DAY 12


Tuesday 1st March Day 12

Hobsons Bay Council Chamber Altona

Morning Session

Save Williamstown’s case was presented by Patricia Toop, Charmian Gaud and Suzanne Orange.

The presentation stated that:

OUR COMMUNITY supports  Appropriate Sustainable Development

  1. 1.Heritage - the uniqueness of Williamstown was explained, the peninsula’s national significance being second only to Sydney’s Circular Quay (Prof G Blainey). A short film about the impact of inappropriate development and its impact on Williamstown was shown. Victorian Heritage database listings, Council’s Municipal statement, Cultural Heritage study requirements for both aboriginal and early European, heritage criteria in Melbourne 2030 were all in the presentation
    VIEW- 1 Heritage v2.pdf


Port Phillip Woollen Mill Advisory Committee Public Hearings

Daily Notes 10 February through to 4 March 2011

Days 1 to 15

  1. 2.Community Infrastructure - availability of health, education, child care and community services were very different from that portrayed in the desk top study of the developer’s social impact expert.  School and child care places are critically short with no capacity to accommodate 1000+ new residents but if these new residents did have 3016 addresses the impact on others towards Newport would be detrimental. Williamstown Primary and St Mary’s use council pocket parks for playgrounds and portable classrooms and there is no land in the peninsula to build new schools. The new initiative of Seaworks on the opposite corner to the development site would be explained by Patsy Toop in speaking for POW later.
    VIEW- 2 Community Infrastructure V2.pdf

  2. 3.Transport - the myth that Williamstown is close to the CBD (15.2km trip not the crow fly trip which the developer cited of 7km!); the fact that there is only an infrequent train service (3 services between 7.30 and 8.30am compared with 22 services in Richmond), no buses or trams to the CBD; the congestion on the two roads into the CBD from the peninsula; the restrictions on street parking all around the site; and the impact of 1000+ new residents trying BY CAR to access the shops, banks and services in the Williamstown Major Activity Centre were explained in the presentation
    VIEW- 3 Transport V2.pdf

  3. 4.Industry & Jobs - the long history indeed heritage of industry being a part of the Williamstown DNA was explained. Examples of Glenelg (Portland) and Kurnell NSW (heritage peninsula with Caltex refinery) experiencing conflict with new development and how planning authorities had dealt with the issues to retain the viability of industry and jobs was explained.  Kurnell has a policy of no new residential development and Glenelg had land rezoned industrial after it was initially rezoned residential.  Also how Garden Island in Sydney had its operations restricted because of the impact of noise and light-spill on new dwellings within buffers zones of the industrial use.
    VIEW- 4 Industry Jobs V2.pdf

  4. 5.Open Space - the peninsula lacks local open space provision and there is no available land for such provision. The purpose of Rotary Park and the use of the other two local parks by the schools and sporting events at weekend were explained.  The Point Gellibrand Coastal Heritage Park is a wild windy place undergoing a careful re-vegetation - being developed under a ParksVic Plan of Management. It is a state level regional park as identified in Melb 2030 and not suited to the Developer using it for open space which is not provided within the development.
    Expert Dr Ken Marriott to cover this issue
    VIEW-  5 Open Space V2.pdf

  5. 6.Safety - this issue is very important to the community because an incident at the Mobil MHF either in tanks or ships with any escalation would require emergency service response and evacuation. 1000+ new residents would impact on evacuation of existing workers at BAE and existing residents in the peninsula.  Buncefield has rewritten credible risk of an explosion starting in just one tank in a tank farm. QRA is not the appropriate tool for societal risk and possible consequences and the WorkSafe buffer should be seen as a minimum. Mobil had a guideline of 10 x the tank diameter and that 400m would impact on most of the Former Port Phillip Woollen Mill Site.  Movies of a crude oil ship fire in China in 2010;  of the Buncefield disaster by Hertfield Fire and Rescue Service 2005 and preparing to deal with another explosion on a ship in Providence, New York were played (See YourTube below).  Not only is there danger with tanks on land but each ship which delivers to the port also has tanks on board which can experience boilovers, loss of containment, invisible vapour cloud in early morning still conditions and escalation. Human error cannot be discounted and natural causes such as lightening beside equipment failure. The risk is low but the consequences for buildings and people too close is very high.  The dangers inherent in ships was more fully explained by our expert witness Captain Korevaar who had first hand experience of fighting a petrochemical explosion in the Indian Ocean and as a Master Mariner in charge of tugs in Port Phillip Bay he was able to inform the committee about the dangerous states found in some crude oil tankers and how the authorities dealt with those issues. Our presentation included footage of a massive explosion in 2010 in China and a second movie about how the authorities were preparing for another major event in Providence New York, following a major fire on the ship Nordeuropa in 2004.  The incident at Pt Gellibrand with the Leyte Spirit in 2009 was also referenced and it was noted that the full report still has not been issued. In Western Australia the EPA has a safety buffer for fuel importation of 1000m which was a distance shown on a map of the peninsula.  It was noted that Mobil has future plans to expand.  In terms of national security terrorists could use oil tankers. In summary safety must precede  planning controls.
    Expert Captain Bill Korevaar to cover this issue
    VIEW- 6 Safety V2.pdf

  1. 7.Planning Issues - as a first step a multi-agency planning approach is needed for the whole peninsula before any development approval for the Former Port Phillip Woollen Mill Site. The risks are too great and the community needs a plan. No DPO should be approved as it removes 3rd Party Rights. The impact of the development on the community means that the community and stakeholders such as BAE, Mobil and the Titanic must be allowed to view and have input to the planning process. The indicative plans of the Developer in August 2010 have never been properly displayed and evaluated by any planning authority. Save Williamstown provided a critique to the committee based on these plans but a proper period of exhibition had never been provided. Neither had any physical models (e.g. a wooden/cardboard constructed model)  been provided, placing the buildings in their Williamstown Peninsula context, which would be understandable by the community. Overshadowing diagrams had been provided only for the equinox on 2D paper version. The impact of the 2009 DPO building envelope had been modelled by RMIT for Save Williamstown and 365 day 10am shadows was displayed as a movie which showed the adverse impact on neighbours and which a DPO would preclude objection. Light spill and climate change had not been covered by any experts nor had shadowing within the development. Melbourne 2030 Policy Initiative 4.3.2 (Port buffers) and 5.1.3 (good urban design in heritage areas) seem to have been ignored by the developer. The ILMS had identified that an Outline Development Plan was required for the whole of the Precinct 20 SRA - this had not been done and the minister’s rezoning residential 1 was not in the context of the ILMS. Current DDO4 and DDO8 should be applied to the site, existing heritage controls should apply and if a Port Environs Overlay is determined by the minister then the whole of the site should have that PEO1 or PEO2 applied.
    Expert Architect Andrew Davidson to cover planning and urban design issues
    VIEW- 7 Planning Issues V2.pdf

  1. 8.Transparency and Due Process - the rezoning of the Former Port Phillip Woollen Mill Site to Residential 1 is an issue outside the terms of reference of the committee. But this inappropriate development is a concern of many submitters, presenters, industrial stakeholders and the Hobsons Bay Council. Save Williamstown had previously submitted that the decisions by the minister in respect of the Ports and Environs Advisory Committee and the proper risk assessment of the Williamstown Peninsula should precede the Port Phillip Woollen Mill Advisory Committee.  Also prior to Port Phillip Woollen Mill Advisory Committee  public hearings commencing,  the political change, the failure of the developer to provide relevant plans which could be exhibited properly, the missing documents from the website and impossible timelines during a traditional vacation period should be relevant in abandoning the committee or at least deferring it.  The failure of public servants in the Department of Planning to properly inform the minister about national and state significant industry as key stakeholders and protection on the port and to seek appropriate advice from appropriate organisations and persons has been shown in the FIO documents obtained by Save Williamstown.  These documents were tabled, along with the authorisations for the ILMS (C33), relevant sections of the ILMS and relevant approvals.  The new minister was requested via the committee to recognise the flawed advice and rectify the zoning of the land prior to any specific planning controls allowing residential development to proceed. The real and foreseeable risk of harm or death in allowing or facilitating residential development near a Major Hazard Facility was clearly stated by Save Williamstown and Mobil had also told the committee that “It will be documented for future reference that Mobil have raised the issues of people safety, environmental issues and reverse buffer requirements in a sensible manner so it can be clearly understood by the committee and others.”
    VIEW- 8 Transparency Due Process V2.pdf

Expert witness Dr Jan Hayes (Risk assessment expert) was not able to be present as she needed to be in Canberra. Her expert witness report had submitted by 31 January.

VIEW- Jan Hayes Expert Letter 27Dec10.pdf

Expert witness Captain Bill Korevaar spoke to his report and was questioned by the committee.

VIEW- WTKorevaar Expert Report 30-1-2011-1.pdf

  1. His personal experiences of a range of conditions, ships, firefighting and emergency response campaigns in Australia and overseas showed that the safety of the ships and ports could not necessarily be taken for granted. Whilst shipping Companies, Commercial and Government Regulatory Agencies have improved their standards in recent years following a number of very serious incidents of pollution, fires and explosions, this does not mean that serious incidents are now impossible. For example, the new “double hulled” Crude Oil tankers introduced after the Exxon Valdez grounding and pollution incident in Prince William Sound do bring greatly improved pollution protection in case of slow speed grounding and collisions, but in the case of high impact collisions, groundings or incidents that breach both inner and outer hulls, the quantities of oil likely to be spilt actually increases due to the new design standard.  The double hull also introduces possible new dangers of fire and explosion, with the risk of explosive vapours accumulating in the confined spaces of ballast tanks adjacent to the central cargo tanks of the vessel.  These spaces are generally not protected by inert gas systems but can have hydrocarbons enter them should cracks or damage which can occur in the tanker’s structure.

  2. The confined waters around the Point Gellibrand Pier and prevailing weather conditions of Port Phillip Bay mean tugs are usually required to assist the shipping tankers dock and undock, such that the tankers at Point Gellibrand would under many foreseeable circumstances not be able to leave the pier immediately under their own steam in the event of an emergency.  It may take some time for a tanker to depart the jetty to minimise the risk of escalation of an incident from shore to the ship or vice-versa.  Captain Korevaar reported on concerns that some Australian Standards for hydrocarbon port safety had not been implemented in Victoria, despite recommendations of the Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner after very extensive review of Victoria’s Marine Emergency Legislative Framework and this could increase problems in the event of an emergency.  Complying with known good industry practice both within Australia and internationally is important and erring somewhat on the side of CAUTION was very important when dealing with such risks; industry known and developed safety buffer zones and standards should not be ignored.

  3. Whilst it is possible on occasions for weather conditions in Williamstown to be so calm as to be conducive to the development of an invisible expanding explosive vapour cloud either around a ship, shore tank or major spill into the water or on land, Bureau of Meteorology data was also used to show that for 20 to 30% of the year winds can prevail in direction and strengths that could compromise fixed fire fighting water and foam and boundary cooling installations at the tanks farm, on the jetty and on the tankers themselves. Whether it be a vapour cloud explosion as in Buncefield, a major spill and fire on the waters of Hobsons Bay or around the Gellibrand facility, or escalation to surrounding areas of a possibly higher risk scenario of boil-over incident at the tank farm itself, such incidents are possible and do occur with some frequency in the international ship and shore hydrocarbon industries.  Captain Korevaar reinforced the internationally acknowledged fact that Human error was deemed a major contributing factor in many incidents, often along with equipment failures or deficiencies and possible environmental factors such as severe storms and or lightning strikes.

  4. Many of the powerful examples of international shipping and shore tank and pipeline fires and explosions given by the Save Williamstown presentation occurred in the last decade, some in the last year or two.

  5. Captain Korevaar stated that the possible consequences of low likelihood high consequence incidents must be taken into account and not just statistically derived probability used to claim that the incidents will effectively never happen. It was suggested buffer distances of at least 400m and up to 1000m were required; a 500m exclusion zone safety buffer is used for example for Offshore Oil and Gas installations.  Captain Korevaar supported a full and proper Qualitative Risk assessment (not Quantitative Risk Assessment referred to by Mr Jarman) being conducted by the appropriate authorities for the Williamstown Peninsula with all Stakeholders participating.  Proper consideration of all possible scenarios, emergency preparedness, resources available for response, allowance for possible escalation, full community awareness and fully detailed procedures are required rather than assumptions.  For this to occur it is critical that Local Council retains Planning Authority powers as they would ensure such full consultation and bringing to the table of important information. Finally, Captain Korevaar urged the Advisory Committee Panel to recommend that their report to the Minister be made public, so that there is proper awareness, transparency and accountability in relation to the vast amounts of information the Panel and Minister have been made aware of as part of the FPPWMAC consultation process and decisions that are made as a result.

Expert Witness Andrew Davidson spoke to his report and was questioned by the committee.

VIEW- ADAVIDSON Expert Report 110130.pdf

Notwithstanding that the safety issues were a prime concern for Williamstown peninsula, Mr Davidson talked about urban design and planning controls which fit within the context of a heritage precinct. He informed the committee as to how an appropriate architectural design response was possible and gave examples.  He noted that the site’s location did not fit with the high-rise high-density criteria suited to a site in a Principal or Major Activity Centre because it failed on the accepted criteria of being within a well serviced site in the inner circle of a Major Activity Centre.  Poor public transport services plus the distance of the development from the MAC,  would certainly mean residents having to use cars to access the shops and services. Parking in streets around the site was also described at a major issues with very few street parking spots available.  High density high rise development did not respond to the circumstances in Williamstown peninsula and any designs should be of a more appropriate scale within the existing DDOs and Heritage Overlays.  Comparisons had been made by the developer to the housing commission building heights which were 12 storeys and about 32 metres but they had been considered totally inappropriate 1970s buildings imposed by the Department of Housing and out of character in Williamstown.  The proposed development was even higher than the housing commission at 50m and would not fit in with the essentially low rise Williamstown.  Williamstown was not a country town and the three storeys allowed on Nelson Place were not typical of country towns but there was a consistency of height in Williamstown.

Afternoon Session

Expert Witness Dr Ken Marriott spoke to his report and was questioned by the committee.

VIEW- KMarriott Expert Report 30Jan2011.pdf

Ken has 40 years experience in recreation planning and first did work on open space in Williamstown in 1976 .

  1. -He argued that the Former Port Phillip Woollen Mill Site contradicts Hobsons Bay Council policies and practices. Councils are responsible for everyone in the community and take those responsibilities seriously with large expenditure looking after the community.

  2. -The development proposal contradicts the direction of open space planning at both the municipal and State level.

  3. -Hobsons Bay Council's MSS seeks to provide adequate open space, enhance diversity of leisure opportunities, enhance conservation values of open space and encourage landscaping which enhances open space. The Former Port Phillip Woollen Mill draft development proposal not only does not contribute to achieving any of these objectives but would in fact,  lead to the degradation of the limited open space which exists.

  4. -Hobsons Bay Council's Open Space Strategy refers to the need for private open space in residential developments. The site undermines and contradicts this.

  5. -Comparisons were drawn with NSW where contributions of up to $34,000 per bedroom have been required for new developments with these funds being allocated to acquisition of new open space and the embellishment of existing resources so as to offset the demands made by new residents.   For a long time in Victoria, 4 hectares per 1000 residents was the open space requirement.  On the basis of a projected 1000 residents in the proposed development, 4 ha of open space would be needed.  At the very least, a small local park that offered a viable diversity of leisure uses should be a minimum of one hectare in size.  Stonnington Council is presently moving to achieve is 12-14 sq. m of open space per resident with if needed, this to be added to through the embellishment of the public realm.

  6. -Professional guidelines exist to allow an assessment of what levels and types of open space should be provided in new developments. Any development should make an assessment of existing and proposed assets & should have extensive community consultations. The Former Port Phillip Woollen Mill Site developers have proposed using existing facilities such as the Point Gellibrand Heritage Park but research about the residents and the types of resources needed has not been conducted to even indicate that this might be appropriate. ParksVic managed the heritage park in a special way for its heritage values.

  7. -The Rotary Park to the south of the development site was developed for a special group of residents with government funding while the parks adjacent to the primary schools are used for overflow playgrounds for the schools. As such, these sites are not suitable for or would be adequate for meeting the needs of new residents.

  8. -There is a real shortage of space already in Williamstown and what is there is overused.  The  provision situation in Williamstown is worse now than 30 years ago due to urban infill and higher residential redevelopment and the woollen mills proposal will make it more so.  As such,  funding for embellishment will not help meet needs.  More space is needed and an argument could be put that the Woollen Mills land should be acquired for this purpose and not be built on at all.

  9. -The development proposal makes no provision for open space and to propose that public realm road reserves can be used to provide open space is an inadequate solution.  Western society has spent the last 2-300 years planning to avoid overdevelopment and to ensure that residents have access to fresh air and open space.   To ignore this history is to ignore creating healthy living environments for the community.

  10. -Williamstown and Altona are the destination the western suburbs residents living as far east as Sydney Road and this makes a significant additional demand on resources which are already inadequate for the needs of residents.  Bringing in a large number of additional residents will serve to exacerbate this problem.

Charmian Gaud spoke for her family regarding the issues from a personal perspective and influenced by methodologies used in a recreation planning business.  Initial consultation with communities was seen as hugely relevant and yet was lacking by this developer.  Building residential dwellings too close to industry was going to be an obvious source of conflict.  The ILMS had offered a highly appropriate mix of development opportunities.  Williamstown lacked an effective business commercial zone and the expansion of the retail zone beyond the Post Office on Douglas Parade had forced businesses and services into residential streets. The site offered good opportunities for a business/commercial centre and businesses and industries which are part of Williamstown’s DNA such as Film and TV production could indicate that small sound proof studios may be a use opportunity for the developer to explore.  This type of business use could utilise refurbished buildings too thus respecting the heritage. The controlled workplace was also more suitable near a major hazard facility and fuel importation than residential high rise high density dwellings.

Preserve Old Williamstown - Patricia Toop spoke about the unique heritage and original settlement including the significant Victorian industrial heritage.   Her first hand knowledge of the significant history of the Melbourne Harbour Trust Stores and Workshop and the development of the Seaworks project as a major tourist initiative informed the committee.  As Seaworks is on the opposite corner of Ann St/Nelson Place to the Former Port Phillip Woollen Mill Site, the silence of the developer on the existence of Seaworks as a community facility had already been noted by Save Williamstown.  Seaworks is an extension of the interpretive concept of Scienceworks (already well established) and Railworks (still in the pipeline).  The tourism opportunities of the Seaworks site would be detrimentally affected by a huge modern out of keeping development of 1000+ residents. The Heritage Overlays and council’s Municipal Strategic Statement as it relates to heritage is significant and must be taken into account in determining appropriate development. Respect of heritage and preventing dominant and out of character development is important. Reference was made to the out of scale towering inferno erupting at the centre of the site. Set backs and heights must take the heritage precincts into account. The appropriateness of proper buffers for the Mobil/BAE operations and associated risks as described by Save Williamstown must be taken into account.  Reference was made to the tribunal decisions re 4-18 Ferguson St and how that development was required to respect neighbourhood character and heritage objectives whilst being located well within the business area of Ferguson St.  Another tribunal case was referenced in relating to increased traffic on Williamstown/Melbourne Rd from an industrial development proposal and how even in 1997, the rush hour peak traffic was close to saturation.  The current delays show that the stage beyond saturation has been reached. New dwellings on the peninsula for 1000 vehicles would have a major impact on traffic flow on Melbourne Rd. Not only journey to work impacts on the road network but tourist traffic causing delays and bottlenecks in the peninsula with the traffic congestion.

Suzanne Orange supported the matters raised in the Save Williamstown submission but also spoke about the special issues relating to Cecil St.  Traffic associated with the two schools, difficulties in parking in the shopping centre, travelling from the peninsula into the wider road network.  Also the evacuation issues along the road network of the peninsula.  The different traffic data produced by the same consulting firm when preparing a report for a Child Care development on Cecil St compared with the report for the Former Port Phillip Woollen Mill Site was brought to the attention of the committee.  Council’s traffic analysis had also failed to provide the appropriate data for Cecil St. 

Greg Powick (Point Gellibrand Park Association) spoke about the significance of the Coastal Heritage Park. The plan of management reflects that the park is a regional heritage park and it is a long term project to create the wild windswept park with appropriate plantings undertaken by community volunteers at the end of the peninsula. The only playground is near the Cricket Ground end of the park which is a long walk from the development

## DISCLAIMER: Throughout the notes please remember this is our interpretation only and should not be relied on for complete accuracy.

View Land at Risk on YouTube


View these movies on YouTube

Protecting the Port - Providence NY USA


Crude Fire at Ship in Port - Dalian China


Buncefield Fire and Rescue Info about Disaster


View YouTube video

Shadows study