Response from the Friends of the McKay Gardens to RLL’s web page:
Anderson Road and HV McKay Gardens
Preliminary designs for the removal of two level crossings on Anderson Road, Sunshine, were released in November 2011.
Doesn’t mention the removal of the footbridge at all. Impossible to actually see the impact on either the gardens and gate posts or on the interface between gardens and housing estate on the other side. The animation and illustrations seem to assume that people travel by helicopter (the viewing position is about 20 metres above the houses) or by car (of course).
The brochure and animation are deliberately misleading since the RLL has been preparing to remove the footbridge since 2009 and this information does not appear.
Almost 100 people attended community information sessions about the designs in November and December 2011 and many more members of the community had the opportunity to view them as part of displays held at Highpoint shopping centre, Sunshine railway station and the St Albans Lunar New Year festival.
Almost 100 people attended community information sessions about the design.
So we can assume there were less than 100 people. How many people actually attended these sessions? 60, 50. less? And notice that these people attended the session but attending the session is not the same as providing feedback. How many people actually provided ascertainable feedback?
many more members of the community had the opportunity to view them as part of displays held at Highpoint shopping centre,
You have got to be kidding right! Highpoint? Why not display the material at Kew? The people of Kew are likely to be as well informed about the existence of the McKay Gardens as people at Highpoint. Perhaps it has escaped the RLL notice but Highpoint is in the city of Maribyrnong not Brimbank and there is no reason at all to believe that the average shopper at Highpoint either knows or cares about the McKay Gardens.
Sunshine railway station. If anything was displayed at the Sunshine Railway station it could not have been there long. I travel through the station very frequently (3 or 4 times per week) and I didn’t see it.
the St Albans Lunar New Year festival. Really? How much of the material was in Vietnamese? Serbian, Arabic, Cantonese, Italian or Greek or… None of the material on the RLL’s own website appears in languages other than English.
In any case this is all besides the point because the material that RLL was providing was deliberately misleading in respect to the impact on the gardens, the footbridge and the access between the Harvester housing estate and the gardens.
Public feedback has so far has been positive.
This is pure spin. It is a lie. The Friends are part of the public and our feedback is NOT positive.
The community has welcomed the safer pedestrian and bicycle connections and the improvement to traffic flows that the road/rail separations will bring.
Non sequitur. Bares no relationship to what will actually happen. If you ask a person are they in favour of safer pedestrian connections of course they will say yes. Who wouldn’t? But this assumes that there will be better, safer connections and that these connections come without significant adverse costs. Neither of which is true here.
Instead ask a person, would you favour better connections if it involved sacrificing all your heritage? Or more accurately, would you be in favour of sacrificing your heritage AND be worse off in terms of pedestrian connections? The answers might be entirely different.
This way of framing public responses to proposed changes is completely illegitimate. It is biased in favour of a pre-determined response.
We have worked hard to design road/rail separations that minimise impacts on the community whilst improving traffic flow and safety on Anderson Road. As a result of this work, no acquisition of residential properties is required.
Bizarre premise. Assumes (incorrectly) that the loss of heritage does not have an impact on the community. According to this claim the ONLY possible impact on the community the RLL recognises is the acquisition of residential properties.!!! Loss of amenity, green space, connectivity and of course heritage – none of these things actually matter just so long as the RLL improves traffic flow.
The Footscray – Deer Park project team is continuing to work with Brimbank City Council, the Sunshine Historical Society and the Friends of the HV McKay Gardens to refine these designs.
No NO NO! This is an outright lie. The Friends of the McKay Gardens are NOT working with the RLL or the Alliance to refine designs. We have made our position very clear. We strenuously reject the current proposals as totally inappropriate. This cannot in any way be construed as working to refine designs.
And as far as I am aware neither the Brimbank City Council nor the Historical Society have been invited to have any substantive input into the designs for this grade separation or the replacement of the footbridge.
- the adjacent pedestrian and cyclist paths will include a new shared-use path on the eastern side of Anderson Road wthat will connect via a bridge to the pedestrian and bicycle networks to the west of Anderson Road.
Sounds completely innocuous and positively good doesn’t it? The truth is that the RLL has done no pedestrian movement surveys of any worth. (The movement survey the RLL conducted consists of asking people to draw lines on a (inaccurate) map. How many people have actually filled this out I wonder? In any case it is a joke and would not pass any undergraduate urban planning course) The RLL therefore has no idea how people actually use this area or where they actually cross the road.
Any half decent observational study would establish that the majority of people cross the road directly between King Edward Ave and the gates of the garden – that is why the gates are there!!!! Alternatively they cross diagonally between King Edward Ave across the rail lines to the footpath on the other side. The Friends of the Gardens have pointed this out twice to RLL and its Alliance partners and been ignored on both occasions. The truth is this path will not improve connectivity or safety but have exactly the reverse effect.
While the design for the Regional Rail Link works is still developing, the most that will be acquired from the gardens is a narrow wedge of land which is approximately 76 metres in length and is a maximum of 2.9 metres at its widest point. This wedge equates to around 136 m2 of a total park area of 15,236 m2 (less than one per cent).
While the design for the Regional Rail Link works is still developing, the most that will be acquired from the gardens is a narrow wedge of land which is approximately 76 metres in length and is a maximum of 2.9 metres at its widest point
Really? Then why was it that at the last ‘workshop’ the RLL and the Alliance summarily dismissed any suggestion that amount of land taken might be less than than the current proposed amount? Are they lying now or were they lying then?
This wedge equates to around 136 m2 of a total park area of 15,236 m2 (less than one per cent).
But it is 100% of the heritage of the gardens!
But it is 100% of the heritage of the gardens!
But it is 100% of the heritage of the gardens!
But it is 100% of the heritage of the gardens!
This is the great concealment, the great lie that RLL and the Alliance are attempting to conceal from the community. If they get their way there will be NO MORE HERITAGE FABRIC LEFT IN THE GARDENS. This is not minimal damage. It is catastrophic for the gardens.
Does the Regional Rail Link project have plans to acquire more land from the front of the gardens in the future?
No. The project is only acquiring land from the gardens for the purposes of the Anderson Road road/rail separations. If there was a wish to expand the shared use path further south along Anderson Road, this would be a decision for Bicycle Network Victoria, Brimbank City Council and VicRoads, who are responsible for the Principle Bicycle Network.
Utterly cynical and disingenuous. The Alliance has already conceded that if the footpath is widen to 3 metres as part of the grade separation then the rest of the garden’s frontage WILL LOSE 3 metres in future. The currently loss of land will provide the precedent for the future loss it is therefore a cause of the future loss.
The team also door knocked residents on Anderson Road and information has been made available in languages other than English.
I think the community has no reason to believe this claim without some sort of evidence. How many people did the RLL actually speak to? In what other languages was the material presented? What was actually said? Where is the evidence of this?
As part of an ongoing commitment to engaging with stakeholders and actively involving them in the design development process, the Regional Rail Link Footscray – Deer Park project team recently held a workshop with stakeholders with a keen interest in the HV McKay Gardens. Attendees included representatives from Brimbank City Council, Friends of HV McKay Gardens and the Sunshine Historical Society.
Again utterly cynical and disingenuous. The ONLY reason the RLL and Alliance held this session was so that they would be able to list the Historical Society and the Friends on propaganda like this web page. The community will be given no opportunity to be actively involved in the design process. Adding decorative motifs to the outside of the bridge cladding does NOT equal involvement in the design. Imagine if you forced to accept an architect designed home but the only decision you get to make about the design is the colour of the external paint. Does that mean you were involved in the design of the home? Of course not.
The workshop provided attendees with an insight into the design development process,
In other words they told us what they were going to do to us.
how previous stakeholder concerns have influenced the current proposed design,
They haven’t!. They have ignored all feedback from the Friends.
details of engineering specifications to be adhered with and timing for design finalisation and the commencement of construction.
The Alliance’s justification for their brutish and unsympathetic and ineffectual designs is that their contract doesn’t require them to do otherwise AND despite the Department of Transport planning the destruction of the footbridge since 2009, suddenly they have an urgent deadline for destruction.
Feedback was also sought from participants on how the rich history of HV McKay could be celebrated and integrated into the new pedestrian bridge.
The RLL and the Alliance is so concerned about our rich history that they pronounced the name McKay incorrectly and admitted that their research consisted in a 5 minute google search for images to decorate the bridge anti-throw mesh! I also noticed that at least some of the images were taken from the Friend’s website. (If the RLL or the Alliance uses any of my intellectual property I will sue for breach of copy-write. It is apparently not enough that they destroy our heritage, ignore the five years of community effort but now they are engaged in theft as well. The intellectual laziness of these people is astonishing.)
We expect to have further information about the timing and method of construction soon and have committed to providing more information to local residents when that is available. We will continue to keep the community and key stakeholders informed through meetings, letterbox drops and door knocks where appropriate.
And why would anyone think this is comforting? The RLL and its partner’s decide what information is appropriate to distribute and when. So far, it is clear they view the community with contempt.
Yes. The gates need to be moved back into the gardens approximately 3.9 metres to accommodate the new shared use path. As the design progresses, we will endeavour to minimise the impact.
So, we don’t have any influence on the design after all! Another non sequitur. How precisely do you minimise the impact when you have destroyed the heritage value? This is like saying we minimised the impact of surgery on the patient by killing them.
Three metres is the desirable minimum width for shared use paths as defined by the Austroads standards. These standards are supported by VicRoads and Bicycle Network Victoria.
Three metres is as wide as a road! It is wider than many one-way streets. It is wider than some traffic lanes along Ballarat road! When the RLL assured people that there would be no widening of Anderson Road they were once again engaged in the worse kind of cynical disingenuousness. In fact they have added the equivalent of another traffic lane. ( Except of course it complete overkill. How many bikes is it expecting along Anderson Road? 1000s? More?) The standards nominated by Austroads are generic and do not respond to the specific site as is required when engaged in construction in a heritage landscape.
It will be necessary to reinstate the overhead power lines and power poles that are currently located in the nature strip on the east side of Anderson Road. Our aim is to place the power poles away from HV McKay Gardens. We will continue to work with the power providers to advocate for this outcome.
Yes, of course they will advocate for this outcome. They have after all already demonstrated their genuine concern for the gardens. I for one would like to know how they aim to place the power poles away from the gardens. Away where?
It is proposed to replace the HV McKay footbridge due to the planned track realignment. The HV McKay Gardens, including the crossing, are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, however the bridge was built early last century and has undergone considerable repair and modification since.
however the bridge was built early last century
Another demonstration of the RLL’s deep ignorance? Or just the ignorance of the writer? The entire gardens were built early last century, 1909 to be precise! That’s why they are described as twentieth century gardens.
The bridge has undergone considerable repair and modification since.
Indeed it has. But if previous destruction of heritage is justification for further destruction then the gardens are doomed. RLL and its Alliance partners intend to destroy what remains of the heritage fabric. Having destroyed the heritage then there will be no reason not add further destruction. Why not just build houses on the gardens!
The Regional Rail Link team is seeking approval from Heritage Victoria for this change and is working with key community groups including the Sunshine Historical Society, the Friends of the HV McKay Gardens and Brimbank City Council to ensure that the history of the area is reflected in the new design.
Again this is just false. The Friends of the McKay Gardens are NOT working with the RLL and its associates. We do NOT believe that the design proposed is appropriate. We do NOT believe that painting historical motifs on the outside of an ugly anti-throw screen amounts to recognising the history of Sunshine. The Friends have had NO input into the design of the footbridge.
The new footbridge will be approximately seven metres above track level, 66 metres long, four metres wide and four metres high. It will provide improved access to pedestrian, cyclists and those with disabilities, with the addition of lifts as well as stairs. The bridge is required to have screens on both sides for public safety and we are investigating using mesh to encourage passive surveillance and deter vandalism.
The new footbridge will be approximately seven metres above track level, 66 metres long, four metres wide and four metres high.
Amazing. Previously we had been told that the bridge will be 3 metres wide! So not only are we provided with inaccurate information (again) but the bridge will be more massive than we anticipated. Indeed that seems to be the pattern here. Every time we think we have pinned down the details of what will actually be the case, it turns out to be worse!
It will provide improved access to pedestrian, cyclists and those with disabilities, with the addition of lifts as well as stairs
Actually, no it won’t. Once again this generic design has been foisted on the community, resulting in second rate urban design. The steps will now be nearly twice as high and even steeper than the current steps, so access will generally be more difficult for anyone walking up the steps. RLL has completely ignored the actual location of the bridge and its social setting. The bridge is not overlooked from either end so there will not be any passive surveillance as suggested by RLL. It is located in the vicinity of a population of drinkers and drug users who will use the lifts for their various antisocial purposes. On the rare occasions the lifts might actually be working most residents will avoid using them because they will both be extremely unpleasant and because they will a trap point. Try to imagine what it would be like getting into one of these cages in the evening. A similar design at Footscray station has already been cited by the Ombudsman as creating one of the least accessible stations in Melbourne. And that is at a station where 100s of people are coming and going all the time. Rather than improving connectivity into the gardens the RLL’s solution will make it worse.
The bridge is required to have screens on both sides for public safety and we are investigating using mesh to encourage passive surveillance and deter vandalism.
If anti-throw screens are required, why doesn’t North Melbourne station have them? It is after all just a large walk way over rail lines. Likewise the walkway over the rail tracks at southern cross have no anti-throw screens. Could it be that the inner city gets decent design but we have to accept second-third rate design, because frankly, we don’t count. The truth is that anti-throw screens are not the only solution to material being dropped on the tracks but they are examples of hideous and appalling design.
we are investigating using mesh to encourage passive surveillance and deter vandalism.
Even worse! The screens will be made of mesh, thereby creating a cage feel along the entire 66 metres. (rather than the current 3 metres) If people currently feel trapped by the enclosed mesh on the bridge, just image how much worse that will be when the entire bridge is enclosed. I would also point out that the current mesh cage, although ugly, is actually very open mesh. The mesh proposed for the new bridge is closed. At night (and in some light during the day) it will appear opaque, like two solid walls. This won’t encourage people to use the bridge, it will deter them in droves. The notion that this mesh will provide passive surveillance and deter vandalism (i.e. graffiti) is a lazy assumption based upon no evidence and held in the face of all evidence to the contrary.
While we recognise that the new structure will be much larger than the existing footbridge, we are working to minimise the visual impact of the design, including the visual impact on the clock tower.
Again, utter disingenuous. The new structure will be massive, it will visually overwhelm everything near it and provide no advantage at all to the gardens (or the people of Sunshine). The only way to minimise the visual impact is a complete redesign of the proposal but that is precisely what these people will not consider. RLL and its partners are seeking, cheap, quick (and nasty) solutions that come from a set of generic designs and that will allow them to make as much money as possible with as little effort as possible.
Who will maintain the new bridge and lifts?
The new pedestrian bridge will have dual ownership between VicTrack and Brimbank City Council. Maintenance responsibilities of the bridge are yet to be agreed and are part of ongoing discussions.
Really? The maintenance of the lifts at Footscray are already estimated to be over 20,000 per year. The cost of maintaining lifts in this location will be considerable greater or alternatively they will not be maintained at all. Victrack has actually done no maintenance work on the footbridge for the last five years. Why do we imagine their record will suddenly improve? The people of Sunshine do NOT want these lifts why should they be obliged to pay to maintain them.
The HV McKay Gardens, including the crossing, are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. We submitted our application to Heritage Victoria on 17 February 2012 and expect further details on their public submission process to be available in the coming weeks. Keep checking the Heritage Victoria website to see when submissions open.
The only thing of value on this page! We encourage absolutely everyone to write to Heritage Victoria and object to the wanton destruction of our heritage and the imposition of third rate urban design. We have had more than our fair share of both. NO MORE!