21 February 2017
Call for infrastructure boost before Wollert population boom
A CLAIM by the State Government that a new suburb in Melbourne’s north will be “a comfortable commute” to Melbourne’s CBD has raised eyebrows from people living near there.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne said Wollert, the 1434ha suburb 30km north of the CBD, would be turned into a fully operation suburb and become home to 42,000 people and 15,000 new homes, all of whom would have easy access to the city.
Whittlesea’s Joanne Gellel said she couldn’t disagree more with the statement.
“It’s a congestion crisis at the moment and they’re (new residents) going to add to the congestion, there won’t be a smooth commute at all,” Ms Gellel said.
“We know development is coming, but can we just fix our roads before it comes?”
State Government spokesman Kosta Pandos said the Government had invested $1 billion to upgrade roads in outer suburban areas.
Mr Pandos did not answer questions asking if particular roads such as Craigieburn Rd, Epping Rd or the E6 in Melbourne’s north would be built before people moved into the new suburb.
“We’re upgrading roads right across our outer suburbs to make sure they’re up to scratch,” Mr Pandos said.
“We know areas like Whittlesea are growing fast, which is why we’re getting on with projects like the O’Herns Rd interchange, creating access on to the Hume Freeway, and signalising the Epping and Findon roads intersection to ease congestion and boost safety.”
Whittlesea Council city transport director Nick Mann said the issue of public transport and the road network keeping pace with population growth was a concern.
“It requires a major investment by the state and federal governments,” Mr Mann said.
“These include a rail service to Wollert, the widening of Epping Rd, the completion of Edgars Rd and the duplication of Craigieburn Rd East.”
Plan for 15,000 homes to ease housing affordability crisis
THREE town centres, five schools and new community facilities will be built in Wollert.
The State Government has announced it will build up the semi-rural suburb to cater for more than 42,000 people, 15,000 new dwellings and 7000 jobs.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne said the planned 1434ha precinct would be bound by Craigieburn Rd East to the south, Summerhill Rd in the north, Curly Sedge Creek in the west and the reservation for the future E6 to the east.
“This is meticulous planning at its best,” Mr Wynne said.
“Approvals like these don’t just help cater for growing population, they keep the dreams of many would-be homeowners alive.”
More than $400 million in developers’ contributions will cover essential infrastructure and community facilities, including roads, parks and pipelines.
New roads will be built or upgraded, including Craigieburn Rd, Boundary Rd, Summerhill Rd and Koukoura Drive.
The new suburb will be serviced by a network of bus routes, and will be just a 10-minute drive from Epping or Craigieburn train stations.
Wollert will feature 340ha of open space.
The Labor Government is working with the Victorian Planning Authority to release 100,000 lots for residential development by the end of 2018 to help grow communities and make housing more affordable.
The announcement comes just four months after the government approved the structure plan for the Quarry Hills Precinct on 285ha of land between Epping and South Morang, which will become home to more than 6500 people.
■ The Outer Metropolitan Ring/E6 Transport Corridor is a long-term project and VicRoads is working to determine the scope and staging of the project based on the future population of these areas.
■ Planning is underway on the O’Herns Rd interchange upgrade with construction on the first stage expected to start in mid-2017. VicRoads will begin speaking with the community about the project in the coming months.
■ $250,000 for a business case into an upgrade of Craigieburn Rd between Hanson Rd and Aitken Blvd. It will examine upgrading the road from two lanes to four lanes, dedicated bus lanes and shared paths to improve traffic flow, safety and local connections.