Manor Lakes Residents Association 34.41 Kb

Inquiry into liveability options in outer suburban Melbourne
Werribee — 24 August 2011
Ms J. Graley
Ms N. Hutchins
Mrs J. Kronberg
Ms L. McLeish
Mr C. Ondarchie
Chair: Mrs J. Kronberg
Deputy Chair: Ms J. Graley
Executive Officer: Mr N. Bunt
Research Officer: Ms C. Frew
Ms D. Anderson, vice president, Manor Lakes Residents Association.
The DEPUTY CHAIR — I would like to welcome you to our public inquiry. This committee is an all-party
parliamentary committee. It is hearing evidence today on the inquiry into livability options in outer suburban
Melbourne. All evidence taken at this hearing is protected by parliamentary privilege and comments you make
outside the hearing are not afforded such privilege. I would ask you today to identify yourself by giving us your
full name and address and in what capacity you are attending the hearing.
Ms ANDERSON — My name is Delphi Anderson. I reside at 19 Clarence Street, Wyndham Vale, which is
in the Manor Lakes Estate. I am here as vice-president of the Manor Lakes Residents Association and of course
as a resident of Manor Lakes.
The DEPUTY CHAIR — Terrific. You are very welcome. The evidence that you give today will be taken
down and become public evidence in due course. I would like to invite you to start.
Ms ANDERSON — Thank you. I have lived in Manor Lakes since March last year. We moved there
primarily for the schools. Manor Lakes is very lucky. We have two schools. We have a Catholic primary school
and we also have a government-run school which will be prep to year 12 but at the moment they are graduating
their high school. That is what I wanted for my children, especially having one who is approaching high school
age. I have three children also with additional needs. They have all been diagnosed on the spectrum as well as
having other conditions so I wanted a school that would nurture them.
Moving to Manor Lakes is probably one of the best things we have ever done. Living in Manor Lakes is the
closest thing to living rurally. It is quiet. You can hear the nature, the birds. There is wildlife all over the place,
both wanted and unwanted unfortunately. I have started a walking group. We were doing a walk the other day
around it and there were pelicans in the lake. There is all the different wildlife; it is just beautiful. It is a lovely
place. It is growing. As I mentioned we have the walking group, which has just started up, to help promote
health and wellbeing and offer young families and retirees an opportunity to come out and do something for free
and to keep fit. We have a very active residents association which is supported by council, Victoria Police,
Dennis Family Homes and local businesses. We are very active in the community. We are organising the
Christmas carols, and we meet every month. We also presented one of the largest petitions to state Parliament to
change the alignment of the new Regional Rail Link, which we have been very active about.
Although I love Manor Lakes, it does have a few areas that could be worked on. Probably the main thing is the
area is growing to such an extent that the infrastructure is just not coping. We have very limited bus routes,
which really only take you around the schools, which are in about a one-block radius, and down one of the
streets. We have had many residents ask if it is possible to get feeder buses, which could service a wider area of
the community while also accommodating for the narrow streets. They would then meet up with the main buses
that actually go out of the estate and beyond. That is something that unfortunately we have not been able to go
very far with. A lot of people purely rely on their own personal transport. You then have increased traffic,
increased wear on the roads, the environmental effects and all of that sort of thing. We have got that issue and
the issue of being fairly isolated in terms of our location. There really is only one entrance to Manor Lakes, and
that is off Ballan Road.
We do not have our own police station, which means that if we need to call on the police for emergency or
urgent situations, it will take them about 15-plus minutes to get here. The closest police stations are the one in
Werribee, which is 7.7 kilometres from Manor Lakes Shopping Centre, and then you have got the one at the
north of Wyndham, which is where the traffic division is, and that is 11.4 kilometres away. There is a bit of
trouble if you need police to come. Apart from the fact that we do not have a lot of police in the community, it
takes them a while to get there.
The other problem we have is with being accessible by just one road. We had a situation last night. I do not
know if anybody heard, because it was not highly publicised. We had a major crash on Ballan Road yesterday
afternoon. The driver is not expected to survive. Ballan Road is a dual carriageway road which is very poorly
maintained. There is a patchwork quilt-type effect of bitumen, all uneven; the shoulders are badly maintained,
or I should say they are not maintained at all. There is no way that you can overtake if you have got a slow
vehicle. The road is actually used by trucks and cars, because further up, west of Ballan Road, there is a quarry;
so they use it, plus with all the building that is happening in the estate you have the other heavy trucks.
Yesterday’s crash actually blocked Ballan Road for about 2 hours, which caused absolute havoc. It happened
just before school closed, so parents were madly ringing the school trying to make some arrangements, because
they were not able to get there. That is probably the biggest problem we have at the moment, the access.
We also have an issue which concerns the whole of Wyndham Vale and the people who live west of Werribee,
which is the level crossing down at the corner of Werribee and Cottrell streets. At peak-hour times it is very
hard and takes a long time to get through those crossings. They are governed by the railway crossing and
governed by lights. Trying to get through you often end up with cars banked up Ballan Road trying to get
into Werribee CBD. There has been talk about it being converted into an underpass-overpass situation.
Nothing has eventuated as yet.
Manor Lakes is also home to a lot of mature age people and retirees. We do have a designated aged-care
facility within the estate, but a lot of the mature age people and retirees own their own home, because of
the affordability. They retire and can afford to buy their own home. Unfortunately, though, there are not a
lot of facilities available to them. We have got a fantastic new Community Learning Centre with the library
that is absolutely brilliant. The problem is there is nothing for the elderly to do. There is nothing focused
specifically for them. If they want health and fitness, a swimming pool, that sort of thing, they have to go
into Hoppers Crossing or down to Werribee. If they want to do any classes, craft, gatherings, that sort of
thing, they have to go down to Iramoo community centre, because there is just not the set-up yet in the
estate. It is very limited for them.
On the flip side we have a problem with the youth. I am talking more teenagers and pre-teens. There are a
lot of issues with them, because there is not a lot for them to do either. The new community centre is going
to be doing a youth resource facility as well; however, that is not going to be available all the time. There
is a skate park and whatnot in the pipeline, but there is nothing else. We had a problem over the Christmas,
December–January, holidays last year. We had a lot of gang fighting happen in one of our parks. It all
stemmed pretty much from boredom, because there is just nothing for them to do. We have a basketball
court in one section of the estate, but that is about it.
In relation to general challenges we have, although having the vast open spaces is really good, really quiet,
they are also a lure for our residents who have dirt bikes and quad bikes, because they like to think, ‘Hey,
we can go out’, and that causes a lot of problems. A lot of people dump household rubbish and hard waste
around some of the streets that are not yet finished being developed. They think no-one is going to see it or
know about it. Unfortunately the relevant powers that be do not always deal with eradicating it. Dennis
Family Homes is pretty good, but unfortunately council maintenance has not been as good, because
obviously they have a large area. There was a situation a few months ago where a fridge was collected, and
apparently when the maintenance guys went to lift the fridge up the amount of mice that came out of it was
I am sure these are challenges that happen on estates all over Victoria and Australia, but I can only speak
for our estate. Again it is a great place to live. I love it. I have lived in many parts of Melbourne, and we
previously moved from Hoppers Crossing. Hoppers Crossing, which is already built up and everything is
established, is great, but it is nice to have that quietness in the morning when you have got the sun
streaming in and — just quiet. It is lovely.
The DEPUTY CHAIR — Thank you, Delphi. That was a terrific presentation. Would you like to take some
The DEPUTY CHAIR — That would be great.
Ms HUTCHINS — In terms of local facilities, what do you think the youth of the area really do need to
basically stay off the streets and stay away from the gang fighting and so forth? What are the immediate needs
you see?
Ms ANDERSON — I think they need a gathering place that is not intimidating. A skate park, as I
mentioned, is in the pipeline.
Ms HUTCHINS — From council?
Ms ANDERSON — From council, yes. They are also currently building a sports field, which would be
good because obviously we will have sports clubs and they can expend all that extra energy. I think first and
foremost they need somewhere non-threatening where they can gather and it is safe. Parents can know that they
are safe. They can let off steam and do what they want to do. I would probably say that that would be good. I
think a meeting place — a youth resource centre — would be great, but you need staff to man it, you need the
facilities and you need to make sure the facilities are safe. Somewhere they can go at any time would be better.
Ms McLEISH — I am going to ask a question that I asked the council, and they said perhaps you would be
a better person to respond to the question.
Ms ANDERSON — I did hear that.
Ms McLEISH — One of the areas they identified as having a strong community with a sense of identity and
place is Manor Lakes. What do you think are the key factors that contribute to the sense of place, community
and identity?
Ms ANDERSON — I think it is the fact that we all love living there. We were sold this lifestyle, and it is in
the pipeline. We have a lovely lake. I think a lot of people are there for the lifestyle. We have people who own
their own homes, people who are renting and people who are boarding. The amount of cultural diversity within
the estate is just amazing, and everyone seems to be really happy with it. There is a real sense of it not mattering
who you are or where you come from; you are welcome. Having good schools I think is a help as well.
Ms McLEISH — With that, when you talk about the demographics — you have talked about elderly
people, retirees, kids and families — do you think the diversity in the demographic really adds to that sense of
Ms ANDERSON — Definitely. We have young people who have just moved out of home. We have
retirees. It is the country town feeling, where you can go to the local shopping centre and see people you know.
It is just a really nice ambience.
The DEPUTY CHAIR — Do you have any occasions where you all meet or celebrate together, or is it just
talking to your neighbours sort of stuff?
Ms ANDERSON — The residents association has monthly meetings. We also have subcommittees. At the
moment we are organising the Christmas carols, which we do every year, where we have events. We try to
make it an afternoon event. We have things for kids and for adults. We try to make things special. We also help
out in the community — for example, with Clean Up Australia Day. We have a regular newsletter. Our
secretary is very big on the communication side of things, regularly touching base with our members.
Unfortunately we have the usual situation that most groups and organisations have where our member base is
growing, but you have to work at it, get yourself out there and get yourself known, and that is what we are
trying to do. We have a walking group that is affiliated. The secretary and I are organising that. That is just
starting off. It is basically just trying to build things up and get people out there, involved, communicating and
welcoming each other.
The DEPUTY CHAIR — That is very good.
Mr ONDARCHIE — Delphi, you are a really good salesperson for Manor Lakes. I am waiting for Bert
Dennis to run in here and give you a hug, actually. I am interested in the residents association. How did it come
to be? Was it pushed along by a council or by the Dennis family? How did it come to be?
Ms ANDERSON — It was basically residents who could see that there were issues that needed to be dealt
with that really only residents could voice — power in numbers and that sort of thing. We are supported by
Dennis Family Homes. They have been very supportive of us in partnership. However, it is purely a case of us
being residents who love our community and who want to be able to help deal with issues and make it a really
exciting place to live. We have been having fantastic guest speakers come to our meetings. We have had the
inspector of Werribee police, we have had Bill Forrest and we have had several other council staff come to
speak to us about various issues.
Mr ONDARCHIE — Has council supported you by putting that together?
Mr ONDARCHIE — How did they go about that?
Ms ANDERSON — Not so much us being amalgamated, but they have been supportive of us operationally.
Ms ANDERSON — Local councillors come to our meetings most of the time — whenever they are free.
They are always there for support and advice when we have issues with the actual running of it. Occasionally
we have been able to call upon their help for photocopying and that sort of thing. They have just been really
supportive; it has been really good. We support them just as much as they support us with all different sorts of
aspects, and it has been great.
The DEPUTY CHAIR — The final question: I want to talk about a comment you made about limited bus
access. In the previous presentation from the City of Wyndham they talked about trying to get more bus
services in. Does the estate have bus services; if it does, can they be improved; and how do you think they can
be improved?
Ms ANDERSON — We have a bus service. It has changed recently with the restructuring of all the bus
routes. Unfortunately it was pulled back from what it was. We actually had the bus services go down many of
the residents’ streets. Unfortunately now we have pretty much got one service which goes from the shopping
centre, down Manor Lakes, does the loop of the block of the schools and then comes back. Then we have
another bus service which goes down one of the feeder streets that links to Greens Road eventually. That is
pretty much it. Most of the estate is not covered by any public transport at all, and that is why a few of our
members voiced the suggestion, when we had John Huta here, of maybe getting feeder buses so that they do not
necessarily have to increase the actual formal routes. At least if they could get feeder buses in, it would get more
cars off the road, more pollution out of the air and a lot more patronage.
In saying that, I think the actual services that we have got still need to be improved. I know for a fact my
husband had to spend three weeks travelling on public transport because his motorbike was out of action. On
one particular night, a Friday night, it took him an hour and a quarter to get from Werribee Station to Manor
Lakes. That was on a Friday night at peak time. The problem is that, with the way they have done the timetable,
the buses meet the trains to a point, but they might meet within a minute of the train arriving, which does not
really give the people coming off or getting on enough time to actually get to the bus stop. So a lot of people
have to wait another 20 minutes for the next bus.
The DEPUTY CHAIR — It is a common complaint.
Ms ANDERSON — Yes, I am sure.
The DEPUTY CHAIR — Thank you very much for your submission. We have really enjoyed hearing
about your home in Manor Lakes, and I am very glad to hear that you love living where you live. It is a really
nice thing to hear.
Ms ANDERSON — I am looking forward to you coming and seeing it for yourself this afternoon. It is
The DEPUTY CHAIR — We are too. We are very much looking forward to seeing it.
Mr ONDARCHIE — Put the kettle on, Delphi.
The DEPUTY CHAIR — Delphi, I know you are a little bit nervous about making this submission, but you
did really well, and I suggest you think about running for council.
Ms ANDERSON — Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Witness withdrew.