Part III: The final boundaries - Plenty/Yarrambat/Hurstbridge/Wandong
- The ALP suggested three related changes on the northern fringes of Melbourne. First, the ALP proposed that Mill Park district soak up part of Yan Yean district’s anticipated growth by taking in the parts of Plenty and Yarrambat west of Yan Yean Road. The submission pointed to growing transport, educational and commercial links between this area and South Morang, in Mill Park district. Second, to compensate for this loss, the ALP suggested that Yan Yean absorb Wandong and Heathcote Junction at the southern end of the proposed Seymour district. The ALP argues that this area is peri-urban (though having a more stable population than Yan Yean as a whole) and that its residents have close educational and economic ties with Whittlesea, in Yan Yean district. Third, the ALP suggested that the whole of the Hurstbridge locality be united in Yan Yean, a change supported by Mr Chris Curtis. Mr Matthew Rossi supported the inclusion of the entire Plenty Gorge Park in Mill Park district, stating that there are strong connections between all localities adjacent to the park. Cr Sue Marstaeller of Mitchell Shire Council advocated the inclusion of all of the Shire’s South Ward, including Wandong and Heathcote Junction, in Yan Yean district, because these areas are peri-urban in nature and look to Whittlesea for services.
- Of course there are links between South Morang, on the western side of the Plenty River, and Plenty and Yarrambat on the eastern side. Neverthless, the Plenty River and gorge are major barriers between them, and create a very clear boundary. There is only one road across the Gorge (Kurrak Road/Gorge Road). South Morang is a suburb in the booming Plenty corridor, while the Yarrambat and Plenty localities are in a green wedge. The EBC considers the differences between these areas are so great and the boundary between them is so strong that it cannot agree to the ALP’s suggestion.
- At the other end of Yan Yean district, the EBC, though acknowledging the ALP’s and Cr Marstaeller’s arguments, notes that Wandong and Heathcote Junction are not within the Urban Growth Boundary and are still more rural than urban in character, and so can fit appropriately in the renamed Euroa district.
- On the other hand, the EBC does approve the inclusion of all of Hurstbridge in Yan Yean district.
- In the same area, Ms Gila Schnapp lodged a submission and spoke at the 13 August public hearing on behalf of a group of landholders in Diamond Creek and Yarrambat. Ms Schnapp’s group have been struggling since 2000 to rectify what they regard as incorrect rezoning of their properties from urban to rural. As part of their concerns, they requested that their State electorate be changed from the rural Yan Yean district to an urban district such as Bundoora or Eltham. They pointed out that their properties were in the urban Greensborough district before 1992.
- The EBC cannot accommodate Ms Schnapp’s request. Diamond Creek and Yarrambat have been in Yan Yean district since 1992. Under the proposed boundaries, Eltham district has encroached on the edges of Diamond Creek, but the numbers criterion prevents Eltham or Mill Park districts from including all of Diamond Creek and Yarrambat. The EBC considers that Ms Schnapp’s group has approached the wrong forum for the resolution of their concerns, since the EBC has nothing to do with zoning issues.