant issue beyond one dimension. The article conveys population growth as being inevitable and beyond question. There is no fostering of debate on the issue, only it's consequences in a way that presents the reader with 2 options, one of which has a cost (suburban sprawl) and the other with only benefits (densification of existing suburbs). The problem here is growth per se. Paving over backyards and building multi-story towers is not a solution to a future of climate change, peak oil and water shortages. Building new suburbs is also not a solution to those problems. Stopping growth is the solution, the sooner it is done the more sustainable the future will be for the citizens of Melbourne.