From Walmer Street Action Group: Why you should attend: The two public meetings are an opportunity to set a new standard in attention to community amenity when confronting entrenched developer interests.

Date and times: Wednesday 13 July (6-8pm) and Saturday 16 July (10.30am-12.30pm)
Venue: “Park Gardens” (607-629 Victoria Street) display suite, adjacent to Walmer Street on the south side of the Walmer Street bridge

Following approaches to the Minister for Planning, his department has indicated it is preparing alternative design options that better address community concerns and which will be presented at the meetings.  Failure to invoke the Minister’s ruling in favour of a precinct that delivers an integrated, best practice approach to this vital public amenity will lock in a substandard asset for users over decades to come.

The sessions will occur at the Display Suite onsite at 607-627 Victoria Street, Abbotsford. Access to the Display Suite is towards the north-west corner at the ‘river end’ of Walmer Street.

Please RSVP your attendance to Dianne Jones from Urbis no later than 5:00 pm, Monday, 11 July 2016 via email or by telephone on 8663 4888.

Our ability to make a substantive impact will depend on a very strong turnout at the meetings. So please make every effort to attend.

Cyclists say plans for twin multistorey towers in Abbotsford could threaten the connectivity of the Main Yarra Trail. Picture: Josie Hayden

Cyclists say plans for twin multistorey towers in Abbotsford could threaten the connectivity of the Main Yarra Trail. Picture: Josie Hayden

Melbourne Leader: Walmer St Action Group says apartment tower plans could disrupt Main Yarra Trail Toby Prime (June 21, 2016)

Twin multistorey developments that threaten the connectivity of one of Melbourne’s premier cycling trails have been criticised by community groups and two neighbouring councils.

Developer Salta Properties has proposed a nine-storey development at 647-649 Victoria St, Abbotsford, while across the road, at 607-627 Victoria St, there are plans for two buildings of 10 and 11 storeys.

Walmer St would become the entrance and exit point for vehicles.

Cyclists use the street’s entrance point to access the Main Yarra Trail and the Walmer St bridge, which leads over the Yarra River into Kew.

Under the plans, cyclists would need to navigate a new ramp with sharp switchback turns, while the street would also be raised by about two metres.

The developments would contain a combined 640 apartments.

At an Internal Development Approvals Committee meeting, Yarra Council said it “cannot support” the 607-627 Victoria St proposal due to inadequate cycling and pedestrian links between Abbotsford and Kew.

Boroondara Council has also expressed its concern about the height of the buildings and the link from the bridge to the trail.

The Walmer St Action Group has called on Planning Minister and Richmond MP Richard Wynne to step in.

The group’s co-president Mike Waller said the junction was an important community asset, with a recent Bicycle Network count recording 508 cyclists using the bridge and ramp intersection between 7-9am.

“It is not only about profits and the interests of developers, it is about making the best use of the long-term opportunity that this area now offers,” Mr Waller said.

One development is part of a Priority Development Zone (PDZ) and is waiting approval from Mr Wynne, while the other is waiting on a ruling following a recent VCAT hearing. Mr Wynne has requested Salta meet concerned residents.

“I am determined to ensure that access to the bike path is not only retained but enhanced, and that Walmer St remains publicly accessible,” Mr Wynne said.

Salta managing director Sam Tarascio said designs had complied with the PDZ and the community would be consulted at upcoming information sessions.